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Flood control tops nine projects okayed by Noy

Written by  Fernan J. Angeles
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 00:00 [ tribune.net.ph ]

President Aquino has approved nine of the 11 flagship projects presented by the National Economic Development Administration (Neda) in a board meeting presided over by the President himself in Malacañang.

At a press briefing, Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said the approval of the nine flagship projects translates to the fulfillment of the administration’s commitment to deliver progress through good governance.

Topping the list of the Neda board-approved projects include the Department of Public Works and Highways (DSWD)-proposal on the Master Plan for the Flood Management System.

Simultaneous with its approval is a P5-billion initial allocation even as Carandang claimed that the multi-agency project would put an end to the perennial problem on floods.

Sought for details as to when the project would be rendered as operational, Carandang said that the masterplan alone would take about four to five years while the project proper has a timetable expecting completion by 2035.

Other major projects approved in the Aquino-presided meeting with government economic experts included the extension of Line 2 of the Light Railway Transit’s route which would be made to reach as far as Antipolo City in Rizal.

Part of the approved program on the LRT Line 2 project is the acquisition of additional trains.

“We have also approved the Light Rail Transit Line 2 East Extension — the one that goes through Cainta to Masinag — that has been approved by the Neda Board. The MRT 3 capacity extension to add more cars to increase capacity in different ways. That was approved,” Carandang told reporters.

Likewise, considered as high-impact is the approval of the flagship project on the Bicol International (Airport) Project in Daraga, Albay, the Panglao Airport Project, the retrofitting/strengthening of Angat Dam, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s dike project, and Psalm’s request for financing of the Agus hydroelectric power plant.

Moreover, the Neda board also approved the construction of several bridges damaged or rendered useless by the wear and tear, calamities and factors falling under the category referred to as “man-made.”

“Many of these bridges have to do with the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas — bridges that were damaged. We have approved the acceleration of the timetable for that. So there are a number of national bridges throughout the country that was also approved. The package of bridges was approved by the Neda Board today,” Carandang said.

Also approved were changes in the scope and cost, components for Mindanao road improvement projects requiring funds to defray the cost of repairs.

Most of the funds, Carandang added, would be used in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Asked which among the approved projects tops the priority of the administration, Carandang claims all nine are deemed as crucial by the President.

However, he said the flood control seemed to have the biggest impact.

“I think of most interesting is the flood control. As I was telling you before, Secretary (Rogelio) Singson has been working on this for over a year and we’ve talked to the public about it during the last storm and it’s a project that clearly has a need. So just to show you the urgency of how we have viewed this project, we already approved the initial five billion (pesos) for this project,” he added.

Other projects presented to the President but were deferred are the Cavite-Laguna expressway project, which still requires some details seen in defining aspects that would qualify the project with the national road integration and that of the acquisition of vehicles for the Philippine Coast Guard — specifically patrol boats.

“There were some technical questions that needed to be addressed before we could get approval. In principle we understand the need for more patrol vessels but there are certain technical requirements that needed to be clarified before we could approve them so that has been deferred,” Carandang said.
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