President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday approved six major infrastructure projects, including the re-bidding of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) during a meeting of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board that lasted eight hours.
Approved by the NEDA Board chaired by the President was the re-bidding of the CALAX project with a minimum bid price of P20.1 billion, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.
The project is an eight-interchange tollway that starts at the Cavite Expressway in Kawit and ends at the Mamplasan interchange of South Luzon Expressway in Biñan. The total project cost is estimated at P35.4 billion.
Malacanañg earlier ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to rebid the CALAX project after San Miguel Corp. (SMC) questioned the disqualification of its unit Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. (OIDI) from the bidding in June last year. Team Orion emerged as the highest bidder last June with P11.66 billion followed by MPIC’s MP CALA Holdings with P11.33 billion, and Malaysian-owned Alloy MTD Philippines with P922 million.
The NEDA board also approved the P5.1 billion- Panguil Bay Bridge project, which will connect the city of Tangub in Misamis Occidental and the Municipality of Tubod in Lanao del Norte.
“This project aims to provide an accelerated and sustained economic growth in the Northern and Western Mindanao regions; unimpeded flow of goods and services; growth of commerce; and, reduced cost of transportation,” Coloma said.
Also approved was the P6.7- billion Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), which involves the widening of the expressway by two lanes.
“This will cover the area from Urdaneta in Pangasinan to Rosario in La Union,” Coloma added.
The NEDA board also confirmed its previous approval of the North Luzon Expressway—South Luzon Expressway connector project.
To further enhance connectivity, Coloma said that two railway projects were also approved during the Monday’s meeting.
These are the P117.3-billion North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project, Phase I, and the P170-billion North-South Railway Project (NSRP) – South Line.
Phase 1 of the NSCR Project will see the construction of a 36.7-kilometer narrow-gauge elevated commuter railway from Malolos to Tutuban, using the PNR right-of-way with 10 stations and a depot at Valenzuela.
“Most of these projects aim to have a more reliable and efficient transport infrastructure system. These are consistent with the government’s thrust to increase investment in connective infrastructure,” Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who is also the NEDA Director-General, said.
“These projects will support the government’s goal of increasing infrastructure spending to at least 5.1 percent in 2016. We hope that they will be implemented efficiently and effectively,” he added.