(UPDATE) PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has approved the P170-billion solicited public-private partnership (PPP) proposal to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Arsenio Balisacan said on Wednesday.

Marcos, who chairs the NEDA Board, gave the nod for the project during a meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday morning.

Balisacan said the project, which will have a total cost of P170.6 billion, is expected “to address longstanding issues at NAIA such as the inadequate capacity of passenger terminal buildings and restricted aircraft movement.”

He said the project aims to increase the current airport capacity from 35 million passengers to at least 62 million passengers per year and increase air traffic movement from 40 to 48 per hour.

“The project is also expected to improve the overall passenger experience and service quality to prevent long queues, lengthy waiting times, and other passenger inconveniences,” Balisacan told reporters.

“We expect to have the winning bidder within the year, so as early as next year, we can have the project started,” he added.

Balisacan said the project, under the Department of Transportation and the Manila International Airport Authority, would involve private-sector funds.

The Manila International Airport Consortium (MIAC) said it understands the NEDA’s decision “to undergo a solicited bid process” for the NAIA rehabilitation project.

“The MIAC is one with the government in its infrastructure priorities and is aligned with the DoTr and NEDA’s commitment to the urgent task of revitalizing NAIA given its importance as the country’s main international gateway,” the MIAC said in a statement.

“Regardless of the route, we believe that NAIA’s modernization requires a long-term and comprehensive solution delivered by a credible and capable party at the quickest possible time. These criteria — regardless of the approach — would best benefit NAIA and the Filipino people,” he added.

Meanwhile, the President also approved the P7.48-billion Samar Pacific Coastal Road 2 project and the P12.75-billion Laguindingan international airport project.

“The NEDA board also confirmed the proposed adoption of a national policy and infrastructure sector master plans. The policy aims to harmonize and rationalize the formulation of master plans for the infra sector across the government,” Balisacan said.

The Samar Pacific Coastal Road 2 Project involves the construction of two marine bridges, the Laoang 2 Bridge and the Calomotan Bridge, as well as the improvement of existing roads between Laoang Island and mainland Samar Island. The 15-kilometer infrastructure development is expected to improve connectivity in the region and promote economic growth.

On the other hand, the Unsolicited Proposal for the Upgrade, Expansion, Operation, and Maintenance of the Laguindingan International Airport Project focuses on integrating sustainable and digitally advanced features into the design and operation of the Laguindingan International Airport in Misamis Oriental.

The project, which will be under the PPP, aims to enhance regional development, promote tourism, and provide a better travel experience for passengers.

In addition to the new projects, the NEDA Board also approved changes in scope, cost, design, and/or loan validity for four ongoing infrastructure projects.

This included the Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, or IDRR-CCA Measures in Low-Lying Areas of Pampanga Bay Project; the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Stage 2 project; the Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Stage 2 or MMIP 2; and the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project.

Balisacan also confirmed the Proposed Adoption of a National Policy on Infrastructure Sector Master Plans, which aims to harmonize and rationalize the formulation of master plans for the infrastructure sector.

This policy will ensure the coordination, synergy and responsiveness of the sector to emerging issues.

An executive order will be issued to strengthen the implementation of this policy nationwide, Balisacan said.