Infra to pump prime PH economy

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and other officials inspect one of the major ticket projects in 2017

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and other officials inspect one of the major ticket projects of 2017 – PDI File Photo

The “Build, Build, Build” initiative is getting back on track, with the government spending a record P1.02 trillion this year and P1.25 trillion next year on infrastructure projects under its main program.

The existing pipeline of projects is designed to maintain momentum with robust infrastructure spending, which is seen as helping the economy recover from a pandemic-induced recession. Also included in this lineup are infrastructure projects that reflect needs in the new normal, such as healthcare facilities and information technology.

Currently, 11 of the 112 flagship projects have already been completed, while a further 29 major ticketing projects worth around P238.5 billion would be completed by the time President Duterte resigns from office in 2022.

The Duterte administration can only hope that the next leader will continue his highly acclaimed infrastructure program, which promises to transform Metro Manila into a more efficient and functional metropolis and usher in a golden age of infrastructure.

Here are some of the biggest, most ambitious and necessary infrastructure projects on the way.

1 The P735.7 billion New Manila International Airport in Bulacan will be funded by the San Miguel Corp. conglomerate. (SMC) through public-private partnership (PPP). It will rise in a 2,500-acre property in Bulakan, Bulacan and will have sufficient capacity to serve at least 100 million passengers annually or three times the size of the NAIA. Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said on June 18, 2021, that he “without a doubt” had SMC a groundbreaking event to formally launch the airport project within the next two months.

Proposed design of Bulacan Airport

Proposed Bulacan Airport Design Study – Contributed Photo

2 The North-South Commuter Railway (NCSR) Extension aims to integrate a three-way commuter train system that connects Metro Manila to the major provinces of Laguna, Pampanga and Bulacan.

The artist's sketch of the North-South commuter path

The artist’s sketch of the North-South commuter railway – Photo by DOTR, PIA

Of NCSR’s total project costs of P628 billion, P488 billion is co-financed by Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and the Manila-based multilateral lender Asian Development Bank (ADB). NSCR will eventually include 37 stations, 464 train cars in 26 cities and municipalities in Luzon. It can serve approx. 830,000 passengers daily when operational and has provisions for future expansion.

3 The P149.1 billion Philippine National Railway (PNR) North 1, a 38 km long line from Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan, is part of the NSCR system.

The segment, which began construction in February 2019, is expected to be partially operational in 2023 and will benefit 200,000 commuters from the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga who travel daily to Metro Manila.

4 The P175.3 billion PNR South Long Haul project is a planned 639-kilometer railway consisting of the following lines: 406 km Los Baños to Legazpi; 117 km Legazpi to Matnog; 36 miles Calamba to Batangas; and 58 km Manila to Los Baños.

It is said to benefit 100,000 passengers a day and will reduce travel time from Manila to Bicol from 12 hours by car to just six hours. It will be funded through China Official Development (ODA).

5 The P11 billion new Cebu International Container Port (NCICP), which will be built on a 25-hectare site in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion city in northern Cebu, gets its planned groundbreaking August 16 this year after years of delay.

The artist's rendering of the New Cebu International Container Port

The artist’s rendering of the New Cebu International Container Port – Photo by CPA

NCICP’s design includes a docking facility with a 500 meter long quay wall that can accommodate two 2,000 twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) ships at the same time; operating facilities and structures for containers; an access road and bridge; and a deepened waterway and turning basin.

Once the NCICP is completed, it will serve international cargo, while the current Cebu International Port will be transformed into a domestic port, enabling the Cebu Port Authority to tackle the problem of interruption in domestic operations. The source of funding is through Korea’s ODA.

6 Described by former socio-economic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia as the “project of the century for the Philippines”, the P356.9 billion Metro Manila project phase is designed to accommodate 1.5 million passengers daily by 2026.

One of the Japan-made tunnel boring machines

One of the Japan-made tunnel boring machines for the metro project – Photo from DOTr

Ranging from Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay, the Japanese-funded metro aims to reduce travel time to 40 minutes.

The first of the six Japan-made tunnel boring machines that will be used to dig underground and lay tunnels to the subway arrived in February this year. This followed the signing of a contract in December by the government with two Japanese companies for the commissioning of 240 train cars.

7 Another Japanese-funded railway project is the P21,97 billion rehabilitation of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), which started in May 2019. The rehab and maintenance work will revise the railway’s 72 aging cars, replace all mainline tracks, upgrade signal and communication systems and straight escalators and elevators.

The project has reached significant milestones within the past year, when a record 23 trains were on the main line in January, up from the usual 10 to 15 running trains before the rehabilitation started. MRT-3 also started running twice as fast as its usual speed at 60 km per hour in December, which was last achieved in 2013.

8 The extension of the 20.7 kilometer light rail transit line 1 (LRT-1) from its current station at Baclaran in Pasay City to a new station at Bacoor City, Cavite Province, is seen to benefit up to 800,000 passengers a day.

The first batch of train carriages for the LRT-1 Cavite extension

The first group of train carriages for the extension LRT-1 Cavite arrived in January. – Photo from DOTr

The P64.9 billion railway project, which is 57.9 per cent completed in February this year, is expected to partially open at the end of 2021. It will provide an alternative and convenient mode of transportation that takes commuters between Baclaran and Bacoor. in just 25 minutes from the usual one hour ride.

In January this year, the first eight of the total of 120 train cars for the project arrived in the country from Spain and Mexico.

9 The P23.3 billion connecting road is the second elevated highway after Skyway Stage 3, which connects the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) in Metro Manila.

Set to be completed in 2022, the 8-kilometer highway from the C3 to the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 in Sta. Mesa, Manila, reduces travel time between NLEx and SLEx to just 20 minutes. The first part of the project in the Manila and Caloocan areas is 35 percent complete in May this year.

10 It is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and the flood risk management project led by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency will benefit vulnerable communities affected by floods in the provinces of Cagayan, Misamis Oriental and Cavite.

It involves the construction of dikes, drainage locks and delayed basins to mitigate damage caused by flooding in core areas of the river systems of Cagayan, Tagoloan and Imus. Last year, Cagayan, a natural fishing basin, was submerged in the worst flooding to hit the valley in 40 years due to a typhoon attack.

Sources: Query Archive,,,,,,

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