Two projects dropped, 13 added under revised priority infrastructure list

THE government has revised its list of flagship infrastructure projects to prioritize projects that are implementation-ready during the current administration. — JCOMP-FREEPIK

THE GOVERNMENT dropped two infrastructure projects worth P38 billion and added 13 new ones worth P523 billion under the revised list of the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects, data from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) showed.

The two projects removed from the revised list approved on May 12 were the P33.98-billion ICT Capability Development and Management Program and the P4.27-billion Bohol Northeast Basin Multipurpose Dam Project.

Meanwhile, 13 projects worth P523.1 billion were added to the list, including a road, a bridge, ports, flood management projects, earthquake-proofing and digital infrastructure, and other initiatives meant to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The government has revised its list of flagship infrastructure projects several times since late 2019 to prioritize projects that are implementation-ready during the current administration.

The flagship list, which is a sub-list of priority projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program, now has a total cost of P4.687 trillion with 112 projects, with 29 projects targeted to be completed before the administration ends its term next year. Meanwhile, 51 are ongoing and 28 are in the pipeline. Four were already completed.

Among the 13 new projects, the P175.66-billion Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge was added back to the list after being scrapped in the previous update.

The P177.86-billion Laguna Lakeshore Road Network Project and the program for Digital Transformation Centers worth P33.98 billion were also added.

Two COVID-19-related infrastructure projects were also included in the latest list: the P21.35-billion Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 Project and the P20.1-billion Philippines COVID-19 Emergency Response Project.

There were also three projects for flood control: the P23.5-billion first phase of the Metro Manila Flood Management Project; the P8.55-billion flood risk management project for the Cagayan De Oro river; and the P7.5-billion flood control project for the Cagayan, Tagoloan and Imus rivers.

The P15.1-billion Philippines Seismic Risk Reduction and Resilience Project, as well as the P4.5-billion project for the University of the Philippines–Philippine General Hospital Cancer Center were also added to the list.

Lastly, three ports were included as priority projects: Davao Sasa Port (P19.9 billion), Iloilo Port (P9.92 billion) and General Santos Port (P5.2 billion).

Majority or 54 out of the 112 projects in the priority list with a combined estimated cost of P2.612 trillion will be funded purely by foreign aid, while 20 projects worth P1.504 trillion were unsolicited public-private partnership projects (PPP).

Meanwhile, 25 projects worth P186.24 billion will be funded by the government via its spending program, and the rest have mixed funding of PPP, official development assistance or the national budget.

The government aims to disburse P1.02 trillion for infrastructure this year.

State spending on infrastructure rose by 45% to P58.2 billion in April from a year earlier. In the first four months, these expenses rose by 29% to P253.4 billion. — B.M. Laforga