• Bohol gets P230-B medium-term infra projects



    Aside from the P7.4-B new Panglao Bohol International Airport, which is set to operate this September, the province has received the go-signal for four projects worth P230 billion, as included in the 75 listed priority projects approved by the NEDA (National Economic Development Authority).

    In a newly released listing by the NEDA, the projects are the P124.150-billion Cebu-Bohol Link Bridge, the P96.280-billion Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge, the P4.134- billion Bohol Northeast Basin Multipurpose Dam Project and an additional P4.570-billion project for the forthcoming facilities of the New Panglao Bohol Airport.

    The Bohol officialdom had been following up the multi-year funded projects with Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia, and NEDA Undersecretary Rolando Tungpalan.

    The feasibility studies are underway, as mostly funded by the Asian Development Bank and the Northeast Basin Project by the NIA (National Irrigation Authority), with JICA involved in some pre-feasibility study undertakings.

    The operation of the income-earning aspect of the Bohol Airport can be ceded to a private corporation. On the other hand, the operations of the Cebu-Bohol and Bohol-Leyte bridge links can potentially be run by a toll-directed arrangement with a private entity. And the NIA will have to determine the extent of private sector participation in the multipurpose usage of the dam facility.

    Under the auspices of the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), this Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge project will see the construction of a one-kilometer (Ubay)-Lapinig Island bridge and a further 18-km Lapinig Island-Leyte Bridge in southern Leyte (the nearest to Bohol) for greater regional connectivity.

    This will also enhance mobility and the cheaper and faster transport of goods and people, and boost tourism between Bohol and Leyte. The project, costing P92.280 billion, is officially set to start in 2019, according to the NEDA matrix.

    On the other hand, the feasibility study of the P124.150-billion Cebu-Bohol bridge can be finished in eight to 10 months, or up to early 2019.

    This involves the construction of a 24.5-km bridge that will link Cebu and Bohol. The link points will be Getafe in
    Bohol and Mactan island in Cebu. The project, which will employ the “floating bridge” technology, has been reportedly referred to China for funding.

    There was earlier talk to use the link to “exchange” power from Cebu and Bohol’s teeming water sources – but this will merely sweeten all the more the economic benefits of the bridge.

    The project objective is to have greater regional connectivity, mobility enhancement and more efficient transfer of goods and people between Bohol and Cebu. The project is under the auspices of the DPWH.

    The third big Bohol project is deemed to be the “biggest dam in the Visayas,” through the auspices of the NIA.

    The Bohol Northeast Multipurpose Dam is called as such, as it will result in the irrigation of 19,000 hectares of rice land, a 10-megawatt hydroelectric power plant, a source of potable water for the far-flung areas, improve drainage to prevent flooding and tourism sub-projects.

    As the feasibility study is reportedly almost finished, the ambitious project is expected to commence in 2019 and be finished by 2023, according to the NEDA schedule. This P4.134-billion project was hatched as far back as during the incumbency of the late Rep. Erico Aumentado.

    Meanwhile, under the Department of Transportation, an additional P4.570 billion is being budgeted (started in 2017) to provide for additional facilities and other necessary improvements to enhance the safety, security, access, passenger and cargo movement efficiency of the airport, excluding traffic control, air navigation and their associated services.

    The project is deemed completed by the year 2025.

    The stream of Bohol projects was picked out of some 4,000 reported applicants. Most will be part of the “Build, Build, Build” program of the government to upgrade its infrastructure facilities, create jobs and enhance its competitiveness with the outside world.

    Several trillion pesos will be spent up until the end of the Duterte administration in 2022 (bringing infra spending up to 7 percent of GDP) – some of which will be funded by the recently approved TRAIN tax reforms initiated by the Department of Finance.

    It is hoped that these multi-year projects would result in bringing down the poverty index in Bohol from 30 percent in 2000 to the targeted 16 percent national average in year 2022.

    Bingo Dejaresco, a former banker, is a financial consultant, media practitioner and book author. A life member and chair of the Broadcast Media of Finex, his views here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Finex. dejarescobingo@yahoo.com.


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