Drilon: New Iloilo airport is graft-free
THE new Iloilo airport in Cabatuan-Sta. Barbara area will be open to the public way ahead of the graft-riddled Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 in Manila, Senator Franklin Drilon said.
Drilon visited the P6-billion project yesterday to personally see the accomplishments of the Japanese contractor Taisei-Shimizu Joint Venture amid issues of graft and corruption hounding the project.
“I am very pleased with the accomplishments. The airport will open ahead of the Naia terminal 3 which is saddled with graft and corruption involving the Philippine International Air Terminals Corporation (Piatco),” Drilon said.
Piatco, the private firm that constructed and was supposed to manage Terminal 3, is wholly owned by Fraport AG (Operator of Frankfurt airport in Germany) and other financial institution and business groups who allegedly succeeded in cornering a number of lucrative contracts at the Naia complex ranging from cargo handling, aircraft maintenance to passenger service.
Citing his conversation with TSJV engineers, Drilon said the new Iloilo airport is already 77 percent complete “which is four percent higher than the targeted accomplishment.”
The construction of the new airport began April 14, 2004 and is expected to be finished late this year or early 2007.
“We expect the turnover of the project on March 19, 2007 after which the inaugural flight will be held. The progress of the contraction is within schedule,” Drilon said.
The new airport was funded by a loan from the Japanese Obuchi special facility worth P5.2 billion. Under the Obuchi facility, the interest for the loan is pegged at 0.75 percent with a loan repayment of 30 years. A seven-year grace period is given on the principal amount.
“This (fast progress of the construction) is the result if the project is free of graft and corruption,” Drilon said.
Drilon was accompanied by Governor Niel Tupas, former agrarian reform secretary Rene Villa, provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada, TSJV engineers and employees and other provincial officials.