Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has approved a whole raft of infrastructure projects worth P62.3 billion that would increase the capacity of mass transport systems and upgrade some of the country’s airports, among other public works.
The projects were given the go-ahead by the President, who along with cabinet officials sits on the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board, in a recent meeting at Malacañang Palace. Aquino chairs the board.
“The approved projects are aimed at improving the level and standards of service in the water, health and transport sectors as called for in the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 toward achieving inclusive growth,” Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a statement.
“These crucial projects will greatly help facilitate and fast-track the needed infrastructure-support of the economy.”
The NEDA board approved the bidding out of the P16.5-billion Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT 2) new operations and maintenance concession contract under the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) scheme, said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said at a press briefing on Friday.
The project seeks to raise the operating efficiency of the LRT 2 fleet from the present 67% to 95%, he said. The government has set the submission of bids for October this year.
The P10.6-billion Bus Rapid Transit project in Cebu City, which is expected to deliver “fast, comfortable and cost-effective mobility” on a segregated right-of-way infrastructure, was also approved, the NEDA said.
Funded by loans from Agence Française de Développement and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development-World Bank, the project will be completed by 2017.
The board also approved the P4.1-billion upgrade of the Busuanga airport in Palawan province from a turbo-prop to a jet-capable airport by realigning its runway and modernizing its facilities.
The Department of Public Works and Highways was also given the green light for its P1.18-billion Laoag Bypass Link Road Project that will entail building a road link to the Laoag City international airport and the Currimao port. This is expected to be completed by next year.
Both the Busuanga airport and Laoag road projects will be funded by the national budget.
Among the big-ticket items are the P18.7-billion Kaliwa Dam project designed to produce 600 million liters of water a day, and a P5.8-billion project at Angat Dam to improve transmission lines of the facility that supply about 90% of Metro Manila’s raw water requirements.
The Department of Health was also given the nod to expand Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, the country’s largest maternity care and birthing facility, from a 447-bed capacity to a modern 800-bed hospital at a cost of P2 billion.