Metro Manila subway plan, other projects OKd at Neda meeting

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The National Economic Development Authority (Neda) Board on Tuesday, Sept. 12, approved 12 projects, including the Metro Manila Subway Project.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Neda Board met although government offices in Manila were closed due to Tropical Depression “Maring” and President Duterte was in Davao.

He added that Neda Secretary Ernesto Pernia presided over the board meeting in the absence of the President.

“(The) meeting was approved and authorized by the President, (who was absent) due to other concerns that came about (yesterday), allowing Vice Chair to proceed, and with quorum established despite work suspension,” Abella said in a statement.

Abella said the Neda boardapproved the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project.

Pernia earlier disclosed that the price tag of the National Capital Region’s first subway project could increase from $4.4 billion to $7 billion due to the addition of a spur line from FTI to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The initial plan was to connect Quezon City and Taguig but the spur line “will surely make the plane-riding public happy,” Pernia said.

He said the timetable for the project was still being determined but the Department of Transportation wanted it finished by 2022.

The other projects approved by the Neda board were the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) improvement of Growth Corridors in Mindanao; DPWH’s Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridges construction project; the 18 month validity extension of the Asian Development Bank Loan for Improvement and Institutional Development Project.

The board also gave its nod to the Philippine National Railway’s P151 billion South Long Haul (Calamba to Bicol) and P134 billion South Commuter Line (Tutuban to Los Baños) line projects; the increase in cost of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System, the Lower Agno Irrigation System Improvement Project.

The change in mode of implementation for the Clark International Airport Expansion Project; the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project subject to the inclusion of Department of Finance in the Project Management Team and the regular monitoring of Neda; and “noted” the Board ‘s ad referendum of the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility.

On the other hand, the Neda board deferred its approval of the Implementation Plan for the New Centennial Water Source - Kaliwa Dam Project, and deferred discussion on the UMALPAS Housing Cooperative’s Medium Rise Building Project. -