THE CABINET Cluster of the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) approved higher cost estimates for two Mindanao projects and flood management projects for three river basins across the country.
In a statement, NEDA said that the body approved on July 27 the widening of a two-lane road to four lanes for the Davao City Bypass construction project, as well as shifting the project to one phase from two.
The 45.2-kilometer bypass budget was also approved at P25.8 billion, from the earlier estimate of P16.8 billion.
The cluster also approved the increase in length of the Panguil Bay bridge to 3.77 kilometers from 3.48 kilometers, while widening it to 15.5 meters from 14.5 meters previously.
“The change in cost from P4.9 billion to P7.4 billion covers the actual expenses for Right-of-Way acquisition carried out by the Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte District Engineering Offices, excluding service charges,” NEDA said.
The bridge specifications were also modified to accommodate longer pile lengths, bigger boreholes, precautions against seismic events, and additional temporary facilities for construction activity such as docking lots, casting sites, crane ways, among others.
The panel also increased the authorized cost estimate for the Flood Risk Management projects for the Cagayan, Tagoloan, and Imus Rivers to P7.5 billion from P5.6 billion due to “inclusion of new work items; and increases in costs of land acquisition, construction materials, consultancy services, and administration.”
The Tagoloan river runs through Misamis Oriental.
After the Cabinet Cluster, the changes in project specifications and budgets need to be approved by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, acting as head of the NEDA Board.
“Of the regions involved, three (Regions XI, II, Calabarzon) posted Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) growth rates last year of 10.9%, 7.2%, 6.7%, respectively. These are higher than the National Capital Region’s 6.1%,” NEDA said.
Region XI or the Davao Region is expected to grow by 10.5-11.5% by 2022, while Cagayan Valley is expected to grow between 6.5-7.5% over the same period, and Calabarzon growth is projected at 6-7.3%.
“The ICC and the whole of government is steadfast in sustaining these regions’ growth momentum. These improvements in the projects reflect this commitment,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.
The statement also said that the ICC urged the Transportation department to “fast-track the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit,” which is part of the Metro Cebu Intermodal and Integrated Transport System, which is targeted to achieve interoperability by June 2021.
The integrated transport system will include the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit, a skytrain project, intelligent transport systems, light rail transit, and a greenways project, among others, to help address congestion and transport problems in Metro Cebu. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan