President Benigno Aquino III on Friday approved five big-ticket infrastructure projects that will cost a whopping P146.9 billion.
Two of the projects are designed to decongest traffic and cut travel time in the National Capital Region and outlying provinces.
The infrastructure projects will be funded through a combination of official development assistance (ODA) loans and government equity.
Most of these projects will be implemented from 2013 to 2018 and will not be completed until after Mr. Aquino’s term ends in 2016.
“All these projects are meant to promote inclusive and rapid growth,” Ricky Carandang, head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, told reporters following a Palace meeting of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) board, which approved the projects. The President chairs the Neda board.
The biggest of these projects are the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, or Calax (P35.57 billion), and the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway (NLEx-SLEx) connector road project (P25.55 billion).
The latter two are on the Aquino administration’s priority public-private partnership (PPP) list. The NLEx-SLEx connector road project was an unsolicited proposal from the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. that was approved and awarded last December.
Three rural infrastructure projects are: the construction of water impounding facilities, or Pasa Small Reservoir Irrigation Project in Isabela City (P1.29 billion); phase 2 of the Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resources Management Project (P2.94 billion); and the continuation of Kalahi-CIDSS National Community Driven Development Project (P89.1 billion).
Kalahi-CIDSS, which stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan–Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Service, is a community-driven development project being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
It is widely viewed as an anti-insurgency program since it is aimed at providing comprehensive livelihood and social services to the countryside.
According to the DSWD, the program trains communities and their local government units “to choose, design and implement subprojects that address their most pressing needs.”
The program is assured of funding until 2018.
On the Calax, a four-lane, 47.02-km highway, Carandang said the total cost of the project was brought down to P35.5 billion, from P43.4 billion, due to “minor revisions in the scope.”
“Little tweaks to specifications of the projects resulted in savings,” he said.
Target date of completion is 2017.
The NLEx-SLEx connector road will be a 13.4-km, four-lane, mostly elevated expressway that will be constructed over the existing Philippine National Railway right of way. When completed in 2016, it will run from Caloocan City to Buendia in Makati City.
Among the PPP programs presented to investors in 2010, the Aquino administration has already awarded to Ayala Corp. the P1.956-billion Daanghari-Southern Luzon Expressway Link Road, the first PPP project of the Aquino administration to be awarded, and two school building contracts awarded to BF Corp. and Citicore-Megawide consortium for a combined cost of P16.5 billion.
Carandang said the water impounding facility project in Isabela would address climate change.
“The benefit of this is it will prevent flooding and reroute water for greater irrigation [of agricultural lands],” resulting in higher crop yields, he said.
Of the P1.029-billion cost for the Isabela project, P935 million will come from ODA while P93 million will be shouldered by the local government. It will be finished in 2016.
The Cordillera project was started in 2009. Phase 2 will start this year until completion in 2015.