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Monday, July 17, 2017

NEDA: WV included in ‘Build, Build, Build’

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THREE big ticket projects in Western Visayas are included in the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program of the Duterte administration, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-6).

The projects include the improvement of the Iloilo International Airport worth P30.4 billion; construction of Panay-Guimaras-Negros (PGN) Island Bridge Project (P27.156B); and the Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project in Capiz (P19.3B).

Gilberto Altura, NEDA-6 chief economic development specialist, said these projects, totaling more or less P77 billion are under the Public Investment Program (PIP) 2017-2022.

PIP is a companion document of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 which embodies the “Build, Build, Build” program.

“Build, Build, Build”, which will cost around P8 trillion, includes the legacy infrastructure projects of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte when his term ends in 2022.

“The core investment program of PIP includes the big ticket projects and they selected and publicized only 75 projects nationwide. If you divide 75 to 18 regions that is an average of four projects. And here in Region VI, we got three,” Altura said.

The Iloilo airport project was part of a package drawn by the Department of the Transportation and Communications (DOTC) during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of five major airports in the country under the Public-Private Partnership scheme.

But only one bidder responded to the offer, resulting in failure of bidding.

Altura said the DOTC (now Department of Transportation or DOTr) decided to unbundle the five individual projects but will still be implemented under the PPP scheme.

Meanwhile, Altura said the Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge project is going to be processed by the NEDA Central Office Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) for the conduct of the feasibility study.

He said that during the Aquino administration, the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) committed to conduct a feasibility study for the Iloilo-Guimaras Bridge.

“When the new administration came in, there were negotiations with the Chinese government who are looking at extending the bridge to Negros and even the whole of Visayas. However, there has been no result of the study yet,” he said.

NEDA Assistant Secretary Mercedita Sombilla said they are confident that these projects will be completed before the president ends his term.

NEDA-6 Regional Director Ro-Ann Bacal said these are priority projects that the government is committed to implement.

“These projects are critical to make sure that the goals, objectives and target of PDP are achieved,” she said.

Altura said the projects will also be included in the Regional Development Investment Program of Western Visayas.



NO PANAY RAILWAY

Meanwhile, the proposed revival of the Panay Railways was not included in the Build, Build, Build list.

Bacal said the project has to undergo a thorough study because of its huge cost.

Instead of a railway, Bacal said they are considering the construction of an expressway on the Iloilo-Capiz railway line.

“We started talking to business groups and they expressed apprehensions on the multiple handling cost when it comes to the railway. They are thinking of an elevated expressway from Iloilo to Capiz,” she said.

Bacal said everything is in conceptual stage and will still undergo brainstorming within the regional level and to the national level.

“We’ve been asking our representatives in the Congress and even the local leaders on their thoughts about the idea of having an expressway or railway,” the director said. Louine Hope Conserva/The Daily Guardian

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