THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board on Tuesday confirmed approvals of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Cebu and nine other infrastructure projects, Malacañang announced Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the BRT proposal was among the 10 projects approved by Neda Board during a meeting presided over by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Abella said the projects were approved sans the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is the chairperson of Neda Board.
"The Neda Board approved the confirmation of the ICC-CC (Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee) approval of the increase in cost of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit," Abella said shortly after the conduct of the meeting.
"In the absence of the President, the Neda Secretary (Pernia), as Neda Board vice chair, presided over the Neda Board meeting. Today's meeting was approved and authorized by the President, due to other concerns that came about today, allowing vice chair to proceed, and with quorum established despite work suspension," he added.
On August 11, the Neda ICC-CabCom approved the Cebu BRT project.
The BRT's project cost has ballooned to P16.9 billion from P10.6 billion approved by the Neda Board in 2014 because of a new road-right-of-way acquisition policy, which requires the government to offer market values for affected properties.
The project is envisioned to be a 23-kilometer BRT corridor (Bulacao-Ayala-Talamban) with segregated busways from Bulacao to Ayala and a link to Cebu’s South Road Property.
Apart from the Cebu BRT project, Abella said the Neda Board also approved the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) improvement of growth corridors in Mindanao, and Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridges construction project.
Abella said the 18-month validity extension of Asian Development Bank Loan for Improvement and Institutional Development Project; Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase 1); the Philippine National Railways-South Long Haul Commuter Line Projects; and the Lower Agno Irrigation System Improvement Project were also approved by Neda Board.
The three other approved projects were the change in the mode of implementation for the Clark International Airport Expansion Project; Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility; and Chico River Pump Irrigation Project.
Meanwhile, Abella said the Neda Board deferred the approval of the Implementation Plan for the New Centennial Water Source – Kaliwa Dam Project and the discussion on the UMALPAS Housing Cooperative’s Medium Rise Building Project. (SunStar Philippines)