Employment, growth seen in approved projects

Infrastructure projects approved last week by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board are expected to produce jobs and promote sustainable growth, a Cabinet official said yesterday.

In a statement released at the weekend, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga, Jr. said the 12 projects will boost infrastructure support in agriculture, transport, sustainable energy, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.

"The 12 projects recently approved by the NEDA Board, which are mostly infrastructure projects, are among government’s responses to achieve the [Philippine Development Plan’s] goals of inclusive and sustainable growth through creating more employment opportunities and investing massively in infrastructure," said Mr. Paderanga.

The NEDA Board approved a total of P133.3 billion worth of projects on March 22, These include projects in the transportation sector namely:

• the P61.53-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 South Extension project, which will extend the railway to Cavite province, south of Metro Manila, by building eight stations with provision for two additional stations;

• the P11.43-billion Land Transportation Office Infrastructure and Information System project;

• the P1.81-billion Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project in the Visayas, which will improve the 27.75-kilometer unpaved arterial road sections and the construction of three bridges in the Samar Pacific coastal road;

• the P1.66-billion Baler-Casiguran Road Improvement project in Eastern Luzon, which will pave 50.95 kilometers of the 116-kilometer road; and

• the P798.56-million Umiray Bridge Construction Project, which involves the construction of a 358-lineal meter bridge crossing the Umiray River along the boundaries of Dingalan in Aurora and General Nakar in Quezon, also east of Luzon.

The following energy-related projects have also been approved:

• the P21.5-billion electric tricycle project, which will distribute 100,000 tricycles nationwide and reduce fuel consumption by 2.8%; and

• the P2.59-billion Agus VI Hydroelectric Power Plant Uprating Project, which is expected to contribute about 20 megawatts (MW) to the Mindanao power grid, which has a 120-megawatt supply gap.

The list includes the following irrigation projects:

• the P11.21-billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Irrigation Project Phase II in Iloilo province in Western Visayas;

• the P7.05-billion Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project in Central Luzon; and

• the P1.56-billion Umayam River Irrigation Project in Agusan del Sur.

Also approved were disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation programs, namely:

• the P7.24-billion Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Program, which will be implemented in the Chico River Basin, the Bukidnon River Basin in Kalinga province in Northern Luzon, the Wahig-Inabanga River Basin in Bohol province in Central Visayas and the Lake Lanao Watershed in Central Mindanao; and

• the P4.66-billion Pampanga Bay integrated disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation project, which involves the reconstruction of 232 classrooms and flood management strategies in 47 flood-affected schools in Central Luzon.

Most of the projects will be funded partially by foreign aid from multilateral or bilateral development partners including the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund and China.

Meanwhile, the LRT 1 South Extension Project is expected to be bid out under the public-private partnership scheme.

NEDA Deputy Director-General Rolando G. Tungpalan said the projects went through evaluation, which includes economic and financial analysis, before being endorsed to the NEDA Board.

"Once approved by the Board, the line agencies start implementing the projects according to schedule," Mr. Tungpalan said.

The NEDA Board is an interagency body headed by the President as chairman and with the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary as vice-chairman.

original source: www.bworldonline.com