NEDA Board OKs TPLEX extension project


National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan on Friday announced that the NEDA Board already approved the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway or TPLEX Extension Project.

Balisacan said the NEDA Board, chaired by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., convened and approved crucial projects and guidelines that will support the attainment of development goals, which are outlined in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.

"First, the NEDA Board has approved the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway or TPLEX Extension Project. In accordance with the Investment Coordination Committee guidelines, this is the fastest unsolicited proposal approval, from its submission on March 17, 2023 to the approval today, June 2, 2023," Balisacan said at a Palace briefing.

Balisacan said the 59.4-kilometer, four-lane extension highway would connect the Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, and Metro Manila.

"This is expected to stimulate economic activity, alleviate road congestion, provide better and safer road access, and promote the development of new growth centers in nearby regions," he said.

According to the NEDA chief, the TPLEX Extension Project will be implemented through a public-private partnership or PPP under the Department of Public Works and Highways.

He said the estimated cost of the highway project is P23.4 billion.

Asked about the timeline of the project, Balisacan said "the plan is to complete this project within the term of the administration."

Other projects


Further, Balisacan said the NEDA Board also confirmed the “Investment Coordination Committee or ICC Guidelines for LGU PPP Projects,” which outlines the guidelines and procedures for processing PPP proposals of local government units that require ICC action.

"The guidelines outline the role of the Regional Development Councils and other local development councils, particularly in ensuring that LGU projects are in line with national development plans," Balisacan said.

"Recognizing the vital role of LGUs in driving economic growth, the guidelines provide a streamlined process for LGUs to pursue PPP projects that require the action by the ICC," he added.

Balisacan also disclosed that the board has noted its earlier confirmation ad referendum of the ICC approval of the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project Scale-Up or PRDP Scale-Up.

This PRDP Scale-Up, which has an estimated cost of P45.01 billion, aims to build on the successes of the original PRDP, Balisacan said.

Balisacan also gave updates on the infrastructure flagship projects wherein, out of the 194 IFPs, 68 are currently ongoing, 25 have been approved for implementation, nine are awaiting government approval, and the remaining projects are either in the process of project preparation or pre-project preparation.

He said the IFPs have an estimated cost of P8.3 trillion. 

Balisacan said the 194 projects would have to be "either completed or largely completed during the term of this administration."

"Many of these or some of these will spill into the next administration just like all these previous other projects... so it has to be like that so that we can completely address the infrastructure deficits in the country," he said. —VAL/VBL, GMA Integrated News