Incuded on these are the three projects of Php 170.7 billion worth North-South Railway Project (NSRP) –South Line, the Bicol International Airport (BIA) amounting to Php 4.79 billion, and the Inclusive Partnership for Agricultural Competitiveness (IPAC) worth Php 10.15 billion.
Though the project’s funding is still subject for final approval by the NEDA Board, with President Rodrigo Duterte as chairman, the NEDA-ICC’s recommendation of these projects was a much welcome news in Albay as all three projects would be located in the province.
The NSRP-South Line, which was approved after extensive project modifications, is designed to be a 653-kilometer railway system from Tutuban in Manila to Legazpi City in Albay, and eventually until Matnog in Sorsogon. The railway transport is expected to provide a faster and more efficient means of shipping and commute.
The BIA, on the other hand, is expected to open the flood gates of the Bicol region in terms of international tourism, given that Albay is becoming a national powerhouse in eco-tourism after it’s declaration as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Initially mean for the benefit of agrarian reform communities, the IPAC is envisioned to enhance market access and competitiveness of farmers in rural community. After the completion of the IPAC in Albay, the productivity and marketability rate of agricultural goods in the province is seen to rapidly increase.
Combining the overall potential funding of these three projects, which is amounting to more or less Php 185 billion, Bicol (especially Albay) would technically benefit at an estimated 60% of the Php 320 billion budget.
The three projects were initially pushed three years ago by then Albay governor and now Albay second district congressman Joey Salceda, during his chairmanship of the Bicol Regional Development Council.
According to NEDA, the final approval for the funding of the projects recommended by the NEDA-ICC would be decided by September. But, given the projects potential in uplifting socio-economic growth, the office is confident that it would have the President’s approval as needed. (by Julius Embile)