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NEDA Board approves 7 infra projects worth P154 B

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. approved the implementation of seven infrastructure projects worth P154.72 billion, including a cancer center for the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) announced.

In a briefing on Friday, Feb. 3, NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said the approval of these “high impact” infrastructure projects would help country achieve the Marcos administration’s medium term social and economic transformation target.

While the NEDA Board has approved seven projects, two of which were request for changes of ongoing infrastructure projects. Based on initial estimates, the indicative total cost for these approvals would be at P154.72 billion.

The first project approved by the NEDA Board, which is chaired by President Marcos, is the UP-PGH Cancer Center Public Private Partnership (PPP) project—a solicited Build-Transfer-Operate proposal.

According to Malacañang, the project cost for the UP-PGH Cancer Center is P6 billion.

Once completed, Balisacan said the UP-PGH facility will be one of the largest cancer centers in Asia in terms of bed capacity, offering comprehensive, high-quality, and affordable oncology care services, while helping pay for itself over 30 years.

“The project will upgrade existing PGH capacity of 300 beds plus outpatient care, to be integrated in a new dedicated cancer hospital that will modernize UP-PGH’s health infrastructure and demonstrate how the country’s public health services can be at par with private care in terms of medical quality and support services,” Balisacan said.

But he also clarified that there will be no privatization of PGH services.

“The government shall own the entire facility and PGH shall continue to operate as a public hospital. In the coming weeks, our experts in UP-PGH, as the implementing agency, will bare the specific details on the project to inform the public and interested private partners,” he said.

In addition to the NEDA Board approval of the UP PGH Cancer Center solicited PPP project, four projects proposed to be financed through official development assistance (ODA) loan with a total amount of P117 billion will commence implementation in 2023.

The NEDA Board also approved an increase in cost of the MRT 3 Rehabilitation project by P7.6 billion, from P21.9 billion to P29.6 billion.

The NEDA Board likewise approved the utilization of the JICA loan balance, this is the Japan International Cooperation Agency, of P2.12 billion for the Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic (CNS/ATM) Management, Maintenance and Resiliency Enhancement project.

The NEDA Board also confirmed the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) approval of the New Dumaguete Airport Development Project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Under this project, a new airport facility in Bacong, Negros Oriental will be developed with domestic and international standards for operational safety and efficiency.

This project, costing P157 billion, will replace the existing Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport due to physical and operational constraints involving the latter. The New Dumaguete Airport shall enhance the province’s tourism and trade potential, economic activities, and standard of living.

Of the total project cost, P13 billion will be funded through ODA from the Korean government through the Export-Import Bank of Korea-Economic Development Cooperation Fund.

The Philippine government, through the DOTr, will shoulder the remaining amount of about P 3.9 billion. The project will be implemented within seven years.

Also approved was the Department of Agriculture’s Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Project (MIADP), which aims to increase agricultural productivity, resiliency, and access to markets and services of organized farmers and fisherfolk groups in selected areas.

This agriculture development project covers selected ancestral domains in Mindanao from Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and the BARMM.

The project’s estimated total cost is P6.6 billion, of which P5.3 billion is to be financed through ODA loan from the World Bank, while the balance of P863 million and P461 million, will be shouldered by the government through the Department of Agriculture and LGUs, respectively.

The NEDA Board also confirmed the ICC approval of the first phase of the Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation (InFRA) Project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with a project cost P20 billion.

Further, the NEDA Board also approved the request for changes on two ongoing projects of the DOTr and the DPWH.

These are the DOTr’s request for changes in scope, increase in cost, and extension of the implementation period for the Metro Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (DPTMP).

The project involves delivering a modern, high-priority bus system for Metro Davao, wherein interconnected bus services will be prioritized along 29 routes. The implementation period for this project is extended from 2023 to 2029.

The NEDA Board confirmed the DOTr’s request for changes in scope, project cost increase, implementation period extension, additional loan, and second loan reallocation of the Metro Rail Transit line 3 or MRT3 Rehabilitation project.

This project involves upgrading MRT3 to its original as-designed state with provision for capacity expansion in the future.

All subsystems will be restored, renewed, or upgraded, including the tracks, signaling system, power supply system, overhead catenary system, and communications system, as well as maintenance and station equipment.

The project will also involve integrating other MRT3-related projects, such as the Common Station, the Dalian Trains, and the transition to a 4-car train configuration. This rehabilitation project aims to enhance the safety and level of service of the MRT3 and to promote its use to help alleviate the worsening traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

Lastly, the NEDA Board approved the expansion of the scope of the Nov. 22, 2022 NEDA Board approval to include: the utilization of the P2.12 billion JICA loan balance for the CNS/ATM Maintenance and Resiliency Enhancement.

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The article was originally published in Manila Bulletin and written by Chino S. Leyco.

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