THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) approved projects on Friday with a total cost of P626.11 billion, officials announced in a press conference after the meeting.

In a statement yesterday, the Department of Finance (DoF) said the projects approved during the meeting were the:

• unsolicited operate-add-transfer (OAT) proposal for the Davao International Airport;

• unsolicited OAT proposal for Laguindingan Airport;

• Bataan-Cavite interlink bridge;

• Metro Rail Transit Line 4 project (MRT 4);

• EDSA Greenways project;

• Maritime Safety Enhancement program;

• Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge (BCIB) project

• fourth bridge of the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction project;

• Davao City Coastal Bypass Road, including the Bucana Bridge project;

• Capas-Botolan Road Project;

• Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges project;

• change in scope, cost and supplemental loan of the the Davao City Bypass Construction Project;

• as well as implementation extension and increase in cost of the Samar-Pacific Coastal Road Project-Loan Validity.

With this development, these projects are a step away from final approval by the NEDA Board, which is chaired by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

In a press conference following the NEDA ICC-CabCom meeting, Bases and Conversion Development Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Vivencio B. Dizon said the MRT 4 project and the proposed EDSA greenways will be financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Mr. Dizon said the Bucana bridge project will be “another huge and iconic bridge” and will be funded through a grant from China. “In fact, when this is done, this will be the longest bridge in the country by far,” he said.

A project that will be financed by China through official development assistance is the Panay-Guimaras Negros island bridge.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dizon said the approved Capas-Botolan Road project is not part of the infrastructure flagship list but is still considered a major project.

“Since the NEDA approved the new list, we’ve already approved a total of 14 projects, including those that were approved today, so you can see that we’re really accelerating the approvals in order for the implementing agencies to already begin within 6-8 months projects on the ground, and we say begin, heavy equipment on the ground. That’s the goal. We’re happy with the progress but we want to accelerate it further.” he said.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said: “We fast-track all these projects before the end of the year so that next year, we can focus purely on the detail engineering and procurement of these big-ticket project.”

“So with all of these projects, they are good to go and we can expect implementation will start sooner than later,” Mr. Villar said.

The government has overhauled its flagship project list, increasing the number to 100 projects from 75 originally. Projects deemed not feasible were dropped while those that are deemed more feasible and have higher impact on people’s quality of life were kept. The new list also includes more projects funded through public-private partnership. — Beatrice M. Laforga