Business World, 03 December 2013

By K.M.P. Tubadeza


PRESIDENT Benigno S. C. Aquino III wants several infrastructure projects completed before the end of his term.

Asked during a forum in Pasay City yesterday what he wants to see a day before his term ends, the President said: “The attitude of the people, from being apathetic to really being involved, and we’re seeing that now. But in terms of concrete manifestations of the same, maybe Terminal 1 [of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA], I think, will be finished — the refurbishing by that time.”

“Hopefully, NLEx (North Luzon Expressway) and SLEx (South Luzon Expressway) — the connector will also be up and running by that time, and the TPLEx (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La-Union Expressway),” Mr. Aquino said.

“More importantly is the airports will be substantially finished… Panglao, Mactan, and so many others,” he also said, adding that he also hoped for “at least the start of the light rail systems.”

The P1.64-billion NAIA Terminal 1 rehabilitation project entails repairing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems, as well as retrofitting the overall structure of an airport some critics have dubbed the world’s worst.

The Transportation department has moved the bidding for the project to this month. It was originally scheduled for Nov. 15.

The first phase of the P23.8-billion TPLEx was partially opened Oct. 30. It is a 17-kilometer road stretching from Tarlac City to Gerona in Tarlac province. It is expected to cut travel time between Manila and Baguio to two to three hours from six.

The P4.63-billion construction of a new airport in Panglao, Bohol is to replace the existing Tagbilaran Airport. The project is up for auction to Japanese contractors, according to a bulletin from the Transportation department last month.

Meanwhile, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport New Passenger Terminal project is being offered under the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program. The Transportation department is currently evaluating the technical proposals submitted by seven bidders.

Light rail projects in the government’s pipeline include the P64.9-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension, the P62.7-billion Metro Rail Transit 7 Project, and the LRT-1 North Extension.