Neda Board’s newly approved infra projects to bolster inclusive growth

THE projects recently approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board will increase the poor’s access to various infrastructure facilities, as well as social and economic services.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said increasing the access of the poor to these facilities and services is key to realizing the Philippines’ goal of achieving inclusive growth.

Balisacan earlier said that apart from low incomes, the lack of access to social services, such as education and health, makes millions of Filipinos poor.

“These approved projects will significantly contribute to the infrastructure investment needed to sustain growth, and make it inclusive. The projects will allow Filipinos to have more access to social and economic opportunities. The transportation and port projects will improve the mobility of people and the efficiency of the flow of goods and services,” Balisacan said.

“Also, some of these projects will instill or enhance resiliency of many areas against climate-related risks and disasters.”

The Neda Board approved 12  new infrastructure projects, worth P183.8 billion, after a meeting chaired by President Aquino on Friday.

On Friday the Palace announced that the projects approved by the Neda Board amounted to P303
billion. However, the biggest project in terms of cost, the P122.8-billion-worth Laguna Lakeshore Expressway-Dike Project, has alrea
dy been approved by the Neda Board in a previous meeting.

What was approved in the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway-Dike Project on Friday was merely the request of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to allow the project to proceed under a hybrid contractual arrangement pursuant to Section 2.9 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Build-Operate-Transfer Law.

Further, the Neda said the Neda Board also amended the approval of the requirement of a Department of Justice opinion regarding the delineation of the jurisdictions of the Laguna Lake Development Authority and the Philippine Reclamation Authority over the reclaimed land of the project areas.

Meanwhile, the 12 new projects approved by the Neda Board on Friday include the P8.55-billion Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan de Oro River; the P4.01-billion Metro Manila Interchange Construction Project, Phase VI; and the P0.81-billion Restoration of Damaged Bridges along the Bohol Circumferential Road through the Mega Bridges for Urban and Rural Development (MBURD) and the Tulay ng Pangulo Para sa Kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo and Road Upgrading and Preservation Project.

The 12 new projects include the P8.55-billion Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan de Oro River; P4.01-billion Metro Manila Interchange Construction Project, Phase VI; and the P0.81-billion Restoration of Damaged Bridges along the Bohol Circumferential Road through the MBURD and the Tulay ng Pangulo Para sa Kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo and Road Upgrading and Preservation Project.

The list also includes six public-private partnership (PPP) projects including the P30.40-billion Iloilo Airport Operations, Maintenance and Development Project; P20.26-billion Bacolod Airport Operations, Maintenance and Development Project; and P40.57-billion Davao Airport Operations, Maintenance and Development Project

The list of approved PPP projects also includes the P5.23-billion Puerto Princesa Airport Operations, Maintenance and Development Project; P50.18-billion Regional Prison Facilities through PPP Project; and the P18.99 billion Davao Sasa Port Modernization Project.

Other projects approved by the Neda Board include the P1.86-billion Fisheries, Coastal Resources and Livelihood Project and the P2.28-billion Project Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Growth and Empowerment.

The Neda Board also approved the Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue-Makati Avenue-Paseo de Roxas Vehicles Underpass Project. The total cost of the project is P1.4 billion, which includes the P11.87 million worth detailed engineering cost financed by Ayala Land Inc. and the P1.27-billion project cost to be funded by the government.

Earlier, Balisacan said poor Filipinos remain impoverished because they lack access to basic services such as health and education.

He said this is the reason the national government is increasing its investments in education and health to achieve a trickle-down effect in these basic services.

Data from the first-semester 2013 poverty statistics showed that the reduction in the country’s poverty incidence rate to 24.9 percent was largely due to the increase in the incomes of the bottom 10 percent.

The government explained that the incomes of the first decile or the bottom 10 percent increased by 12.3 percent to P33,683 in the first six months of 2013. This is higher than the P29,993 posted in the same period in 2012.

The second-highest increase was recorded by the sixth decile or those that could be part of the middle class with a 9.5-percent rise in incomes. Incomes of Filipinos in this decile increased to P95,014 in the first semester of 2013 from P86,751 in the first six months of 2012.

The third-highest increases were in the incomes of the second and third deciles which each posted a growth of 8.4 percent. It can be noted that together with the bottom 10 percent, this comprise the bottom 30 percent of the population.

The income of the second decile increased to P45,922 in the first semester of 2013 from P42,363 in 2012. The income of the third decile, meanwhile, increased to P55,634 in 2013 from P51,330 in 2012.

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A professional journalist for over a decade, Cai U. Ordinario currently writes macroeconomic and urban development stories for BusinessMirror. She has received awards for excellence in reporting on the macroeconomy and statistics. She was also cited for her contribution to statics reporting by the National Statistical Coordination Board (now the Philippine Statistics Authority). She is a recipient of journalism fellowships including the Jefferson Fellowship from the Honolulu-based East West Center. She is currently completing her Masters degree in Communication at the University of the Philippines. She graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts Major in Journalism from the University of Santo Tomas.

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