To improve the chances of countryside infrastructure projects for financing, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is thinking of establishing a unified infrastructure project ID.

According to NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development Mercedita Sombilla, infrastructure projects have increased in the Philippines in recent years, specifically in Visayas and Mindanao. However, more needs to be done to improve connectivity and promote inclusivity in regions nationwide.

And although many are approved, only half of these projects get funded through the National Expenditure Program (NEP) and the General Appropriations Act (GAA) after being reviewed by the Regional Development Council (RDC). 

“Currently, NEDA assigns a code for projects included in the PIP while DBM generates a different code, which is the unified accounts code structure or the UACS for projects included in the NEP and the GAA,” Sombilla said. 

But things could turn for the better once the unified project ID plan gets implemented, she added. 

“A unified project ID is expected to help improve the feedback processes from agency central offices to the RDCs and programs and projects included in both NEP and GAA. A better alignment of regional and central office plans leads to higher percentages of RDC-endorsed projects getting funded,” Sombilla explained. 

Once a unified ID is assigned to a project at inception it will make tracking and monitoring easier, particularly for the planning, programming, and budgeting process of the government.

Sombilla said this would also harmonize government processes and systems, making it easier for funding to be given to projects – be it from national or local funding sources.

Besides the issue of funding, NEDA also pointed out the need for regional equity in the next Philippine Development Plan (PDP) framework.

“One approach to improve equity on investments is to prioritize regions with low scores in social or infrastructure indicators and relatively lower funding in the past years. This requires coordinated planning and programming across various institutions since regional allocation is a more complex problem given the interplay of many factors and challenges,” Sombilla said. 

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