23 July 2012, Manila Bulletin

by Edu Lopez


MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) has approved two new transportation projects worth P48 billion.

The NEDA-ICC also approved four requests for cost adjustments and loan validity extension for four ongoing government projects.

Approved were the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project and the Bicol International Airport Project, aimed at improving transportation efficiency in Luzon.

The CALAX Project involves the financing, design and construction of a new four-lane expressway that stretches 47.018 kilometers from the end of Cavite Expressway in Kawit, Cavite to Mamplasan Interchange of the South Luzon Expressway in Biñan, Laguna.

“The project is consistent with the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016’s transport sector objective of providing dependable access to production areas such as Cavite and Laguna,  being rapidly growing industrial and commercial centers south of Metro Manila,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

The project is estimated to cost P43.319 billion and is proposed to be financed partly through public-private partnership (PPP) and Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Department of Public Works and Highways is the project’s proponent.

The Bicol International Airport project involves the construction of a new domestic – Principal Class 1 airport of international standards in Daraga, Albay to replace the existing Legazpi Airport due to the latter’s limitations and safety concerns.

“The project aims to improve safety and efficiency of aircraft operations through the construction of a new airport in Albay that meets international standards and practices and enhance the accessibility of tourism destinations in the Bicol Region,” Balisacan said.

The project is estimated to cost P4.799 billion that will be sourced from the Department of Transportation and Communication’s budget.

The ICC-CabCom also approved the restructuring of the bridge construction and replacement project, where the expanded project scope would entail additional works that will augment the total cost to P4.97 billion.

The project will have a supplementary loan of EUR21.25 million under the Spanish Export Credit facility from the Deutsche Bank S.A.E. The implementation period of the project will be extended from January 2012 to December 2015. “This increase in project cost is due to augmented construction costs, additional and supplemental works, among others. Moreover, there will be a modification in the list of bridges covered under the project,” said  Balisacan.

The ICC-CabCom also approved the change in scope, increase in cost and implementation extension of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD)-assisted Mindanao Roads Improvement Project (MRIP).

The MRIP’s change in scope is due to the expansion in civil works that will increase the cost to P3.91 billion. Also, implementation period will be moved from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014. In terms of financing, the project is partly funded by the SFD and the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget.

Other approved requests include the 24-month loan validity extension for the Laguindingan Airport Development Project (LADP) of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the extension and reallocation of Support for Strategic Local Development and Investment Project (SSLDIP) of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

The DOTC proposed to extend the Korean Export-Import Bank (KEXIM) loan for LADP to June 28, 2014 from June 28, 2012 and the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) counterpart to October 25, 2014 from October 25, 2012.

“Also, there will be re-allocation of loan proceeds such as contingencies to cover increase in cost in civil and building works, consulting services and service charge,” Balisacan said.

The project schedule was revised to accommodate activities for the air navigation component of the LADP for the completion of civil works. This component is targeted to be completed in September 2013 for the airport to be operational by December 2013.