NEDA approves 7 ‘high-impact’ projects

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has approved seven “high-impact” projects, ranging from agriculture to transportation, the agency’s top official announced on Friday.
Three of the seven projects, namely the New Dumaguete Airport Development, Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development, and the first phase of the Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation, will be funded by official development assistance or ODA.
“These projects are expected to significantly contribute to achieving our social and economic transformation goal in the medium term,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said during a virtual briefing.
The New Dumaguete Airport Development project covers the construction of an airport facility in Bacong, Negros Oriental. It will be implemented by the Transportation department.
“This project will replace the existing Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport due to physical and operational constraints involving the latter,” Mr. Balisacan said. 
“The New Dumaguete Airport shall enhance the province’s tourism and trade potential, economic activities, and standard of living,” he noted.
The project will cost P17 billion in total, with the Export-Import Bank of Korea-Economic Development Cooperation Fund contributing P13 billion. The remainder will be borne by the Philippine government. 
Meanwhile, the Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development project aims to increase agricultural productivity, resilience, and access to markets and services of organized farmers and fisherfolk groups in some ancestral domains in Mindanao.
“It will improve the economic situation of the indigenous peoples in Mindanao and further strengthen the capacity of local government units (LGUs) to implement support programs that address weak market linkages and poor infrastructure in geographically isolated ancestral domains,” Mr. Balisacan said.
The project is expected to cost P6.6 billion. Of the total, the World Bank will provide P5.3 billion, the Department of Agriculture P863 million, and LGUs P461 million.
The NEDA board also confirmed the approval of the first phase of the Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation project.
The project hopes to mitigate flood damage, reduce flood risks, and improve climate resilience in the Abra, Ranao, and Tagum-Libuganon river basins in Mindanao.
“The first phase of this flood resilience project will have the following outputs:  the improvement of strategic flood risk management planning; the development of flood protection infrastructure in three target major river basins, and lastly, the strengthening of community-based flood risk management measures,” Mr. Balisacan said.
The project has an estimated cost of P20 billion and will be financed by the Asian Development Bank.
The NEDA also announced changes to the Davao Public Transport Modernization and Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) Rehabilitation projects.
The agency approved the Transportation department’s request for change in scope, increase in cost, and extension of the implementation period for the Davao Public Transport Modernization project.
The project cost was increased to P73.38 million from its initial P18.66 million.
“The project involves delivering a modern, high-priority bus system for Metro Davao, wherein interconnected bus services will be prioritized along 29 routes. The implementation period for this project is extended from 2023 to 2029,” Mr. Balisacan added.
At the same time, the MRT-3 Rehabilitation project was granted approval to change its scope, increase in project cost, extension of implementation period, additional loan, and second loan reallocation. The project cost was increased to P29.6 billion from the original P21.9 billion.
The NEDA also approved the utilization of a P2.1-billion remaining loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to improve air transport facilities.
On Thursday, NEDA announced the approval of the University of the Philippines- Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Cancer Center public-private partnership (PPP) project.
It is the Marcos administration’s first approved PPP project. The project will build a P6-billion cancer center.
“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,” Mr. Balisacan added. – Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson