The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) approved on Friday the Subic-Clark Railway Project, which will provide rail freight connection between Subic Bay and Clark Freeport Zone.

This joint project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) is one of the Duterte Administration’s 75 flagship projects.

Expected to deliver high economic returns, the 71.13-kilometer rail connection aims to support current industrial activities and the potential demand for freight services along the Subic-Clark corridor.

Apart from providing the needed infrastructure for Metro Luzon Urban Beltway and spurring the development of a freight railway system for Luzon, the railway project is seen to help decongest traffic in Metro Manila.

The Cabinet-level meeting held at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Friday morning was co-chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

Among those in the agenda approved by the ICC-CabCom was the request for an 18-month implementation duration extension of the National Irrigation Sector Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (NISRIP). Among the reasons cited in the National Irrigation Administration’s request to extend the project timeline were delays in the procurement of consulting services and civil works and the poor performance of contractors resulting in the termination of some contracts.

The ICC-CabCom likewise noted the increase in the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP)-Phase 1’s cost by P1.375 billion, or from Php355.58 billion to P356.96 billion. The increase in the project cost of the MMSP was based on the appraisal of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which will finance the said project through an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan package.

The MMSP- Phase 1 is a 25.3-kilometer subway which will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to FTI in Taguig City and terminate at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The ICC approval of the Subic-Clark Railway Project will be elevated to the NEDA Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, for confirmation.