February 21, 2018, 9:26 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07045 UAE Dirham
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1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
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NEDA OKs subway, 4 other projects

By ANGELA CELIS and MYLA IGLESIAS

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) and four new flagship projects during its fifth meeting on Tuesday.

This brings the administration’s total number of approved projects to 35.

“The approval and eventual completion of these projects will pave the way for us to achieve our mid-term and long-term goals as a country and a nation,” Ernesto Pernia, socioeconomic planning secretary, said.

The first phase of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) MMSP, with an estimated initial investment requirement of P355.6 billion, will run from Mindanao avenue in Quezon City to Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig and terminate at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City. 

“The MMSP’s first phase will significantly improve Metro Manila’s transportation system, air quality, and productivity, thereby reducing the P2.4 billion economic loss the country incurs daily due to heavy traffic,” Pernia said.

In a separate statement, the DOTrsaid it is set to start the construction of the MMSP by the fourth quarter of 2018.

Cesar Chavez, DOTr undersecretary for railways, said the department, together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), scheduled the groundbreaking for the MMSP in the latter quarter next year, and will push for partial operations in 2022 and full operations by 2025. 

“(Transportation) secretary Arthur Tugade has been working closely with JICA in order to expedite the completion of the project and allow the public to enjoy the benefits of a subway system earlier,” Chavez said.

Apart from a world-class design, the subway system will have water-stop panels, doors, and high-level entrance for flood prevention, earthquake detection, and a train stop system, just like the subways in Tokyo.

The country’s first subway system will be financed via official development assistance, with an interest of 0.10 percent per annum, payable in 40 years, inclusive of a grace period of 12 years.

The signing of the loan commitment by Japan is scheduled in November when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with President Rodrigo Duterte during the Asean Summit.

Meanwhile, the other new projects approved by the NEDA Board include the Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project.

The project, worth P21.19 billion through a loan from the Asian Development Bank, involves the upgrading of seven roads and the widening of a 40-kilometer road segment with slope protection. 

Construction is set to begin late this year and end in the fourth quarter of 2020. The three Tawi-Tawi bridges under the project werelikewise conditionally approved.

Also included is the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridges Construction Project worth P5.97 billion.

The former involves the construction of a new four-lane bridge and viaduct, while the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge involves the replacement of the existing two-lane bridge with a four-lane bridge and widening of the approach roads.  

Construction of the bridges is set to begin fourth quarter this year and end in the fourth quarter of 2020 with grants from the Government of China.

The NEDA Board also approved the Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project, which involves the development of a 12,650-hectare service area that will benefit 10,372 farmers in seven municipalities in Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac.  

The project, to cost P3.5 billion, will be funded by the national government. Implementation will be from January 2018 to December 2021.

Last is the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility by the Department of Finance which seeks to directly support the Department of Public Works and Highways and the DOTr in delivering more effective and innovative infrastructure projects, by accelerating the approval process and ensuring the timely, high-quality procurement and implementation of projects.
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