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More major infrastructure projects up for final OK

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construction workers
AFP

THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee approved more big-ticket projects on Wednesday last week, including San Miguel Corp.’s proposed airport in Bulacan, a senior official of the socioeconomic planning agency said on Tuesday.

“Nine more projects have been approved in the ICC Cabinet, moving to the NEDA Board,” NEDA Undersecretary for Investment Programming Rolando G. Tungpalan said in a press briefing.

“These nine projects add up to about P900 billion that are (part of) our big-ticket projects,” he added. “Last Wednesday, the new Bulacan airport and the joint venture project in the property in Davao to be converted into an agro-industrial complex [were approved].”

Mr. Tungpalan said that those moving up for NEDA Board consideration consist of the Subic-Clark Railway, Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control Projects, 10 bridges across Pasig river — which were previously approved by the Cabinet-level ICC on March 8 — as well as the Davao agro-industrial complex and San Miguel’s proposed airport.

The NEDA official declined to give details of San Miguel’s unsolicited aerotropolis proposal, initially expected to cost P700 billion, but said economic planners were looking at its “economic rate of return, minimum performance standards, and key performance indicators” that determine the viability of the project. “We are also looking at implications on traffic congestion, all of these have to be addressed to make sure the project is able to handle a surge in demand, or if there would be no demand at all,” he said. “We should be concerned what are the implications down the road for the success of the project.”

Mr. Tungpalan said the NEDA Board, chaired by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, has yet to set a date for its next meeting.

He said NEDA has approved 40 of the administration’s 75 “flagship projects” to date, adding that many of the projects approved last year will start construction “by the end of the year” and that the government has committed to complete construction of projects within five years of NEDA Board approval. — E. J. C. Tubayan