To boost air travel, the Department of Transportation is investing P2.5 billion to upgrade three airports to accommodate more flights and passengers, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said Sunday.
This developed as the Baguio City government aims to resume commercial operations of the Loakan Airport for the Christmas season, following discussions with top officials in the aviation industry.
Under the DOTr’s aviation infrastructure program in the 2023 national budget, Tacloban City’s Daniel Romualdez Airport would receive the bulk of the new funding at P1.42 billion, said Campos, the House appropriations committee vice chairperson.
Antique’s Evelio Javier Airport would receive P500 million, while the Laoag International Airport would get P445 million, he added.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines designates Tacloban City Airport as a principal class 1 domestic airport, Laoag International as a secondary/alternate international airport, and Antique Airport as a principal class 2 domestic airport.
Meanwhile, Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the CAAP is set to spend some P68 million for the rehabilitation of the aviation facility.
“They’re allotting P68 million for the rehabilitation of the terminal, so they are rushing to finish it by November, because (Transportation) Secretary Jaime Bautista asked me what’s my recommendation when to open it,” he said.
“I said if we can avail of the Christmas season, that would be in the fourth quarter of this year, then (Bautista) said, ‘Okay, let’s go for November’,” Magalong added.
The rehabilitation of Loakan Airport will include the improvement of the instrument landing system (ILS), along with the extension of the runway by 100 meters.
Magalong said the rehab work will also address the drainage issues, and remove the obstructions from the airport, with structures along the vicinity set to be demolished.
The mayor said some of the residents have already received two notices to vacate the area, as the Loakan Airport has a 150-meter buffer zone.
Prior to the pandemic, diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said it would submit an unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate and reopen the Loakan Airport to commercial flights.
Meanwhile, Campos said the Bukidnon Airport, which is projected to commence commercial operations in 2023, shall have P80 million, while the Ninoy Aquino International Airport would receive P43 million. “We are all for increased spending to build up our aviation infrastructure across all regions,” he said.
“There’s no question that airports are powerful generators of economic growth, jobs, and income. They facilitate mobility of people and goods, which also benefits consumers and industries, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that now account for 99 percent of the 958,000 registered business establishments in the country,” the Makati solon added.
Bigger and better airports are also indispensable to the country’s overall disaster readiness, he noted.