News Release

NEDA Board approves high-impact projects vital to PH’s social, economic transformation

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., approved on Thursday four high-impact projects, plans and policies crucial to the country’s social and economic transformation.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the NEDA Board confirmed during its 12th meeting the construction of a P67.4 billion 23-kilometer four-lane alternative route to bypass the existing Dalton Pass in Central Luzon, particularly during road closures due to calamities, which is expected to be completed by 2031.

The project, to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), will facilitate the seamless transport of people in the delivery of essential goods and services within the region.

Balisacan, who heads the NEDA, also said the Board confirmed the second phase of the masterplan and High Standard Highways, or HSH, Network Development of the DPWH, aimed at providing higher quality, high standard highway network for faster, safer, more comfortable, more reliable and an environmentally-friendly road transport.

This is expected to support the administration’s goal for a rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth in the country.

The masterplan has identified 53 class 1 projects that will be implemented in the short term, or projects to be completed by 2030; medium term, or those commencing in 2030 and to be completed by 2035; and long term, or projects commencing in 2035 and to be completed by 2045.

Also among those given a nod include the Board’s endorsement for the proposed executive order  extending until December 31, 2024 the reduced Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rates on selected commodities covered under Executive Order No. 10, series of 2022 including pork, corn and rice.

“The tariff rates for pork will remain at 15 percent in-quota and 25 percent out-quota; corn at 5 percent in-quota and 15 percent out-quota; and rice at 35 percent, for both in-quota and out-quota for the extended period,” Balisacan said.

“In addition, the NEDA Board also approved the recommendation of the Committee on Tariff-Related Matters to modify the review period for the tariff rate on coal from semestral to an annual basis,” he added.

Also according to the NEDA chief, the tariff rates on pork, corn and rice will be reviewed on a semestral basis with the proposed extension of the reduced tariffs could help ensure an adequate supply of agricultural commodities and maintain stable and affordable prices thereby better managing potential inflationary pressures.

“We’ll also be able to encourage alternative supply to diversify the country’s market sources and establish a forward-looking trade policy that will allow effective and timely response to back for possible supply and price shocks brought about by major challenges such as the worsening African Swine Fever, or ASF, anticipated impact of the El Niño phenomenon and continuous increases in commodity prices in the world market,” he said.

Lastly, the NEDA Board approved the eight-point action agenda of the Department of Health’s (DOH’s) medium-term strategy for the health sector from 2023 to 2028, aligned with the Philippine Development Plan and the Universal Health Care program.

This action agenda contains priority strategies for the health sector divided into three major parts dedicated for every Filipino, community and health worker as well as institution in the country.

“It takes into consideration the current health outcome, lessons that can help improve our health systems as exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling,” Balisacan pointed out.

Also during the meeting, the NEDA Board also received updates and previously approved PPP project: the University of the Philippines General Hospital or UP-PGH Cancer Center Public-Private Partnership Project; Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway Extension  Project; and, the solicited proposal to rehabilitate, operate, expand and transfer of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) PPP Project.

Also discussed were the upgrade, expansion, operation and maintenance of the Laguindingan International Airport; the Dialysis Center PPP Project for the Renal Center Facility of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center; and, the upgrade, expansion, operation and maintenance for the Bohol-Panglao International Airport.

The NEDA chief said the negotiations between the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the original proponents have commenced in November 2023 and the contract of award is expected to take place between August 2024 and May 2025.

“This year is all about laying the groundwork and establishing the foundation to achieve our development goals,” Balisacan said.

“As we conclude this year, we are committed to sustaining our efforts to place vital programs and projects that will enhance connectivity, generate high quality employment through investments and significantly improve the living standards for every Filipino,” he said. *PND*