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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Solon backs bid to expedite infra projects

A party-list legislator has backed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s plan to issue an executive order that would hasten the processing of licenses, permits and other requirements for infrastructure flagship projects (IFPs) to ensure the success of the administration’s “Build Better More” program.

Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan of Bicol Saro party-list group said the President’s imminent issuance of the directive would help expedite the implementation of the project to revive the Bicol Express, the once-famed Philippine National Railways (PNR) line that ran from Manila to Bicol.

The revival of the Bicol Express, or the South Long Haul Project, is among the infrastructure projects that the President has committed to implement as part of the BBM program.

“Among the foreseen issues in the revival of the Bicol Express is the long process of securing permits, clearances, licenses and other documentary requirements to get the project going. The soon-to-be issued EO by the President will certainly streamline all these once-tedious processes and shorten the timeline for the completion of the Bicol Express,” Yamsuan said.

He said that during the previous administration, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had cited the long permit application process that contractors had to undergo as among the causes of delays in the implementation of infrastructure projects.

“The Bicol Express was Southeast Asia’s oldest train service. Its rebirth has long been awaited by Bicolanos, who long for the day when the Bicol Express would again provide them more access to employment and educational opportunities,” Yamsuan said.

Yamsuan said the government may adopt a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode in implementing the project.

Last week, Secretary Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) confirmed that the NEDA Board, which is chaired by the President, has approved the issuance of an EO that would expedite the processing of permits and other documentary requirements for the infrastructure flagship projects.

Balisacan said the EO would require simplified requirements that will be applicable to both pending and new applications within the NEDA Board-approved list of IFPs, as well as any additions to the updated IFP list.



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