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THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board on Tuesday added 23 new projects to the list of infrastructure flagship projects (IFPs), but it delisted 36 projects.

The Marcos administration’s flagship infrastructure program now stands at 185 projects worth P9.14 trillion from 198 projects amounting to P8.8 trillion previously.

NEDA Secretary and NEDA Board Vice Chair Arsenio M. Balisacan, said the decision reflects the government’s aim to prioritize and accelerate the implementation of “crucial” infrastructure projects.

“Our list of IFPs under the Build-Better-More Program serves as a prioritization tool to identify high-impact infrastructure projects that require immediate government support,” he said in a statement.

“By rationalizing the list, we ensure the implementation of as many important infrastructure projects of high significance as possible.”

As of press time, NEDA has yet to release the updated IFP list that includes the 23 new projects. It also did not identify the 36 projects that were removed.

Mr. Balisacan, however, said that “certain” delisted projects will still be implemented since they are already part of the regular government programs.

IFPs refer to major infrastructure projects that have been prioritized by the government for implementation. These projects cover various sectors such as transportation, energy, water resources, and social infrastructure.

NEDA Undersecretary Joseph J. Capuno said that 74 IFPs were already being implemented as of the fourth quarter of 2023.

He said 30 IFPs were approved for implementation, 10 were awaiting government approval, and 83 were undergoing either project or pre-project preparation.

The Samar Pacific Coastal Road, a flagship project, was completed on June 30, 2023, and formally opened the following month.

NEDA said that 19 of the 74 ongoing IFPs are scheduled to be completed this year.

“We will continue to monitor, review, and update the list of IFPs as necessary to prioritize the most important infrastructure projects. The NEDA Board is committed to approving measures needed to expedite the implementation of the Build-Better-More Program,” Mr. Balisacan said.

Meanwhile, the NEDA Board approved changes to the scope of the Davao City Bypass Construction project, after reassessing the overall cost, its expanded scope, and post-pandemic market conditions.

“Consequently, the Board approved a supplemental loan of P14.6 billion for the project, as the total cost increased to P70.8 billion. The changes will also involve extending the implementation period until Dec. 31, 2027,” the NEDA said.

The Davao City Bypass Construction project is expected to cut the travel time between Davao City and Panabo City to 49 minutes from one hour and 44 minutes.

Mr. Balisacan said that while the NEDA Board approved the project in 2015, its implementation was delayed due to the pandemic.

“The changes in the project scope and cost will ensure that this key infrastructure project receives the necessary support for its successful completion,” he said.

The NEDA Board also confirmed the Integrated Water Resources Master Plan (IWMP), which will be led by the Water Resources Management Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The IWMP will serve as the comprehensive national policy for managing water resources in the country to ensure sufficient water supply amid the El Niño weather event, NEDA said.

According to Mr. Balisacan, the government will continue to prioritize infrastructure development to improve the lives of Filipinos.

“While significant policy reforms have already been put in place to address long-standing constraints to sustainable and resilient infrastructure, we recognize the need for further efforts to boost infrastructure investment and execution,” he said.

“Thus, we will closely monitor our infrastructure flagship projects to ensure they are completed and delivered on time,” he added. — Keisha B. Ta-asan

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