NEDA Vice-Chairman Announces The Approval of ‘Crucial’ Philippine Infrastructure Projects

Joanna Marie Santos     June 10, 2023

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NEDA Vice-Chairman Announces The Approval of ‘Crucial’ Philippine Infrastructure Projects

NEDA Vice-chairman and Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning Arsenio Balisacan announced the approval of ‘crucial projects and guidelines’ that were designed and proposed in line with the objective of supporting the infrastructure improvement goals of the current administration under the Build, Better, More (BBM) campaign. 

 

On the afternoon of June 2, President of the Republic of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved at a NEDA board meeting the TPLEX Extension project proposal and the ICC guidelines and streamlined processes to endorse and support the proliferation of more LGUs to pursue PPP projects that require collaboration with the ICC. In addition to these crucial projects and guidelines, the first progress report of the flagship infrastructure projects included in the Build, Better, More campaign was also reviewed. Furthermore, the ICC’s approval of the Department of Agriculture’s rural development projects scale-up was conferred, although it was noted that the project is still subject to approval by other government agencies. 

 

Build, Better, More Highways

 

Among those projects and guidelines announced, the Tarlac-Pangasinan Expressway (TPLEX) Extension project was by far the most anticipated. Apart from the expected magnitude and scale of the construction execution, the notably swift approval of the project proposal was emphasized by NEDA Vice-chairman Antonio Balisacan, citing that the length of time it took for the project to be proposed down to its approval was the ‘fastest’ unsolicited proposal-approval he has witnessed. 

 

Image from ABS-CBN News

 

The TPLEX Extension project, which is a proposed 15.9-kilometer road infrastructure project, was submitted on March 17 of this year and was immediately approved by the president within the first week of June. Originally connecting Metro Manila to Tarlac City and Rosario in Pangasinan, the highway extension is proposed to build a road annex to the 4-lane expressway, connecting the Rosario exit all the way to the Ilocos provinces with the entrance located in San Juan. Once completed, the TPLEX Extension expressway is expected to significantly cut down travel time from Rosario Pangasinan to San Juan, La Union from an average of 3 hours down to 40-90 minutes. The project is estimated to cost P23.4 billion, with a private-public partnership (PPP).

 

ICC Guidelines To Increase LGU Initiative To Pursue Build, Better, More Projects

 

Included in the NEDA Board meeting was the approval of the Investment Coordination Committee’s (ICC) guidelines and streamlined procedures to make the processing of PPP projects easier for LGUs that want to pursue infrastructure projects that are in line with the current administration’s development initiatives. They designed the guidelines and enhanced governmental processes with the objective to create a surge in the number of local government units that want to pursue the development of infrastructure projects that are in line with the current administration’s Build, Better, More campaign. 

 

The Current State Of The Build, Better, More Infrastructure Campaign And The Country’s Future Developments

 

Among the many other crucial sectors that need dire improvement in the Philippines, the current administration seems to not fail to show just how much of a priority roads and buildings are. For ‌his current presidency, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. desires to complete 194 infrastructure flagship projects. As of June 7, 2023, 98 are still undergoing preparation, 68 of the projects are ongoing, 25 are approved, and 9 are awaiting government approval. 

 

Image from Asian Development Bank

 

On the other hand, the Department of Agriculture’s P45.01 billion peso rural development scale-up project meant to enhance the economic state and living conditions in the country’s provinces that will benefit our country’s fisherfolk and farmers was already recognized but was still left pending for approval by other government agencies. 

 

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