Source:  Business World, 23 March 2012

TWELVE PROJECTS that include a public-private partnership (PPP) deal pushed by the Transportation department have been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board chaired by President Benigno S. C. Aquino III.

“Twelve projects were approved; one was remanded for more details,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga, Jr. said in a phone interview yesterday.

The 12 projects have a combined worth of P133 billion, the NEDA said in a statement listing the approvals. The list includes the P60-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) South Extension Project, which Transportation Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II last month said could be bid out by the end of March or early April.

Mr. Aquino highlighted the LRT-1 project, which involves extending the railway to Cavite, in a speech before employees of his office, saying it would cater to the growing CALABARZON community.

Mahaba hong talakayan yan po, dahil mura lang po yung project, P60 billion (There was an involved discussion because the project is quite cheap, P60 billion),” Mr. Aquino joked.

He explained that projects were scrutinized in terms of costs and benefits, adding that more proposals will be discussed next month.

In addition to the LRT-1 project, the others approved by the NEDA board are:

• an electric tricycle project of the Energy department;

• the Agus VI Hydroelectric Power Plant Uprating Project of the National Power Corporation;

• Land Transportation Office Infrastructure and Information System project of the Transportation department;

• Jalaur River Multipurpose Irrigation Project Phase II of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA);

• Umayam River Irrigation Project of the NIA;

• Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project, also under the NIA;

• Umiray Bridge Construction Project of the Agrarian Reform department;

• Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Program of the Environment Department;

• Baler-Casiguran Road Improvement Project of the Public Works department;

• a Pampanga Bay integrated disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation project under the Public Works and Education departments; and

• the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project, also under the Public Works department.