• P57-B worth of projects up for NEDA Board OK

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    Economic managers have endorsed six big-ticket projects, worth a combined P57.5 billion, that include new bridges to alleviate Metro Manila’s traffic problems and initiatives to develop Mindanao.

    In a statement issued during the weekend, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said the projects were approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)’s Investment Coordination Committee.

    Dominguez is chairman of the ICC, which is co-chaired by the NEDA chief and includes the Executive Secretary and the secretaries of Trade, Agriculture and Budget, and the Bangko Sentral governor as members.

    The largest, at P21.2 billion, involves the construction of seven gravel roads totalling 236.5 kilometers and one 40-kilometer road segment in Mindanao.

    A Project Facilitation, Monitoring and Innovation Task Force, meanwhile, was created to monitor the government’s top 75 infrastructure flagship projects worth an estimated total of P15 billion.

    It also approved the procurement of seven helicopters to strengthen and expand the Philippine Coast Guard’s capability to respond to maritime incidents during natural calamities.

    This procurement, which will also involve the training of pilots and technical crew; purchase of mission equipment, maintenance tools and spare parts; construction of hangars; and project management, will cost P5.9 billion.

    To help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila, the body approved the construction of the P4.6 billion Binondo-Intramuros Bridge and the P1.4-billion Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge.

    The Binondo-Intramuros Bridge will involve the construction of a steel bowstring arch bridge supporting a four-lane deck adjacent to the Muelle de Binondo in Manila.

    The existing two-lane Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, meanwhile,will be expanded to four lanes to facilitate travel between Makati’s Rockwell Center and Mandaluyong City.

    According to Dominguez, the ICC also approved a P7.9-billion Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility that will support project development and implementation of key projects.

    To mobilize financial resources to the local governments and micro, small and medium enterprises in Mindanao, the committee also gave the go-signal for the P1.5-billion Conflict Sensitive Resource and Asset Management Program-Financial Cooperation Measure project that will be administered by the Land Bank of the Philippines.

    Projects approved by ICC-Cabinet Committee are subject to final approval by the NEDA Board, which is headed by the President.

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