Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Government eyes PPP to implement 11 new projects

Business Mirror, 15 April 2014

By Cai U. Ordinario


The national government is in the process of conceptualizing 11 projects to be implemented under the public- private partnership (PPP) scheme, according to a first quarter 2014 report recently released by the PPP Center.

The list includes three projects to be undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and two projects to be implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Further, PPP Center documents showed that one project each will be implemented by the Philippine Statistics Authority-Santa Mesa (formerly the National Statistics Office), Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB), Bases Conversion and Development Authority and National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

The document also showed that one project will be implemented jointly by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Department of Health and another will be implemented by the DOTC and the Department of Finance.

The projects are Civil Registration System— Information Technology Project Phase II; Ferry Passenger Terminal Buidlings Development; C-6 Expressway (Southeast, East, and North Section); PhilHealth Information TBD PhilHealth/ Technology Project; Manila Heritage and Urban Renewal Project; and North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) East Expressway.

Other projects are the FAB Barging Facility/ Port Project; Busuanga Airport Development Project; Clark Green City Food Processing Terminal; NIA Irrigation Project; and the Camarines Sur Expressway Project.

Of the projects, only the Nlex East Expressway has a description. The DPWH project aims to form an important transport access in the eastern area of Region 3. This will further spur economic development in said areas.

Once completed, the Nlex East Expressway will provide travelers with an alternate route in going to and from Cabanatuan City which connects to major roads leading to Region 2 and Cordillera Administrative Region.

The Nlex East Expressway project is a four-lane, 6.8-kilometer road that will run parallel to the Maharlika Highway (Pan Philippine Highway) starting off at La Mesa Parkway and/or junction of C-6 in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, passing through Norzagaray, Angat, San Ildefonso, San Miguel, Gapan, Santa Rosa, and ending at Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija.

The project will be implemented in two phases and bridges will also be constructed to cross the rivers of Angat, Panaranda and Pampanga.

It will serve the growing areas of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija provinces. The project starts at Don Mariano Marcos Avenue in Quezon City, traverses almost parallel to Daang Maharlika, serving the areas of San Miguel, Gapan and Cabanatuan City.

The PPP Center was created through Executive Order 8 Series of 2010 and mandated to facilitate the implementation of the country’s PPP program and projects.

It provides technical assistance to national government agencies, government-owned and -controlled corporations, state universities and colleges, and local government agencies, as well as to the private sector to help develop and implement critical infrastructure and other development projects.

The PPP program of the Aquino administration is a primary strategy for national development aimed at accelerating infrastructure and other development services, in order to sustain national economic growth.


Transfer of PAF facilities to cost MCIAA P800M

Sun Star Cebu, 15 April 2014

By Elias O. Baquero


THE Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) will construct 17 facilities for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) before the GMR-Megawide consortium will start constructing a new passenger terminal.

The new facilities will cost some P800 million.

MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete said PAF owns at least 17 facilities located within the MCIAA property and these are included in the airport services modernization.

“These Air Force facilities shall be transferred because we are building a new terminal,” Villarete said, adding that the project is now with the MCIAA’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) pursuant to Republic Act 9184.

The area where the 17 facilities are located and will be vacated by PAF is part of the 90 hectares whose ownership was transferred to MCIAA when it became an authority in 1991.

PAF still has 153 hectares in the adjacent Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base.

A letter signed anonymously had been sent to Villarete and the media, criticizing the BAC for alleged irregularities in the bidding of the project.

Villarete said this is still subject for verification.

“Once it will be elevated to the procurement entity, which is the Board of Directors, that’s the time that we will officially take our action on the allegations that we have heard,” Villarete said.

“Again, all of these things should be done in its proper time and proper procedure,” Villarete said.

The relocation of PAF facilities was supposed to be done in 2005 yet when then MCIAA general manager Adelberto Yap and then PAF chief Lt. Gen. Jose Reyes signed an agreement to that effect.

In that agreement, PAF will accept “goodwill money” in the amount of P60 million from MCIAA. In return, PAF will demolish its facilities within the MCIAA property and reconstruct it in remaining area of the air base.


Skyway columns to rise along Osmeña Highway

Manila Bulletin, 15 April 2014

By Anjo Perez


Citra Central Expressway Corporation, the project proponent of the 14.8-km Skyway Stage 3 extension project, divulged yesterday that work on the initial phase of the construction of bored piles that form the foundation of the Skyway superstructure is right on schedule.

As vehicular traffic along Osmeña Highway, especially between P. Ocampo St. and Arellano Ave. in Manila, continues to be manageable, Team Skyway Stage 3 also continues to undertake Stage 3 advance work according to schedule.

By last Monday, 37 bored piles that form part of the foundation for the Skyway superstructure have been installed.

The bored pile work is followed by the installation of pile caps after which the columns are erected.

To date, the 10 columns for the 90-day advance work schedule will be erected by May 16, 2014.

Advance work is part of the construction of Section 1 – Buendia to Plaza Dilao/Quirino Ave. Other sections are: Section 2 – Plaza Dilao-Aurora Blvd.;

Section 3 – Aurora Blvd-Quezon Ave/Del Monte Ave.; and Section 4 – Quezon Ave.-Bonifacio Ave. /Balintawak.

Skyway Stage 3 is the 14.8-km. 2×3 elevated toll way with eight access points in strategic locations that will connect South Luzon Expressway with North Luzon Expressway from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City.

The project aims to decongest traffic in Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares like EDSA, C5 and Central Manila.


Developing the fastest-growing, unbeatable economy

Business Mirror, 14 April 2014

By Manny B. Villar


NEARLY four years ago, time might have been the least of worries of the government’s economic managers. After all, a lot of things could be accomplished in six years.

Today, with about two years left, they no longer have the luxury of time. It is time to make a quick review of what has been done and prepare a list of projects that can be completed at the shortest possible time on or before June 2016.

Actually, the deadline should have been set months earlier because we cannot do everything in the next two years, considering the ban on public- works projects during the coming national elections.

Even the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been revised downward, as far as these apply to the Philippines, under the updated Philippine Development Plan.

Every agency or department of the government would want to complete its own projects. Taking into account limited resources and time, priority should go to projects with the greatest positive impact on the economy which can be completed before the administration bows out of office.

My vote goes to tourism-related infrastructure projects, specifically, airport improvement or expansion projects. These projects can be completed in the short time left remaining for the administration. Also, international airports will help develop tourism to become the third leg of growth for the Philippines economy.

We already have two legs: the growing inflow of remittances from overseas Filipino workers and the business- process outsourcing industry. These two legs both generate precious foreign exchange, which shields our economy from the impact of slowdown in exports and capital flight from emerging economies.

Tourism is also a dollar earner, in addition to being an employment generator—from construction to operation—and from businesses spawned by tourism.

The Philippines is already the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia, but that’s mainly because of domestic consumption, which does not create enough jobs to fill demand. What we have is, as economists put it, “jobless growth.”

With tourism, we can have a three-legged, dollar-generating and job-creating growth. We will be the fastest-growing economy in the region, and we will be unbeatable. Growth will be sustainable and inclusive.

Unfortunately, we still lag behind our neighbors in tourism. Even Thailand continues to attract a lot more visitors despite the floods a few years ago and the political crisis that started last year. Data published online by the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C., show that tourist arrivals in Thailand reached 26.7 million in 2013, nearly 20 percent higher than the number of visitors in 2013. This year the Tourism Authority of Thailand expects arrivals to top 28 million.

Tourist arrivals in the Philippines totaled 4.68 million in 2013, up 9.6 percent from 4.27 million in 2012, according to the Department of Tourism. The figure fell short of the target 5 million visitors and raised doubts about the 10 million target for 2016.

Still, the tourism sector generated $4.4 billion in revenues last year, equivalent to P186.15 billion, and reflecting a 15-percent increase from the previous year. Imagine the amount of foreign exchange that tourism would generate if we attracted even half the number of visitors in Thailand.

The Philippines, as I have said many times before, is no less beautiful than Thailand or any of our neighbors. Boracay alone is a gem. It has been recognized as one of the most beautiful beach resorts in the world.

But we need to bring the tourists from all over the world to Boracay and our many other destinations. The removal of the Philippines from the restricted list of the United States is a big opportunity for us to attract more visitors from the US.

The US Federal Aviation Administration upgraded the Philippines’s aviation security rating to Category 1 status on April 10. The European Union made the same move last year, which allowed the Philippine Airlines (PAL) to resume flights between Manila and several European countries.

Under Category 1 status, PAL will be able to increase flights and destinations in the US, which will also make travel to the Philippines more attractive to Americans. PAL already announced that it was ready to implement an expansion plan in the US, beginning with the deployment of its fleet of newly acquired Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to routes between Manila and the US. The airline currently operates a total of 26 weekly flights to the US, with frequencies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam.

To be continued


‘Govt spending may beat 2016 target’

The Manila Times, 14 April 2014

By Mayvelin U. Caraballo


The government may hit its goal of infrastructure spending equivalent to 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) earlier than the 2016 target under its revised five-year plan, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Monday.

Explaining the updated Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, NEDA Deputy Director General Emmanuel Esguerra said the plan involves stepping up infrastructure spending to sustain the country’s economic growth.

“In 2013, infrastructure spending was lower than 3 percent [of GDP] but as we go along, and as the various infrastructure projects come on stream, we expect that that should increase the spending,” Esguerra told reporters.

“It is possible to reach that figure [5 percent of GDP] probably earlier than 2016 given the pace of construction that needs to be accelerated in light of the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda,” he added.

According to the updated Plan, infrastructure development will be accelerated to support rapid and sustained growth and promote inclusivity.

Private sector investment is expected to contribute to the 5 percent target on public infrastructure spending through public-private partnerships.

The Plan stated that infrastructure spending is necessary to catalyze development in key sectors such as agriculture, industry and services, information technology and business process management, as well as energy.

The provision of adequate infrastructure also addresses inequalities in opportunities, as the government will massively construct, rehabilitate and upgrade basic health care hospitals and facilities, close the student-classroom gap, provide water supply and sanitation facilities in rural and hard-to-reach areas, and provide housing units to over 500,000 households, it said.

To date, the government’s infrastructure spending has reached P23.8 billion, reflecting an increase of P7.4 billion or 45.1-percent from the P16.4 billion recorded in the same month last year.

The Department of Budget and Management attributed the surge primarily to disbursements related to reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts on areas affected by calamities last year, most notably Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Meanwhile, the NEDA said the purpose of the updated Plan is to make the necessary adjustments in policy, strategies, measures and programs based on updated information, and lessons learned during the first half of the Plan’s implementation since its launch in 2011.

“I wish to emphasize that the Updated Plan, as the country’s roadmap to inclusive growth and poverty reduction, is clearly linked with, and serves as guide for programming, budgeting, program implementation, monitoring, and even performance management,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan in a statement.

The salient updates to the Plan include the identification of poor and vulnerable provinces, as well as the refocusing of strategic interventions according to their needs and development potentials.

“The contents of the Plan are clearly reflected in various documents and initiatives of the government,” Balisacan added.


NEDA Board confirms 12 new projects worth P67 billion

Business Mirror, 14 April 2014

By Cai Ordinario


The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board has confirmed 12 new projects with a total estimated cost of P67.07 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will implement six of the projects worth P38.15 billion. Three of these projects are in the National Capital region (NCR), one each in the Bicol region and Eastern Visayas, and one for nationwide implementation.

The three DOTC projects to be implemented in the NCR are the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 East Extension project; Mass Rail Transit 3 Capacity Expansion Project, which involves the acquisition of 52 light- rail vehicles; and the LRT Line 1 North Extension Project-Common Station project.

The other three DOTC projects are the Bicol International Airport Project in Daraga, Albay; the Tacloban Airport Redevelopment Project; and the Land Transportation Office-(LTO) Infrastructure and Information System (LTO-IIS) Project/DOTC-LTO.

The Department of Agriculture will be the implementing agency for three projects worth P15.61 billion that were confirmed by the Neda Board in the January-to-March period.

The three projects are the Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project-Irrigation Component Phase in Central Luzon; the Umayam River Irrigation Project in Caraga; and the Malitubog- Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase 2 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Soccsksargen.

The three other projects that were approved by the Neda Board in the first quarter are the Department of Public Works and Highways’ P5-billion Flood Control Projects; the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s P5.72-billion Strengthening of Angat Dam and Dike Project; and the National Power Corp.’s P2.6-billion Agus 6 Hydroelectric Power Plant (Units 1 and 2) Upgrading Project.

The powers and functions of the Neda reside in the Neda Board. It is the country’s premier social and economic development planning and policy-coordinating body.

The board is composed of the President as chairman, the Socio-Economic Planning secretary and Neda director general as vice chairman, and the following as members: the executive secretary and the secretaries of Finance, Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Public Works and Highways, Budget and Management, Labor and Employment, and Interior and Local Government.


ITS terminal bidding pushed back May 15

Business Mirror, 14 April 2014

By Lorenz Marasigan


AUCTION for the P2.2-billion Integrated Terminal System Southwest Terminal public-private partnership project has been pushed back by a month to allow bidders to finalize their tenders for the contract.

Transportation Undersecretary for Legal and Procurement Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla said in a bid bulletin that the bid submission date, originally set on May 15, for the multibillion-peso deal was moved to June 16, 1 p.m. at the agency’s headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

This is “in order to give ample time for the bidders to prepare for a competitive tender,” Lotilla said.

Twelve firms are participating in the bidding for the contract to develop a facility to connect passengers coming from Cavite to Metro Manila transportation systems, such as the Light Rail Transit Line 1, city buses, taxis and other public utility vehicles.

The interested parties are: D.M. Wenceslao and Associates Inc., Ayala Land Inc., Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., San Miguel Corp., Vicente T. Lao Construction, Egis Projects Philippines, Robinsons Land Corp., Filinvest Land Inc., Megawide Construction Corp., States Properties Corp. and Expedition Construction Corp.

The single-stage auction is open to both local and foreign groups that, among others, should have completed a development project with a cumulative cost of P2 billion or a cumulative capacity of 300 parking bays in the last 10 years.

The project will include a passenger terminal building, arrival and departure bays, public information systems, ticketing and baggage handling facilities and park-ride facilities.

Based on a tentative timeline, the winning concessionaire will receive the notice of award by July and signing of the concession agreement is set on September this year.

The winning bidder could start the construction of the project by October this year and the terminal should be operational by May 2016.