(File photo)

MANILA – The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is updating the list of approved infrastructure projects given the impact of the pandemic and the recent typhoons.

During a virtual briefing Thursday, NEDA Undersecretary Jonathan Uy said they aim to release the new list by the end of this year.

“It would appear that we are now reaching about 100 projects and some additional ones being proposed for this particular update,” he said.

The Duterte administration recently identified about 104 priority projects for its flagship Build, Build, Build program, higher than the 75 projects earlier announced.

Included in the list are the Metro Manila subway project, the upgrading of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Cebu monorail system, and the Mindanao Railway project.

The government is prioritizing the construction of infrastructure projects around the country after, citing its long-term effect on the sustainability of domestic growth.

After works in some of these projects were temporarily suspended following the declaration of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon from mid-March to end-April, and until end-May for Metro Manila, Uy said construction works resumed around June based on the report from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

He, however, said that continued quarantine restrictions and the impact of typhoons remain among the challenges for the projects.

Meanwhile, Acting NEDA Secretary Karl Chua said they continue to monitor all infrastructure projects included in the 2020 national budget, even those under the local government units (LGUs).

Aside from the impact of the pandemic, he said challenges in project implementation this year “reflect the fact that our experience in 2019 was that we were able to, despite the delayed passage of the budget, we were able to significantly ramp up in the second quarter.”

“That is why despite our infrastructure exceeding program for the second half of 2020, as a contribution to growth, it fell short because of the high base case in 2019,” he said.

Chua said Congress’ approval of the extension of the 2020 budget will provide NEDA leeway to implement projects that were delayed last year.

“The recent flooding and typhoons also gave us more urgency in pursuing some of the infrastructures that directly will address some of the water and flooding issues,” he added. (PNA)