Biggest-ever ODA loan up for Duterte approval
President Duterte is expected to approve today the rollout of the Philippines’ first subway system, which the country’s chief economist said would be fully funded by the biggest-ever official development assistance (ODA) from Japan.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told the Inquirer that the National Economic and Development Authority Board chaired by the President would give its go-ahead to the P355.6-billion Metro Manila Subway Project-Phase 1, which will connect Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City, during its scheduled meeting today.
Pernia, who heads the state planning agency Neda, said the entire project cost, equivalent to $7 billion, would be funded by ODA from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
So far, the largest ODA loan package provided by Jica to the Philippines was 241.9 billion yen or about $2 billion for the $2.88-billion North-South Commuter Railway Project that will connect Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan.
The implementation of the subway project will start next year and completion is targeted by mid-2025, Neda said.
Economic Planning Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan told the Inquirer that besides the subway, the Neda Board would also approve the increase in the project cost of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to P16.3 billion from P10.6 billion previously.
Also part of the agenda during today’s Neda Board meeting are the P21.2-billion Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project; P7.9-billion Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility; P3.5-billion Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project as well as the 18-month validity extension of the Asian Development Bank’s loan for the Road Improvement and Institutional Development Project, Tungpalan disclosed.
The Neda Board would also green-light the two bridges to be built across the Pasig River using grants from the Chinese government—the P4.6-billion Binondo-Intramuros Bridge and P1.4-billion Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, Tungpalan added.
This year, public infrastructure spending is expected to result in a 0.1-percentage point increase in real GDP; 0.7 percentage point in 2018; 1.3 percentage points in 2019, and 1.7 percentage points in 2020.
The “Build, Build, Build” program will bring about an average of 1.4-percentage point increase in annual GDP growth, Neda data showed.
Also, the infrastructure buildup plan is expected to generate more jobs: 106,824 in 2017; 823,696 in 2018; 1.1 million in 2019; 1.2 million in 2020; 1.4 million in 2021, and 1.7 million in 2022. —BEN O. DE VERA
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