By Louella Desiderio, June 26, 2024; Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board yesterday approved a digital infrastructure project and adjustments to nine other ongoing infrastructure projects.

In a statement, the NEDA said the NEDA Board chaired by President Marcos approved during its meeting yesterday the P16.1-billion Philippine Digital Infrastructure Project (PDIP), which is expected to help enhance broadband connectivity and bring high speed internet to disadvantaged areas.

To be financed through official development assistance from the World Bank, the project is a flagship initiative of the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

It involves the construction of a public broadband infrastructure network.

The project has five components: backbone network; middle-mile network; access network (last-mile); network security and project management support.

NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said broadband services have opened up opportunities for Filipinos like work-from-home arrangements, digital access to critical public and private services, including the latest technological tools such as artificial intelligence.

“This project will enable us to connect more Filipinos to markets and networks, spurring economic development,” he said.

Apart from the PDIP, the NEDA Board approved adjustments to the parameters of nine ongoing infrastructure projects, seven of which are part of the Infrastructure Flagship Projects list or priority infrastructure projects.

The changes involve the scope, cost and extension of the project’s implementation period and loan validity.

Projects with approved changes are the Local Governance Reform Project, Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility, New Cebu International Container Port Project, Light Rail Transit Line 1 South Extension Project, Malolos-Clark Railway Project Tranche 1, Metro Manila Flood Management Project Phase 1, Reconstruction and Development Plan for a Greater Marawi Stage 2, Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project and the Panguil Bay Bridge Project.

“The adjustments to these ongoing infrastructure projects were necessary to ensure their successful completion, advancing our national efforts to expand and upgrade our infrastructure, improve connectivity and create more jobs,” Balisacan said.