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Metro Manila's first bus rapid transit line approved

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The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday approved the Manila-Quezon Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system project estimated to cost around P4.8 billion.

The project aimed at decongesting traffic in Metro Manila involves the provision of a 12.3-kilometer segregated bus rapid transit from Quezon Memorial Circle to Manila City Hall, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a media briefing.

"The concept is, they are dedicated lanes for public buses in the middle section of the main road, in this case Quezon Avenue all the way up to Manila City Hall," Coloma explained.

The project will be funded through a loan from the World Bank and Agence Francaise de Développement, the official development assistance (ODA) organization of France.

In a text message, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, also a member of the board, said the NEDA approved only Line 1 of the BRT system project.

“EDSA BRT will be the second line but has yet to get NEDA board approval. We will immediately commence procurement of the detailed engineering design consultant,” Abaya said.

Other projects

Four other projects were approved in the NEDA Board meeting, including the approval of the results of the negotiations between the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the proponent of the connector road linking the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

“The NEDA Board gave its approval to the results of the negotiation so that they can proceed with the Swiss challenge,” said Coloma.

A project is subjected to a Swiss challenge when it is an unsolicited proposal, allowing any other bidder to challenge the proponent through a counter-proposal.

The project cost for the NLEX-SLEX connector road project is P23 billion.

Also given a green light is the request for an additional P20 million for the right-of-way and resettlement costs for the construction of regional prison facilities. The public-private partnership (PPP) project of the Department of Justice (DOJ) has a total project cost of P50.204 billion.

The major penitentiary facility in Nueva Ecija will have the capacity to accommodate 26,000 inmates, both men and women, said Coloma.

Another project approved is the Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System Phase 2, which involves the setting up of an integrated operational fisheries and marine environment monitoring center in the Philippines that is interregional and interconnected with the main center.

“This was required of us by the EU because there are EU countries that import significant amounts of fishery products from the Philippines,” Coloma said noting that some US$300 million worth of fishery products are exported by the Philippines to Europe every year.

The last project was the Harnessing of Agribusiness Opportunities Through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship, which will initially focus on the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or the envisioned Bangsamoro region, and will cost P11.426 billion.

The project aims to finance eligible investments of large agri-business enterprises, coops and farmers' organizations, and micro-small and medium enterprises in support of crop production, poultry and livestock, fish production, fishery development and agri-services. —KBK/JST, GMA News

Tags: neda
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