In the presence of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board has approved six infrastructure projects spanning the entire archipelago and includes expressways, bridges our extremely outdated train system.

“Most of these projects aim to have a more reliable and efficient transport infrastructure system. These are consistent with the government’s thrust to increase investment in connective infrastructure,” said NEDA Director-General and Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

The approved projects are as follows:

The Panguil Bay Bridge connecting the City of Tangub in Misamis Occidental and the Municipality of Tubod in Lanao del Norte, which is considered high priority in the region.  It will turn the 2.5-hour travel time on the 100-kilometer road between Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental and Tubod, Lanao del Norte to only 37 minutes.  Project cost is PhP5.09 billion and will start 2015 until 2018.

Two projects come under the North-South Railway master plan.  Phase 1 is the construction of a 36.7-kilometer narrow-gauge elevated commuter railway from Malolos to Tutuban.  Estimated cost is PhP117.30 billion and targeted to be implemented from 2015 with a 35-year operation period starting 2020.  Phase 2 is the South Line which connects  Tutuban and Legaspi, Albay and on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and an extension between Legaspi and Matnog.  Total estimated cost of P170.70 billion.

The fourth is the expansion of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) into a four lane expressway.  Full project cost is P24.303 billion, 2 billion of which will come from the government.

Fifth is the 13.4 kilometer 4-lane elevated NLEX-SLEX Connector Project of the DPWH which is estimated to cost Php20 billion.

The sixth project is the rebidding of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway Project of the DPWH.  The bidding opens up at P20.105 billion with a project cost of PhP35.4 billion.  The 47.018-kilometer project with 9 interchanges and starts from Kawit, Cavite and ends at SLEX-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna.

“These projects will support the government’s goal of increasing infrastructure spending to at least 5.1 percent in 2016. We hope that they will be implemented efficiently and effectively,” added Balisacan.