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NEDA Board approves Metro Manila Subway, new projects

In a statement issued by his office on Wednesday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the first phase of MMSP would not only ease congestion in the metro, but would also cut the P2.4 billion worth of economic loss that the country experiences due to daily traffic. File

MANILA, Philippines  The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board on Tuesday approved five big-ticket infrastructure projects, including the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP), touted as a help in reducing economic loss due to heavy traffic in the country’s capital.

In a statement issued by his office on Wednesday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the first phase of MMSP would not only ease congestion in the metro, but would also cut the P2.4 billion worth of economic loss that the country experiences due to daily traffic.

“The approval and eventual completion of these projects will pave the way for us to achieve our mid-term and long-term goals as a country and a nation,” said Pernia, who chaired the board’s fifth meeting in the absence of President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: A year of battling through traffic and train queues

On Duterte's no-show at the NEDA Board's meeting, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said: "[The] meeting was approved and authorized by the president, due to other concerns that came about today, allowing vice chair to proceed, and with quorum established despite work suspension."

According to NEDA, the first phase of MMSP will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to FTI in Taguig and terminate at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City.

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The subway project, which has an estimated initial investment requirement of P355.588 billion, will be bankrolled through Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan and is expected to begin construction early next year.

Meanwhile, the NEDA Board’s approval of new projects on Tuesday brought the administration’s total number of approved projectscumulatively worth P1.2 trillionto 35, excluding the cost of the Tawi-Tawi bridges.

The Duterte administration’s "Build Build Build" program has committed to spending between P8- and P9-trillion to raise infrastructure spending to 7.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022 from 4.5 percent of GDP in 2016.

READ: A year of accelerated spending—or so they say

Other fresh projects okayed by the NEDA board this week include:

  • Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) worth P21.19 billion. The project involves the upgrading of seven roads and the widening of a 40-km road segment with slope protection.
  • Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridges Construction Project of the DPWH worth P5.97 billion. 
  • Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) worth P3.5 billion. The project involves the development of a 12,650 ha service area that will benefit 10,372 farmers in 7 municipalities in Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac. 
  • Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility of the Department of Finance.

The Cabinet-level interagency also agreed to apply changes to the following previously approved projects:

  • Philippine National Railway-South Line of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
  • Asian Development Bank loan validity extension for the Road Improvement and Institutional Development Project by DPWH, which was extended up to December 30, 2019.
  • Increase in cost of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit of the DOTr, from P10.61 billion to P16.30 billion due to changes in land valuation following the enactment of the Right of Way Act and foreign exchange rate differentials.
  • Change of mode of Implementation for the Clark International Airport Expansion of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, to Build-Transfer (BT) scheme under the Republic Act No. 7718 or the Amended Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) law for the construction of the project.

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