MANILA – In its meeting on May 19, 2015, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Benigno S. Aquino III, approved projects on transportation, irrigation, fire safety, and local development and restructuring of two infrastructure-related projects.

“These projects are part of our strategy to make the Philippines’ agriculture, industry, and services sectors more competitive. The approved projects on irrigation and roads in provinces will help facilitate local growth and development among the projects’ covered regions or areas in the country,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

The NEDA Board approved the LRT Line 2 West Extension Project under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). The project involves the design and construction for the extension of the existing LRT Line 2, which will run from Recto Station extending westward to Pier 4 area including the turn-back track. This will have a total length of approximately 3.02 kilometers and with three proposed additional stations that includes: 1. Tutuban Station (located next to the Cluster Mall); 2. Divisoria Station (located west of the Recto Avenue and Asuncion Street intersection; and 3. Pier 4 Station (located 50 meters north of Zaragoza Street).

The total estimated cost of the project is PhP10.12 billion, which will be locally-financed. This project is targeted to be implemented within 3.5 years.

Under the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the Agno River Irrigation System Extension Project, was approved.  The project aims to improve the operating efficiency of the Ambayaoan-Dipalo River System (ADRIS) through modernization-based upgrading package and to increase crop yield and cropping intensity. It includes the civil works in the Agno River Irrigation System and ADRIS, institutional development of farmer beneficiaries, and linking agriculture offices and non-government organizations to synchronize the implementation of agricultural development programs and services.

The project is estimated at PhP2.63 billion through local financing with an indicative implementation schedule from 2015-2017.

Also a project of the NIA, the Balog-Balog Multipurpose Dam Project (BBMP) Phase II was approved. This involves the construction of new irrigation service for about 21,935 hectares and stabilization of water supply to the currently irrigated areas of 12,475 hectares developed under BBMP Phase 1 in the covered municipalities in the province of Tarlac. Thus, this include the construction of a multipurpose high dam that will provide irrigation and flood management. The approved estimated cost of the project is PhP13.37 billion.           

Next, the Capability Building Program of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Phase II was approved to augment the number of fire trucks of the BFP and reduce the present requirement gap.  The project entails the acquisition of 76 units of fire trucks to be deployed in selected cities nationwide. The estimated total project cost is PhP1.43 billion, partly financed through Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Another is the approval of the Local Government Unit Investment Programme Supplement III of the Land Bank of the Philippines. The program aims to facilitate the access of local government units in Mindanao to viable financing for local development. The investments that can be financed include local roads, bridges, sanitation, drainage and flood control, water supply, public market and bus terminal, rehabilitation/modernization/construction of public facilities, among others.

The total cost of the project is estimated at PhP231.1 million, which is the third replenishment following the initial EUR15.0 million in 2005 with a supplemental loan amounting to EUR4.7 million in December 2008 and another EUR7.0 million in May 2010. This will be financed partly through ODA from the Government of Germany and with an implementation schedule from 2015-2017.

Also, the NEDA Board approved the restructuring and changes for two projects.

First is the change in scope, increase in cost, and loan extension of the Road Improvement and Institutional Development Project (RIIDP) of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). These changes include the deletion of six sub-components under the Institutional Capacity Development and inclusion of the reconstruction/replacement of typhoon-damaged Macasoy Bridge along Dipolog-Oroquieta Road in Zamboanga del Norte. Also, the cost was increased to PhP6.93 billion from the previously approved cost of PhP6.24 billion due to change in scope and currency adjustment. A 24-month loan extension was granted, from June 30, 2016 to June 30, 2018.

Next, a proposed project restructuring was also approved for the World Bank-funded National Roads Improvement and Management Program, Phase II of the DPWH. The NEDA Board approved DPWH’s proposal to restructure/reallocate US$60 million of US$232 million loan of the World Bank to assist local government units (LGUs) in expediting the rehabilitation efforts in Typhoon Yolanda-devastated areas in the Visayas. Also, the two-year extension of the World Bank loan was granted, which was moved to December 2016 from December 2014.