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The alleviation of the perennial traffic problem in Metro Manila is among the things expected to be given due course once the flagship projects approved by Neda get underway. TMM FILE PHOTO

Neda board okays 3 flagship projects

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board’s Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) approved in its recent meeting three new projects, including a flood control project in Mindanao and a traffic-alleviating project in Metro Manila.

The Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control Projects and the construction of 10 Proposed Priority Bridges Crossing Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway of the Department of Public Works and Highways are listed in the 75 flagship projects of the Duterte administration.

The Mindanao flood control projects, costing P39.2 billion, would involve the construction of various flood management infrastructure such as dikes and floodgates along the Ambal-Simuay and Rio Grande de Mindanao which are parts of the Mindanao River Basin, the second largest river basin in the country.

Meanwhile, the construction of the remaining 10 priority bridges crossing Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway, amounting to P27.37 billion, which aims to improve road transport network capacity and efficiency in Metro Manila by adding fix links and alternate routes, was also approved. The approval of the construction of the first two bridges—the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridges—with a total cost of Php5.98 billion was earlier confirmed by the Neda Board on September 12, 2017. The first two bridges will be funded by a grant from the Chinese government.

The ICC-CabCom, which is chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez and co-chaired by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, also approved the Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which is geared towards improving productivity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and making them competitive in the local and global markets.

The project, which has a total cost of PhP4.78 billion, intends to support 78,000 farming households by increasing on-farm and off-farm activities and generating employment opportunities in rural areas.

In the same meeting held at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the ICC-CabCom also approved the increase in cost and the change in scope of the Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System Phase 2 (PHILO 2) Project of the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR). This involves the improvement and expansion of the first phase of the project, particularly its vessel monitoring system (VMS) and integration of various databases, including fishing vessel registry, ocean and weather data, stock assessment data, and records of illegal unreported and unregulated fishing. The ICC-CC approved BFAR’s request to change the scope of the project in order to purchase additional VMS transceivers to cover more commercial fishing vessels and to utilize both satellite and terrestrial technologies, among others.

The ICC-CC also approved the change in scope and cost for the Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (IDRR-CCA) Measures in Low-Lying Areas of Pampanga Bay. The project aims to maximize drainage efficiency, minimize flood damages to properties, and improve trading and market activities in the municipalities of Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin, and Sto. Tomas in the province of Pampanga.

Furthermore, the Cabinet-level committee approved the restructuring of the Integrated National Resource Management Project (INREMP) of DENR.

These ICC-approved projects will be elevated to the Neda Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, for confirmation.

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