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MANILA, Philippines – Bidding for big-ticket infrastructure projects under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program may now resume after getting the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board.
In a statement, NEDA said its board, chaired by President Benigno Aquino III, approved the concession agreements for 7 infrastructure projects worth P184 billion in a meeting Thursday, November 21.
The approval was put on hold for days after NEDA deferred the meeting to give way to relief and rehabilitation operations in typhoon-stricken Visayas.
The NEDA board meeting was originally scheduled on November 11. Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck Visayas on November 8, leaving thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.
The infrastructure projects approved are as follows:
- LRT Line 1 South Extension Project. The P64.9-billion project involves extending existing LRT Line 1 by 11.7 kilometers to Bacoor, Cavite.
- MRT 7 Project. The P62.7-billion project involves construction of a 22.8-kilometer rail system from North Avenue station in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
- LRT Line 1 North Extension Project-Common Station. The P1.4-billion project involves the construction of a common station for LRT 1, MRT 3 and MRT 7.
- Mactan-Cebu International Airport New Passenger Terminal Project. The P17.5-billion project involves construction of new passenger terminal at the Cebu airport, renovation of existing terminal, operation and maintenance of both the new and the existing passenger terminals.
- Mass Transportation System. The P7.7-billion project includes the development of two mass transportation terminals: the SLEX Terminal at FTI Taguig and the Coastal Road Terminal along Manila Cavite Expressway
- DOH Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center. The P5.6-billion project will upgrade the hospital to a specialty tertiary orthopedic hospital with 700-bed capacity
- MWSS Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project. The P24.4-billion project will provide potable water supply to Bulacan area
The PPP program is the centerpiece of the Aquino administration’s development goals. It was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating vital infrastructure that will help sustain the country’s economic growth.
Board discusses Visayas rehab plan
Aside from approving the projects, the NEDA board also discussed programs for Visayas in the aftermath of Yolanda, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
“The government expects to incur huge expenditures that will have a substantial impact on the national budget, especially considering that, even prior to Super Typhoon Yolanda, the country underwent a series of calamities such as Typhoon Pablo, the Zamboanga City standoff, Typhoon Santi in Central Luzon, and the Bohol-Cebu earthquake, and this is now the subject of review by the Cabinet,” Coloma said.
The secretary noted that Malacañang is open to the idea of Congress approving a supplemental budget to fund rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in Visayas depending on the availability of funds that will be certified by the national treasurer.
Coloma said the president can certify the supplemental budget as an urgent matter, but “we do not want also to preempt because we recognize the independence of Congress. So we will coordinate with them and the executive branch is willing to do what is needed to get the job done.” – Rappler.com