NEDA approves P131-B mass transport, energy projects

Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Light Rail Transit Line 4 and LRT Line 6 are among the five new projects approved by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) board on Friday to improve the country’s mass transportation system, Malacañang said yesterday.

Chaired by President Aquino, the NEDA Board also approved the Clark International Airport (CIA) new passenger terminal building, the Naga City Airport Development Project, and the Department of Energy’s Access to Sustainable Energy Program.

The five new projects in transportation and energy totaled P131.4 billion, according to Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

To expand the mass transport system for the metropolis, the LRT Line 4 would be built from EDSA-Ortigas to Taytay City in Rizal on an elevated rail facility covering a distance of 11 kilometers. The project will be financed through a public-private partnership (PPP) project arrangement at an estimated cost of P42.89 billion, Coloma said.

The LRT Line 6, on the other hand, is a 19-kilometer elevated rail facility from the terminus of the LRT Line 1 extension in Bacoor going southward through Imus and up to Dasmariñas along Aguinaldo Highway in Cavite.

The LRT 6 will have stations in Niog, Tirona, Imus, Daang Hari, Salitran, Congressional Avenue and Governor’s Drive. The rail line is expected to significantly reduce the current travel time of up to one and a half hours.

The LRT line 6 is another PPP project with an estimated cost of P64.71 billion.

Coloma said the CIA new passenger terminal building would be built to expand the airport and accommodate up to three million passengers yearly at a cost of P15.354 billion, including the installation of equipment, machineries and facilities. The funds for the project will come from the national budget.

Meanwhile, the Naga City Airport Development Project will done at a cost of P3.533 billion. The airfield will be reoriented to enable dual-approach landing and takeoff. New airside and landside facilities will be established to meet the growing tourism demand. The fund for the project will come from the General Appropriations Act, Coloma said.

According to the Department of Transportation and Communications, at present the Naga City Airport could not accommodate wide-bodied aircraft because of its short runway and proximity to Mt. Isarog. For this reason, a two-kilometer runway will be built to allow larger planes like Airbus A320 to use the facility.

The DOE’s Access to Sustainable Energy program, on the other hand, provides grant assistance for solar home systems and rural power generation facilities, as well as technical assistance to the National Electrification Administration, the Energy Regulatory Commission, and electric cooperatives.

“Focal point for capacity building is the development of pro-poor, disaster-resilient solutions. The total project cost is P4.891 billion, including official development assistance from the European Union in the amount of P2.82billion. The balance will be funded from the national budget,” Coloma said over radio station dzRB.

The NEDA board’s meeting on Friday listed nine projects, but Coloma said the other four would have to be discussed further. These were the Manila-Quezon Avenue Manila Bus Rapid Transit System, the Department of Agrarian Reform’s Inclusive Partnership for Agricultural Competitiveness, the National Irrigation Administration’s Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Development Project.

During the eight-hour NEDA board meeting, all nine projects were presented but since there were all big-ticket infrastructure projects and complicated, further discussions were needed on some aspects, Coloma explained.

Some of the projects would still have to be scrutinized or modified a bit for better implementation. “That is why the other items were not approved but the study continues and maybe tackled during the next NEDA board meeting,” Coloma added.

Coloma said the bus rapid transit system was tackled, considering its importance in decongesting traffic in Metro Manila.

But he said its integration with the LRT 1, Metro Line Transit 3, the Philippine National Railways and the MRT-7 to be built from Commonwealth Avenue to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan would have to be studied further.

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