NEDA OKs P1 trillion in projects in 2017
The National Economic and Development Authority Board chaired by President Duterte approved P1 trillion in projects so far this year, with the rollout of up to a dozen infrastructure projects next year expected to create more jobs.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters Thursday that at least six projects would start implementation early next year. These include big-ticket projects such as the Clark Airport expansion; Metro Manila Subway; North-South railway projects connecting Los Baños, Laguna, Tutuban, Manila, and Clark Freeport; the 130-kilometer first phase of the Mindanao Railway connect Digos, Davao City and Tagum; Chico River Dam; Kaliwa Water Supply; and Cavite Flood Control project.
Pernia, who heads the state planning agency, said the Neda Board this year approved 20 projects—14 new and six existing projects with changes in scope or financing, bringing to 36 the total number of projects approved by the Duterte administration in its first 18 months in office.
Most of these projects would be financed through the national budget or official development assistance (ODA), Pernia said.
Neda Assistant Secretary Jonathan L. Uy said the projects approved this year cost a total of P1 trillion, higher compared with the P400-billion total cost of the 17 projects approved last year.
Uy said they planned to seek a Neda Board approval for six more projects, including three new and tweaks to three ongoing projects.
The three new projects are a peace and order project involving a command center in Davao City to be funded by China; the purchase of helicopters for marine disaster response; and a bridge construction acceleration project, Uy said.
Pernia said that amid political instability in the Middle East, the government’s massive “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program is expected to generate more jobs that could absorb overseas Filipino workers who may be repatriated.
Neda Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said the jobs requirement for the “Build, Build, Build” would be integrated into the portal Philjobnet to make them accessible to applicants.
Noting that the “flagship” infrastructure projects would be implemented 24/7, Pernia said jobs in construction, engineering and design would be in demand next year.
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