In its September 28 meeting, the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) approved seven projects, six of which are regional projects seen to disperse development and re-balance national economic growth to the regions.

“These projects will ensure the realization of the Duterte administration’s goals to reduce poverty and inequality by focusing on regional, rural, and agricultural development,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

These projects are the 1.) New Cebu International Container Port Project, 2.) Scaling-up of the Second Cordillera Highlands Agricultural Resources Management Project, 3.) Expansion of the Philippine Rural Development Project, 4.) Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Stage 2, 5.) Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, and 6.) Plaridel Bypass Toll Road Project.

For Metro Manila, the Committee also endorsed the Improvement/Widening of the General Luis Road (Quezon City to Valenzuela City) Project.

The New Cebu International Container Port (NCICP) Project is proposed to be built in a 25-hectare reclaimed island in the Municipality of Consolacion, Cebu. It will decongest the existing Cebu International Port, which has already exceeded its optimal yard utilization rate due to an increased cargo volume entering the port and its area limitation of only 14 hectares.

The NCICP is a new and modern international container port facility necessary to sustain the level of development in Cebu. The project’s total cost of PhP9.20 billion is proposed for funding through Official Development Assistance (ODA). It is proposed to be implemented by the Department of Transportation and the Cebu Port Authority starting third quarter of 2017 until the second quarter of 2020.

The Scaling-up of the Second Cordillera Highlands Agricultural Resources Management Project (CHARMP2) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) which started running in 2009, builds on the first CHARM project conducted from 1997 to 2004, that  reduced poverty among indigenous peoples (IPs) in the poor, upland communities of the Cordillera Region. The proposed scaling up of the ongoing CHARMP2 will add 18 new barangays to cover additional 9,055 household beneficiaries from six provinces – Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.

CHARMP2 aims to lift the new beneficiaries from poverty by increasing farm family income through sustainable agricultural development. Also, by enhancing quality of life through improved security, food security, and watershed conservation.

Its total project cost of PhP601.09 million is proposed to be financed through ODA under the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

The proposed Expansion of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) of the DA largely focuses on agricultural infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads and bridges. The PRDP is an ongoing nationwide program, covering 16 regions and 80 provinces including Davao del Norte, Iloilo, Isabela, and Oriental Mindoro. These areas are also identified as big agricultural producers.

The project is proposed to add 206 farm-to-market roads to reach a total of 386; 24 market roads and bridges for a total of 44; 2 rural road bridges for a total of 8; 5 communal irrigation systems for a total of 7; 17 level 2 potable water supply for a total of 27; and 65 other agricultural support infrastructure for  a total of 129.

The expansion will require an additional PhP21.0 billion on top of the current PhP27.0 billion currently financed through World Bank.

The proposed change in scope, cost, and financing of the ongoing Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Stage 2 (MMIP-II) was also endorsed to the NEDA Board.

The project is located in the North Cotabato and Maguindanao areas, which are potential rice baskets in Mindanao, and will irrigate almost 10,000 hectares of land in 56 conflict-affected areas. Intended to contribute to sustained peace and order, it will cover the construction of three major service areas, which are in upper and lower Malitubog, and the Pagalungan extension area.

The change includes an increase in the design area and a decrease in total cost from the NEDA Board-approved PhP7.0 billion in 2010 to PhP 5.4 billion. The MMIP-II project is being implemented by the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) and is expected to be completed by 2018.

Another project for implementation by the NIA is the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, the approval of which was reconfirmed by the ICC-CabCom. The project will irrigate around 8,700 hectares of agricultural land, benefit 4,350 farmers, and serve 21 barangays in Cagayan and Kalinga.

The project is estimated at PhP2.7 billion and is expected to be completed within a period of three years.

Meanwhile, the Improvement/Widening of the General Luis Road Project will improve the road condition and ease traffic flow in the 8.89-kilometer General Luis-Kaybiga-Polo-Novaliches Road, which runs from Quirino Highway in Quezon City to General MacArthur Highway in Valenzuela City.

The work will expand from two to four lanes almost throughout the identified stretch, expansion from four to six lanes in some sections especially intersections, and rehabilitation of existing bridges. The total project cost is PhP2.80 billion and is proposed to start construction by the Department of Public Works and Highways in January 2018 and to be completed by January 2019 following a 24/7 construction schedule.

Lastly, the Plaridel Bypass Toll Road Project aims to upgrade the existing 2-lane Plaridel bypass road in the province of Bulacan to a 4-lane toll road expressway, including the construction of two service roads along the Barangay Burol access to Angat River.  The project is estimated at PhP10.50 billion.