• Govt to roll out P157-B infra projects in poorest regions

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    The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said a total of 1,313 region-specific infrastructure projects worth P157.44 billion included in the Three-Year Rolling Infrastructure Plan (TRIP) 2018-2020 will be rolled out in the next three years in the five regions that have the highest poverty rates.

    “This is in line with the country’s National Spatial Strategy in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. We want to set the country’s direction of future growth to one that strongly involves the regions and maximize this connectivity of sustainable urban and rural communities,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Out of the 4,895 projects amounting to P3.6 trillion included in TRIP 2018-2020 revealed during the Dutertenomics Forum, 4,498 are region-specific (P935.55 billion), 158 are inter-regional (P1,848.02 billion) and 239 are nationwide in scale (P824.47 billion), the NEDA said.

    Among the regions, it added, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the country’s poorest region with 48.2 percent poverty rate among families in the 2015 Philippine Poverty Statistics, will have 955 projects amounting to P50.71 billion.

    Also among the poorest regions, Caraga (Region XIII) will have 66 infrastructure projects amounting to P28.81 billion; Eastern Visayas (Region VIII), 147 projects, P19.8 billion; Soccsksargen (Region XII), 28 projects, P7.8 billion; and Northern Mindanao (Region X), 117 projects, P50.32 billion.

    “These numbers only include the region-specific projects. These areas are also expected to benefit from the inter-regional and nationwide infrastructure that will form an efficient network of engines of economic growth all over the country,” Pernia said.

    For the region-specific projects, 2,857 infrastructure projects amounting to P524.48 billion will be built in areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila), compared with 293 projects amounting to P180.37 billion to be built in NCR, the NEDA said.

    “This shows how serious this administration is in jumpstarting growth in the regions and in addressing spatial and socioeconomic inequalities by linking lagging regions with leading ones,” Pernia said.

    He noted that this will help develop regional and sub-regional centers, and decongest Metro Manila.

    Also, according to him, this long pipeline of infrastructure projects can enhance prospects for job generation, help in increasing household consumption, stimulate business-related activities in the areas and, in the long run, reduce poverty incidence.

    On mode of funding, the NEDA said, 3,334 will be Locally Funded Projects (LFP), 70 will be financed through official development assistance (ODA), 33 will be supported by public-private partnerships and 1,341 will be backed by other modes.

    For 117 projects, the mode of funding is yet to be determined.

    TRIP aims to strengthen links between planning, programming and budgeting, and help attain the indicative public infrastructure spending targets for the medium term.

    The agency reported that the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC)-Cabinet Committee and the NEDA Infrastructure Committee approved in a joint meeting on April 17 the updated list of 75 infrastructure flagship projects.

    The recently included projects still up for approval of the ICC include Mindoro-Batangas Super Bridge, Camarines-Catanduanes Friendship Bridge, Ipo Dam No. 3, Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project, Nationwide Fish Ports Project (Package III) and Agus 3 Hydroelectric Plant, most of them candidates for China’s ODA, it said.

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