The National Economic and Development Authority Board or NEDA Board, chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., approved on Thursday three high-impact projects during its eleventh meeting, involving the construction of major infrastructure projects and capability improvement for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“The Marcos administration remains steadfast in its dedication to enhancing connectivity, ramping up employment-creating investments, and significantly improving living standards for every Filipino by ensuring the efficient implementation of these high-impact projects,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

“We will continue with our commitment to pursue important initiatives to ensure social and economic transformation towards a matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay para sa lahat.”

Balisacan said among those approved by the NEDA Board was the Php28.2 billion Pang-Agraryong Tulay Para sa Bagong Bayanihan ng mga Magsasaka or PBBM Bridges Project of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

The project is aimed at constructing 350 modular steel bridges with an estimated total length of 10,500 linear meters to enhance access and connectivity for agrarian reform communities.

The approved project also aims to increase the productivity and income of at least 350,000 households by easing the mobility and access to and from the agrarian reform communities to generate more employment and to provide communities with better social services and market access.

The NEDA Board also gave its nod for the Php29.3-billion Phase 3 of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard, which will involve the design, construction, and delivery of five units of multi-role response vessels or MRRVs, each with a length of 97 meters. 

With a five-year integrated logistics support, it is seen further improve the PCG’s capability to respond to threats and incidents within the country’s maritime jurisdiction, particularly by enabling it to secure important sea lines of communication in the West Philippine Sea, Sulu-Celebes Seas, and the Philippine Sea. 

To be financed through Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan, it will also help the PCG combat illegal activities and enforce maritime laws in the Philippine waters.

Also approved Thursday was the revised parameters, terms, and conditions, or PTCs, of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway or TPLEX Extension Project as recommended by the Investment Coordination Committee of the NEDA Board. 

These PTCs were negotiated between the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Original Proponent of the unsolicited PPP project.

Following this approval, the DPWH will proceed with the publication of the invitation for comparative proposals in accordance with the Revised 2022 Build-Operate-Transfer Law Implementing Rules and Regulations, as well as the ICC Guidelines on Processing PPP proposals.

The TPLEX Extension Project, approved in June this year, involves a 59.4 kilometer toll road, which will connect from the last exit of TPLEX in Rosario, La Union and will terminate in San Juan, La Union. 

The NEDA chief also reported the progress of the administration’s Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) under the Build-Better-More (BBM) Program.

According to Balisacan, one of the 197 IFPs, specifically the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), has been completed. 

The 18.65-kilometer road project links the towns of Laoang, Catubig, and Palapag by establishing a circumferential road around the entire Samar Island and is expected to enhance economic activity in the region by improving the delivery and movement of essential goods and services and creating more job opportunities.Currently, there are 71 ongoing projects, 29 projects approved for implementation, 9 projects awaiting government approval, 52 projects in the project preparation phase, and 35 projects in the pre-project preparation phase as of the third quarter of 2023, the NEDA official reported. | PND

Photo Courtesy of PCO