June 23, 2018, 6:17 am
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NEDA rolls out national transport policy

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved last Tuesday 11 projects that will cost P305.64 billion, as well as a National Transport Policy (NTP) which aims to unify all transport-related projects in the country.

NEDA said in a statement yesterday the NTP will synchronize decisions and investments of all transport-related agencies and better coordinate such efforts between the national and local levels.

The NTP envisions a national transport system that is “safe, secure, reliable, efficient, integrated, intermodal, affordable, cost-effective, environmentally sustainable, and people-oriented,” NEDA said.

“The government assures the people that the problem of congestion on the roads is still being prioritized. The NTP is a priority strategy reflected in the PDP (Philippine Development Plan) as we seek to provide accessible social services through better connectivity,” said Ernesto Pernia, socioeconomic planning secretary.

The corresponding Implementing Rules and Regulations of the NTP has yet to be formulated.

Meanwhile, 11 other projects were also approved or confirmed by the NEDA Board.

Among these is the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) Phase 1 Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment, which has an estimated cost of P35.26 billion, to be done through local financing.

This is the first phase of the proposed 830-kilometer MRP loop. The project involves the establishment of a 102.28 km commuter railway from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Digos City in Davao del Sur. It is expected to be operational by 2020 through the Department of Transportation’s effort to fast-track the right-of-way acquisition.

Another is the P211.43-billion Malolos-Clark Railway Project to be done through official development assistance (ODA) financing.This involves the construction of a commuter line and airport express railway between Malolos and Clark Green City through Clark International Airport.

It is composed of two phases: Phase I – Malolos to Clark International Airport (50.5 km) and Phase II – Clark International Airport to Clark Green City (19 km).

The project will facilitate seamless movement of people, goods and services that will help reduce traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

Third is the P9.89-billion Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project which will be done through ODA financing. This aims to mitigate damages due to flooding in the lower reach of San Juan river basin and the Maalimango drainage areas in Cavite. 

The project area is about 151.5 square kilometers and involves the improvement of the San Juan river channel and the drainage for Maalimango creek. Once completed by April 2024, it will benefit around 8,000 households and 50 industrial firms. 

Also in the list is the Clark International Airport Expansion Project, with remaining investment requirement of P12.55 billion through local financing, and operations and maintenance for public-private partnership (PPP).

The project, an 82,600-square meter terminal building, has a design capacity of eight million passengers per annum and is expected to be completed by 2019.

Fifth is the Education Pathways to Peace in Conflict-Affected Areas of Mindanao valued at P3.47 billion and to be done through ODA financing.

To be implemented from July 2017 to 2026, the program will develop institutional capacity and strengthen critical systems essential for improving equitable access to and the quality of educational services in the primary grade levels (K-3) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

Another is the Australia Awards and Alumni Engagement Program-Philippines which will cost P1.19 billion through ODA financing.

The project will provide a successor program to the Philippines-Australia Human Resource and Organizational Development Facility (PAHRODF) with the view of retaining the human resources and organizational development benefits brought by PAHRODF. The program will run from September 2017 to 2025.

Seventh is the P10.87-billion New Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Systems Development Project: 30-Month Loan Validity Extension and Reallocation of Funds that will be done through ODA financing.

The project involves two components: Package 1 – Construction of ATM automation system and construction of the Manila ATM Center Building in Pasay City near NinoyAquino International Airport, and Package 2 –Installation of the communications equipment and surveillance equipment in the four radar sites (Tagaytay, Palawan, Zamboanga and Davao).

NEDA said this will improve safety, reliability and efficiency of the air traffic system in the country. The project is expected to be completed by 2019.

Also in the list is the New Configuration of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1 North Extension Project-Common Station/Unified Grand Central Station (North Extension Project) valued at P2.8 billion through local financing.

The proposed new configuration includes a total concourse area of 13,700 sq.m. connecting LRT-1 North Extension, Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3 and MRT-7 on the corner of North Avenue and EDSA.

To be completed by April 2019, it will deliver the required level of service for up to 1.28 million passengers per day. 

Ninth is the Change in Scope, Cost and Financing Arrangements for the Arterial Road Bypass Project Phase II with cost pegged at P4.62 billion through ODA financing.

The project aims to complete the remaining segments of the Plaridel bypass road to alleviate the perennial traffic congestion at the interconnection point of the North Luzon expressway with the DaangMaharlika highway.

Another is the Change in Financing of the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project estimated at P10.86 billion, to be done through ODA financing.

The funding source of the project will change from PPP to ODA, lowering the total project cost from P18.72 billion to P10.86 billion.

The project, to be completed in two years, will increase Metro Manila’s raw water supply and ensure water security. It involves the financing, design and construction of an additional raw water supply source with a design capacity of 600 million liters per day, through the commissioning of Kaliwa Dam including intake facilities and related facilities. 

Last in the list is the Project Approval and Change in Financing of Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP) estimated to cost P2.7 billion through ODA financing.

The project, with an implementation period of three years, involves the installation and construction of pumps, with the proposed pumping station located at the right bank facing downstream of the Chico river, with irrigation canals. 

The project will provide irrigation water supply to around 8,700 hectares of farmland and will benefit around 4,350 farmers.

The funding source of the project will change from local financing to ODA. NEDA said this will allow the National Irrigation Administration to tap a grant or technical assistance to comply with NEDA Board’s instruction last year to reconfigure the project design of the CRPIP to include a hydropower energy component.

Meanwhile, the Mega Manila Subway Project Phase 1, valued at P230 billion, and the Philippine National Railway long-haul: Calamba-Bicol, valued at P151 billion, were not yet approved by the NEDA Board.

“The Mega Manila Subway, the feasibility study is still being completed, but that is already assured. The long-haul, if it is completed in terms of details,” Pernia said on the sidelines of the Hitachi Social Innovation Forum yesterday.

He also said the Davao Sasa Port Modernization Project was brought up for revocation during the NEDA Board meeting since it was too expensive.

“I think the cost has gone up to P14 billion so we want to redo the plan. That is still going to be diligently studied, what the cost will be,” Pernia said.

These are among the candidates in the next NEDA Board meeting, he added.

“I think in July, by the next NEDA Board meeting, we shall see,” Pernia said.
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