The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, chaired by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has approved 194 high-impact priority projects under the Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) as well as amendments to the 2013 Joint Venture (JV) Guidelines that is seen to further strengthen the government’s “Build Better More” program.
“Today’s approval of the new IFP list and the amendments to the NEDA JV guidelines is a giant step toward our goal of elevating our competitiveness as we promote the Philippines as a prime investment destination in the region,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a press briefing on Thursday.
The approved new list of IFPs includes a total of 194 projects amounting to about P9 trillion, the bulk of which are projects in irrigation, water supply and flood management.
The list also includes projects in digital connectivity, health, power and energy, agriculture and other infrastructure.
“We will connect and integrate markets to enable access to more opportunities for local industries, enhance the productivity of our young and vibrant labor force, and create safer infrastructure for future generations. Ultimately, we wish to improve the overall quality of life for all Filipinos and empower every citizen to live a matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay,” Balisacan pointed out
Some projects included in the new list are the Panay Railway Project, Mindanao Railway Project III, North Long Haul Railway, San Mateo Railway, UP-PGH Diliman Project, the NAIA or Ninoy Aquino International Airport Rehabilitation Project, Ilocos Sur Transbasin Project and the Metro Cebu Expressway.
“Aligned with the priorities under the 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda of President Marcos’ Administration and the plans outlined in the Philippine Development Plan for 2023-2028, these high-impact and urgently-needed infrastructure projects aim to showcase the government’s Build-Better- More program,” Balisacan said.
The socioeconomic planning secretary said the new IFPs are seen to address the binding constraints to business investment and expansion that will create more, high-quality and resilient jobs that will allow the Philippines to meet its poverty-reduction goals for the medium term.
The Cabinet official further noted that the IFPs shall be prioritized under the government’s annual budget preparation and enjoy the benefits of expedited issuance of applicable permits and licenses consistent with current legal frameworks.
Balisacan said the projects will adopt an optimal mix of financing from various development partners or Official Development Assistance (ODA), the national government or the General Appropriations and the private sector or the Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).
To hasten the rollout of these projects, Balisacan said the Marcos administration is strongly promoting the utilization of PPPs, which he said is “one of the cross-cutting strategies likewise identified in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.”
The NEDA chief said 45 of the IFPs are seen to be financed through partnerships with the private sector.
“The government shall harness the financial and technical resources of the private sector, which allows the public sector to allocate its funds for greater investments in human capital development, especially to address the scarring in health and education due to the pandemic and provide targeted assistance that protects vulnerable sectors from economic shocks,” Balisacan said.
To ensure the quality and timeliness of project execution, Balisacan said the NEDA Board designated NEDA as the lead agency that will monitor the implementation of the IFPs as part of its program monitoring function.
Also approved during the NEDA Board meeting on Thursday are the proposed amendments to the 2013 NEDA Joint Venture Guidelines.
The amendments, Balisacan said, aim to enhance competition for projects under joint ventures, ensure better performance of private-sector participants, and improve checks and balances to ensure that the project is technically and financially sound.
The changes “shall also ensure that the guidelines are aligned with the provisions of the recently amended Build-Operate-Transfer or BOT Law Implementing Rules and Regulations and the proposed amendments to the BOT Law or PPP Act pending in Congress, but which are expected to be passed by this year.”
Balisacan said the Marcos administration’s thrust for infrastructure “shall enable the transformation of the Philippine economic landscape within the next six years.”
As the country has much work to do to catch up with its dynamic neighbors in the region, Balisacan said the government will pursue high-impact initiatives that aim to encourage greater local and foreign investment and private-sector participation in infrastructure development. Presidential News Desk
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