7 high-impact projects okayed

President Marcos, Balisacan said, gave the green light to these projects during the National Economic and Development Authority Board meeting as its chairperson in Malacañang last Thursday.

Photo by Yummie Dingding

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved seven “high-impact projects” aimed at achieving social and economic transformation, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan announced on Friday.

In a Palace briefing, the country’s top economist said the President approved the following projects: Cancer Center, MRT-3 Rehabilitation, Air Traffic Management System Maintenance, New Dumaguete Airport Development, Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Project, Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation Project, and Davao Public Transport Modernization.

President Marcos, he said, gave the green light to these projects during the National Economic and Development Authority Board meeting as its chairperson in Malacañang last Thursday.

Cancer Center

The Cancer Center will be established through a partnership with the University of the Philippines and the Philippine General Hospital, making it the first public-private project of the Marcos administration.

The funds for the construction of the 300-bed hospital will be solicited through the submission of bids and will be structured as a 30-year Build-Operate-Transfer arrangement under the BOT Law.

Of the total bed capacity, 150 will be “charity beds” in the UP-PGH Area, while the other 150 beds will be private beds in the Private Area.

The center will provide a full range of cancer treatments, including radio oncology (radiotherapy), imaging, medical oncology, and support for the UP-PGH’s teaching and research activities.

The building will have 15 to 20 floors with 350 parking spaces as well as 1,000 square meters of commercial space.

An area will also be allocated to house three linear accelerator bunkers — machines used to treat cancer.

Balisacan emphasized that even if a private partner will build the Cancer Center, the building will not be privately owned.

“The private partner will build the facility, they will design, will engineer, and construct the facility, then transfer it to the UP-PGH. And then the private sector will operate the facility,” he said.

MRT-3 Rehab

The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 will undergo another rehabilitation under the Marcos administration.

Balisacan said the NEDA Board increased the funding for the project to P29.6 billion from P21.9 billion, an increase of P7.6 billion.

“This project involves upgrading MRT-3 to its original as-designed state with provision for capacity expansion in the future. All subsystems will be restored, renewed, or upgraded, including the tracks, signaling system, power supply system, overhead catenary system, and communication system, as well as maintenance and station equipment,” he explained.

The project will also involve integrating other MRT 3-related projects such as the common station, the Dalian trains, and the transition to a four-car train configuration.

In 2022, the Duterte administration completed its MRT-3 rehabilitation project, where rail tracks were replaced, signaling systems were upgraded, escalators and elevators were repaired, and air conditioning units were installed.

Air Traffic Management System

The NEDA Board also approved the utilization of the Japan International Cooperation Agency loan balance amounting to P2.12 billion for the maintenance and resiliency enhancement of the Communication, Navigation, and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management system.

“The NEDA Board approval will include CNS/ATM maintenance and resiliency enhancement with the following components, maintenance contracts, ultimate fall-back system, and the feasibility study for the independent backup system,” Balisacan said.

He added: “The approval includes a 60-month loan with a validity extension from 2023 to 2028 to cover their preceding intended utilization. This approval shall enable the upgrade of our eight-transport facilities and improved passenger experience by enhancing the safety, reliability, and efficiency of our air traffic service in Philippine Air Space following international standards.”

Thousands of passengers were left stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on New Year’s Day following a glitch in the country’s air navigation system, supposedly caused by a technical error in the CNS/ATM.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has already purchased new uninterruptible power supply units for its CNS/ATM as part of measures to prevent the fiasco from happening again.

Dumaguete Airport Development

Also approved was the construction of the P17-billion New Dumaguete Airport Development Project in Bacong, Negros Oriental.

Balisacan said the new airport of the Department of Transportation will be funded through Official Development Assistance from the South Korean government through the Export-Import Bank of Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund.

Some P13 billion will be funded through ODA while the DoTr will shoulder the remaining amount of P3.9 billion.

The project is set to be finished within seven years.

Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Project

The NEDA board likewise approved the P6.6-billion Department of Agriculture’s Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Project.

The project aims to boost agricultural productivity, resiliency, and access to markets and services of organized farmers and fisherfolk groups.

“This agriculture development project will cover selected ancestral domains in Mindanao from Regions IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, and the BARMM,” he said.

The MIDP covers selected ancestral domains in Mindanao from the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga, and the Bangsamoro Administrative Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The project will be pivotal in reducing poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity among indigenous peoples. It will improve the economic situation of the indigenous peoples in Mindanao and further strengthen the capacity of local government units to implement support programs that address weak market linkages and poor infrastructure in geographically isolated ancestral domains,” he added.

The project’s estimated total cost is P6.6 billion, of which P5.3 billion is to be financed through an ODA loan from the World Bank, while the balance of P863 million and P461 million will be shouldered by the Philippine government through the DA and LGUs, respectively.

Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation

The first phase of the Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation Project of the Department of Public Works and Highways was also approved.

The project aims to mitigate flood damage, reduce flood risk, and improve climate resilience in three major river basins in the country.

It seeks to develop flood protection infrastructure in three target major river basins: Abra in Luzon and Ranao and Tagum-Libuganon in Mindanao, as well as strengthen community-based flood risk management measures.

Davao Public Transport Modernization

Also getting the thumbs up was the DoTR’s request for changes and scope, an increase in cost, and an extension of the implementation period for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project.

The project involves delivering a modern, high-priority bus system for Davao City wherein interconnected bus services will be prioritized along 29 routes.

The implementation period for the project is extended from 2023 to 2029.

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