President Rodrigo Duterte has approved 11 priority projects worth P305.6 billion, mostly infrastructure, including the proposed P211.43-billion Malolos-Clark railway, Malacañang announced on Wednesday.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board, headed by the President, approved “all items” submitted at Tuesday’s board meeting in Malacañang.
The biggest project on the list is the Malolos-Clark railway project, or the Philippine National Railway North 2, worth P211.43 billion. This will span about 85 kilometers and will be designed to link with the North-South Commuter Railway of the Department of Transportation and Communications.
Abella said the Malolos-Clark railway project, which was submitted for information, was approved “so that JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) funding can be obtained already.”
The NEDA announced in a separate statement that the board also approved the P35.26-billion Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1 Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment, the P9.89-billion Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project, the P12.55-billion Clark International Airport Expansion Project, the P3.47-billion Education Pathways to Peace in Conflict-Affected Areas of Mindanao, and the P1.19-billion Australia Awards and Alumni Engagement Program-Philippines.
The others are the P10.87-billion New Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management Systems Development Project: 30-Month Loan Validity Extension and Reallocation of Funds; the P2.8 billion New Configuration of the LRT Line 1 North Extension Project – Common Station/Unified Grand Central Station; the P4.62-billion Change in Scope, Cost, and Financing Arrangements for the Arterial Road Bypass Project Phase II; the P10.86-billion Change in Financing of the New Centennial Water Source – Kaliwa Dam Project; and the P2.7-billion Project Approval and Change in Financing of Chico River Pump Irrigation Project.
Abella said approval of the proposed Davao Sasa Port Modernization, however, was remanded to the Department of Transportation, the proponent agency. “This was the recommended action for approval,” he said.
The NEDA said Duterte has also approved a National Transport Policy (NTP), which aims to unify all transport-related projects in the country.
“The policy will synchronize decisions and investments of all transport-related agencies and better coordinate such efforts between the national and local levels,” the NEDA said.
The NTP envisions a national transport system that is “safe, secure, reliable, efficient, integrated, intermodal, affordable, cost-effective, environmentally sustainable and people-oriented,” it added.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, in the same statement, said the primary goal of the Duterte administration is to translate the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017–2022 into actual programs that will benefit Filipinos, considering traffic in urban areas, most especially.
“The government assures the people that the problem of congestion on the roads is still being prioritized,” Pernia said.
“The NTP is a priority strategy reflected in the PDP as we seek to provide accessible social services through better connectivity,” he added.
The NEDA said the NTP’s Implementing Rules and Regulations have yet to be drafted and finalized.