The National Economic and Development Authority Board chaired by President Duterte approved P1 trillion in projects so far this year, with the rollout of up to a dozen infrastructure projects next year expected to create more jobs.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters yesterday that at least six projects would be implemented starting early next year. These are mainly big-ticket projects such as the Clark airport expansion; the Metro Manila subway; the north-south railway projects connecting Los Baños, Laguna, Tutuban, Manila and Clark free port; the 130-kilometer first phase of the Mindanao railway connecting Digos, Davao City and Tagum; Chico River dam; Kaliwa water supply, and the Cavite flood control project.
Pernia, who heads the National Economic and Development Authority, said the Neda Board had approved this year 20 projects—14 new and six existing projects with changes in scope or financing, bringing to 36 the total number of projects approved by the Duterte administration in its first 18 months in office.
Most of these projects will be financed through the national budget or official development assistance (ODA), he said.
Neda Assistant Secretary Jonathan L. Uy said the projects approved this year cost a total of P1 trillion, higher than the P400 billion total cost of the 17 projects approved last year.
Uy said they were planning to seek Neda Board approval for six more projects, including three new, and tweaks to three ongoing projects.
The three new projects include a peace and order project in a command center in Davao City to be funded by China; the purchase of helicopters for marine disaster response, and a bridge construction acceleration project, Uy said.
Pernia said that amid political instability in the Middle East, the government’s massive “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program was expected to generate more jobs that could absorb overseas Filipino workers who might be repatriated.
NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said the jobs requirement for the “Build, Build, Build” would be integrated in the portal Philjobnet to make them accessible to applicants.
Noting that the “flagship” infrastructure projects would be implemented 24/7, Pernia said jobs in construction, engineering and design would be in demand next year.
By: Ben O. de Vera