By Joann Santiago
MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) — The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board on Wednesday approved Php 17.9-billion worth of new projects.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a briefing, identified these projects as the Php 4.8 billion Manila-Quezon Avenue Bus Rapid Transit, the Php 1.675-billion Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System-Phase 2, and the Php 11.426-billion Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities Through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship.
Specifically, the bus rapid transit project, which will be implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), involves the allocation of a 12.3-kilometer lane for public buses from Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City to Manila City Hall.
The project will be funded by the World Bank (WB) and France’s Agence Francaise de Development.
The Phase 2 of the Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System, on the other hand, will result to the improvement and expansion of the PHILO Phase 1, which is being implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The project entails the integration of various database like fishing vessel registry, ocean and weather data, stock assessment data, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) records.
Coloma explained that the project’s second phase will result in the establishment of an integrated operational fisheries and marine environment monitoring center in the country that is connected both with the regional offices as well as the main center.
This project will be funded through a loan from the French government, he said.
The third project, meanwhile, will provide financing to large agribusiness enterprises, cooperatives and farmers’ organization; and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to ensure crop production, poultry/livestock production, and fish production/fishery development, agri-services.
It will be funded by the WB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
During the meeting Wednesday afternoon, which was attended by President Benigno Aquino III, the Board also approved the additional Php 20 million budget for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) regional prison facilities project in Nueva Ecija.
The project was initially given a Php 50.2 billion budget. It involves the construction of a penitentiary that could accommodate up to 26,000 men and women prisoners assigned to minimum and maximum security detention cells.
Coloma said the project is under a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative.
Also, the Board affirmed the completion of negotiations with the original proponent of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) connector road project, the Metro Pacific Tollways Development Cooperation.
The project, which is under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), was approved by the Board in November 2012.
It is aimed at connecting the two expressway through the construction of an eight kilometer, four-lane toll road priced at about Php 23 billion.
Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) submitted an unsolicited proposal for the project and NEDA’s Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) has approved a Swiss challenge for the project. (PNA)