With just six months to go before he leaves Malacañang, President Benigno Aquino 3rd approved five projects worth P23.2 billion that will improve the country’s transport system.
The projects were discussed during the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board meeting on Wednesday. Aquino is the chairman of the board.
Among those approved were private-public partnership (PPP) projects, including mass transport as well as government projects, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
The big-ticket projects include the Manila-Quezon Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Project that involves the construction of a 12.3-kilometer segregated bus rapid transit from Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City to Manila City Hall.
Coloma said the project cost is estimated at P4.8 billion.
“The concept is they are dedicated lanes for public buses in the middle section of the main road, in this case Quezon Avenue all the way up to Manila City Hall,” he said.
Also approved was the construction of a four-lane toll road that will connect the North Luzon Expressway to the South Luzon Expressway.
The NEDA board also gave the green light to the Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System Phase II project.
Coloma said this will expand the Vessel Monitoring System, an integration of various databases including fishing vessel registry, ocean or weather data, stock assessment data, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing records among others.
“This project aims to set up an integrated operational fisheries and marine environment monitoring center in the Philippines that is inter-regional and connected with the main center,” he said.
“This was required of us by the EU because there are EU countries that import significant amounts of fishery products from the Philippines,” he added.
The board also approved the request for an additional P20 million for the right of way and resettlement cost for the construction of a major penitentiary in Nueva Ecija. CATHERINE S. VALENTE