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Marcos Approves P9-T Signature Infrastructure Projects for Build Better More

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has approved 194 high-impact infrastructure flagship projects (IFPs) totaling PHP9 trillion.

In a meeting at Malacaan Palace with NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and other board members, Marcos, the NEDA Board’s chair, approved these projects.

In a news conference held at the Palace, Balisacan declared that 194 projects totaling around PHP9 trillion were included on the newly authorized list of infrastructure flagship projects.

According to Baliscan, of the 194 projects, 123 were started during the Marcos era, and the remaining 71 were started under the previous president Rodrigo R. Duterte.

“The reason they are included there is that it has previously been accepted, done so before, and it has been done so. In other words, they have already begun, thus we are unable to stop any of those projects, he explained.

These initiatives, according to Balisacan, would highlight the administration’s “Build Better More” infrastructure program, one of the objectives of the 8-Point Socioeconomic Plan.

He pointed out that the majority of these infrastructure flagship projects involve water resources, such as projects for irrigation, water supply, and flood control, as well as physical connectivity.

The list also covers infrastructure projects related to agriculture, power and energy, health, and digital connection.

The Panay Railway Project, Mindanao Railway Project III, North Long Haul Railway, San Mateo Railway, UP-PGH Diliman Project, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Rehabilitation Project, Ilocos Sur Transbasin Project, and Metro Cebu Expressway are a few of the new projects on the updated list, according to Balisacan.

According to Balisacan, the IFPs are thought to solve the impenetrable barriers to corporate expansion and investment that will lead to the creation of more high-quality and durable jobs.

IFPs will receive priority treatment when the government creates its yearly budget and will benefit from the faster issue of necessary permits and licenses in accordance with the law, he continued.

According to him, the initiatives would use the best possible combination of funding from the private sector, notably public-private partnerships, the national government, and general expenditures, as well as various development partners or official development assistance (ODA).

45 of the 194 initiatives, according to Balisacan, are thought to be financed through collaborations with the private sector.

“The government shall utilize the financial and technical resources of the private sector to enable the public sector to allocate its funds for greater investment in human capital development, particularly to address the scarring in health and education due to the pandemic, and provide targeted assistance that protects vulnerable sectors from economic shocks,” he said.

Guidelines for Joint Ventures

The 2013 NEDA Joint Venture Guidelines were also accepted by the NEDA Board, according to a separate announcement from Baliscan.

The modifications “seek to boost competition for projects under joint ventures, assure improved performance of private sector players, and improve check and balances to ensure that the project is technically and financially viable,” he said.

The proposed amendments, according to him, will also help ensure that the rules are in line with the provisions of the recently amended Build Operate Transfer (BOT) Law Implementing Rules and Regulations and the BOT Law or PPP Act, which is currently before Congress but is anticipated to be passed this year.

“There are several things we are tackling, starting with making joint ventures simpler. Once more, to guarantee that the joint ventures can function effectively, and swiftly, and will solve issues of public importance. So, the changes will require implementing elements that enhance the competitive selection processes for joint venture partners. In other words, the JVs were lawfully completed by or given in competition; they were not “lutong Macau” (rigged),” he continued.

Changing the economy

A “huge stride” toward the administration’s objective of improving the country’s competitiveness and marketing the Philippines as a top investment destination in the region, according to Baliscan, was made with the adoption of the revised IFP list and the modifications to the NEDA JV Guidelines.

Notwithstanding the fact that there is “much work to do” for the nation to catch up to its regional neighbors, Baliscan stated that pursuing high-impact initiatives will promote more domestic and international investment as well as private sector involvement in infrastructure development.

He declared: “We will connect and integrate markets to give access to additional opportunities for local enterprises, boost the productivity of our youthful and dynamic labor force, and build safer infrastructure for future generations.

The ultimate goal, he continued, is to raise everyone’s standard of living and give each citizen the tools they need to lead a matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay (stable, comfortable, and secure life).

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