NEDA Oks 5 flagship infra projects in Mindanao
DAVAO CITY-Mindanao stands to benefit from the government’s massive “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program such that the war-torn island would be transformed into an agricultural and industrial hub in the medium term, the head of the Duterte administration’s economic team said Friday.
The National Economic and Development Authority Board chaired by the President already approved five flagship infrastructure projects soon to rise in Mindanao, said Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III at a speech at the Philippine Economic Briefing.
“Beginning this year, a new Mindanao story is set to unfold. The island is the focal point of major infrastructure projects that will enhance economic production, open new irrigated lands for our agriculture and make the movement of goods and people easier,” Dominguez said.
Among the big-ticket infrastructure projects in the island are the P5.4-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project expected to be completed by 2019, according to Dominguez.
The irrigation facility, Dominguez said, would be located in Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces, “which are potential rice baskets for the entire Philippines.”
“We will irrigate almost 10,000 hectares of land in 56 conflict-affected areas,” Dominguez added.
Also among the priority projects were the expansion and improvement of the Davao International as well as Laguindingan airports, which have project costs of P40.6 billion and P14.6 billion, respectively, the Finance chief said.
These two airport projects, targeted for completion in 2025, “will expand the capacity of the passenger terminal and cargo to accommodate the fast-growing number of visitors to southern and northern Mindanao,” Dominguez said.
Another big-ticket project is the P21.2-billion Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector, under which the government will build and improve a total of 280 kilometers in roads and bridges in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Tawi-Tawi province until 2020.
The government will construct for P4.9 billion the 3.5-kilometer Panguil Bay Bridge to connect Tubod, Lanao de Norte and Tangub City, Misamis Occidental.
“This bridge will dramatically reduce travel time between these two points from the present two-and-a-half hours to only 10 minutes… Construction will begin this year and will be completed by 2021,” Dominguez said.
The first segment of Mindanao’s first railway system that would run across Tagum, Davao and Digos would be rolled out before the year ends, according to Dominguez.
“This segment will be 102-kilometer long with a design speed of 160 kilometers an hour. It will cost P35.3 billion and should be completed in 2021,” the Finance chief said.
“An efficient railway system will relieve road congestion, reduce the cost of moving goods and people across long distances and spur economic activity. By 2022, the Duterte government expects to complete 1,900 kilometers of rail lines in both Luzon and Mindanao. For your information, we only have 77-kilometers of operational railways at the moment and they are all located in Luzon,” he added.
Also, Dominguez said that “while we are busy financing and launching new infrastructure, we have not forgotten communities ruined by war or calamity,” citing that the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan was already in its final stage of formulation.
For Dominguez, “this thing is clear: Mindanao will be the spear point of our rapid economic growth” as “it has the headroom, the talent, and the natural resources to perform that role.”
“Mindanao is at the front and center of our development efforts. The island will benefit from investor interest and the staunch support from our development partners like the Asian Development Bank,” Dominguez said.
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