NEDA Board OKs 7 PPP projects under Marcos Jr.

Louella Desiderio, Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
NEDA Board OKs 7 PPP projects under Marcos Jr.
At a Palace briefing, Balisacan said the programs, approved by the NEDA Board during its third meeting on Thursday, are expected to significantly help the administration achieve its social and economic transformation goal in the medium term.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority Board, chaired by President Marcos, has approved seven “high impact” projects, three of which would be funded through official development assistance (ODA) and one under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme, NEDA director general Arsenio Balisacan said yesterday.

At a Palace briefing, Balisacan said the programs, approved by the NEDA Board during its third meeting on Thursday, are expected to significantly help the administration achieve its social and economic transformation goal in the medium term.

First on the list is the construction of the P6-billion University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Cancer Center – the first PPP funded project under the Marcos administration.

Balisacan said the board approved the solicited build-transfer-operate proposal for the cancer center, which will offer comprehensive, high quality and affordable oncology care services.

The 15- to 20-story building will have 300 beds, divided equally between charity beds and private beds.

The hospital will provide a full range of cancer treatments, including radio oncology (radiotherapy), imaging, medical oncology and support for the UP-PGH’s teaching and research activities.

“To set the record straight, there will be no privatization of PGH services. The government shall own the entire facility and PGH shall continue to operate as a public hospital,” the socioeconomic planning secretary said.

Once completed, he said the facility would be one of the largest cancer centers in Asia in terms of bed capacity.

Asked if the PPP-funded cancer center would entail increased treatment costs for poor patients, Balisacan said: “It’s part of the contract to sustain one half of the facility as a ward.”

“So those who are earning, those who can afford to pay, those who are wealthy who avail of the service of the PGH, there are several of them, they can afford to pay, so they pay and the part of that money can be used to subsidize those in the ward. And so that the quality of the service can be the same,” he said.

Balisacan also confirmed the approval of the construction of the new Dumaguete airport amounting to P17 billion.

The new airport facility will be built in Bacong, Negros Oriental to replace the existing Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport, which is burdened with physical and operational constraints.

Of the total project cost, P13 billion would be funded through ODA from the Korean government specifically through the Export-Import Bank of Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund. The Philippine government, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr), will shoulder the remaining amount of about P3.9 billion. The project will be implemented within seven years.

Balisacan said the board also approved an increase in project cost of the Metro Rail Transit Line or MRT 3 Rehabilitation Project by P7.6 billion, from P21.9 billion to P29.6 billion.

He said the project aims to improve MRT 3 capacity by increasing the number of cars and reducing the interval time.

Asked if this could also lead to higher train fares, Balisacan said the government would protect the interest of the riding public to avoid sharp or unjustifiable increases.

The official said the government is preparing for possible PPP for the MRT 3’s operations and maintenance in the future, noting that with public O&M “the experience is not good.”

“We think that a private sector operating it might be, is likely to give a better experience for passengers as we see it in other countries where a private sector operates the… not the construction because that’s not viable for the private sector, but the operation and maintenance,” Balisacan said.

The project involves upgrading MRT 3 to its original as-designed state with provision for capacity expansion in the future.

The NEDA chief said all subsystems would be restored, renewed or upgraded, including the tracks, signaling system, power supply system, overhead catenary system and communication system as well as maintenance and station equipment.

The project will also involve integrating other MRT 3-related projects such as the common station, the Dalian trains and transition to a four-car train configuration. This rehabilitation project aims to enhance the safety and quality of service of the MRT 3 as well as promote its use to help alleviate the worsening traffic congestion in Metro Manila, he said.

Also approved was the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Project which aims to increase agricultural productivity, resiliency and access to markets and services of organized farmers and fisherfolk groups in selected areas. This agriculture development project covers selected ancestral domains in Mindanao from Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The project will be pivotal in reducing poverty, unemployment and food insecurity among indigenous peoples. It will improve the economic situation of the indigenous peoples in Mindanao and further strengthen the capacity of LGUs (local government units) to implement support programs that address weak market linkages and poor infrastructure in geographically isolated ancestral domains,” Balisacan said.

The project’s estimated total cost is P6.6 billion, of which P5.3 billion is to be financed through ODA from the World Bank, while the balance of P863 million and P461 million would be shouldered by the Philippine government through the DA and LGUs, respectively, he said.

Balisacan also confirmed the ICC approval of the first phase of the Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation Project of the Department of Public Works and Highways amounting to P20 billion.

The project aims to mitigate flood damage, reduce flood risk and improve climate resilience in three major river basins in the country.

According to Balisacan, the first phase of the flood resilience project will have the following outputs: improvement of strategic flood risk management planning; development of flood production infrastructure in three target major river basins namely Abra, Ranao and Tagum-Libuganon in Mindanao and strengthening of community-based flood risk management measures.

The project will be financed through an ODA from Asian Development Bank.

The NEDA Board likewise approved the utilization of the Japan International Cooperation Agency loan balance of P2.12 billion for the Communication, Navigation, Satellite Air Traffic Management maintenance and resiliency enhancement.

“The approval includes a 60-month loan validity extension from 2023 to 2028 to cover the preceding intended utilization,” he said.

Balisacan said the board also approved the DOTr’s request for changes in scope, as well as increase in cost and extension of the implementation period for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project.

The project involves delivering a modern, high-priority bus system for Davao City wherein interconnected bus services would be prioritized along 29 routes. The implementation period for the project is extended from 2023 to 2029.


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