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DPWH turns around on EDSA rehab project
BusinessWorld (16 Aug 2004)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Resumption of the PhP1.4-billion EDSA rehabilitation project will be discussed by a National Economic and Development Authority's (NEDA) committee this month following a turnaround by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The PhP1.4-billion EDSA rehabilitation project was close to being officially shelved after the DPWH and the NEDA last month recommended its cancellation to the Department of Finance (DoF).

A NEDA source said the agency's Infrastructure Committee (Infracom), of which the DPWH is a member, will discuss the possibility of resuming the project after the DPWH took back an earlier recommendation that it be cancelled.

"The DPWH changed its mind about the EDSA rehabilitation project and the NEDA Infracom will be convened to discuss the feasibility of resuming it," the source said.

Aside from the DPWH, other government agencies represented in the Infracom are the Departments of Transportation and Communication, Finance, and Budget and Management.

The DoF, for its part, has suspended action on the DPWH's cancellation request.

"We are not acting on it (because) there is still an ongoing discussion about it," Finance Undersecretary Roberto B. Tan said.

The decision to cancel was reached after concerned government agencies such as the DPWH and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) could not decide on whether to use concrete reblocking or an asphalt overlay to fix EDSA.

The road rehabilitation project is a component of the Metro Manila Air Quality Improvement Sector Development Program which is being implemented by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The ADB earlier called on the ADB, DPWH and the DENR to "immediately resume the presently suspended procurement process ... with its original design of asphalt concrete overlay or request cancellation of this component from the program."

"This concrete reblocking proposed by DPWH is economically far less viable than the original design of asphalt concrete overlay. Therefore, ADB will not be able to finance this component unless DPWH reverts to the original design...," the ADB said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo L. Neri earlier advised the DENR to cancel some components of the program loan to save on commitment fees.

Mr. Tan has said the government could request the ADB to allow it to use the funding for other projects in line with program objectives.

Copyright © 2004 BusinessWorld Online, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

http://bworldonline.com/current/TheEconomy/ecostory4.html

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