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The New Iloilo Airport at Cabatuan, Iloilo

News Blog about the New Iloilo Airport

Monday, October 09, 2006

P5.5M set for new airports in region

Sunstar Iloilo. Tuesday, October 10, 2006

THE Senate finance committee approved Monday a P5.500-billion infrastructure fund that will pave the way for the operation next year of two of the biggest air transport projects in Region 6, the New Iloilo International Airport and the Negros Occidental Airport.

The finance committee approval came despite the bombing last Sunday of the Negros Occidental airport allegedly by communist New People's Army rebels.

Some P30 million worth of equipment for the airport's construction were destroyed. The airport was set for completion in the second quarter of 2007.

"The bombing of the Negros airport is certainly a setback, but the move of the committee today (Monday) to provide funding for this airport sends the signal that we are determined to push through with the project that will bring the region economic progress," said Sen. Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate finance committee.

During the committee hearing on the P17.6 billion budget of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) for 2007, Drilon said the allocation submitted for the new airport in Iloilo was at P2.712 billion and P2.788 billion for the Negros airport.

Realizing that the new airport being built in his hometown in Iloilo is as vulnerable to attacks as the airport in Silay City, Drilon called on the police to intensify security measures at the Iloilo airport so as not to delay its opening on March 2007.

"The rise of a first-rate airport in Western Visayas that is compliant with international standards is crucial to the development of the country. This will boost our air transportation services, making the Philippines more accessible to the rest of the world," Drilon, a native of Iloilo, said.

Drilon played a lead role in the facilitation of the P6.2 billion Iloilo airport project for the past eight years. He is part of the steering committee that oversees project implementation. In November 1998, then President Joseph Estrada issued a memorandum creating the Iloilo Airport Coordinating Committee, with Drilon as adviser.

Last September 29, Drilon had an ocular of the site of the new airport in Iloilo and was pleased to see that the construction of facility is within schedule.

The three-storey passenger terminal, about 12,000 square meters in floor area, houses the baggage conveyor on the first floor, check-in area and the airline offices on the second floor, pre-departure area on the third, and arrival area along the corridors that lead to the first floor. The airport can accommodate six aircrafts simultaneously parking at a time. Air navigation systems, including a radar area, are also in place.

"Iloilo, whose airport has the fourth highest passenger traffic in the country, will benefit from the influx of tourists and investors once the new airport becomes operational in March 2007," Drilon said.

Drilon, along with President Arroyo and DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza, launched the project in Iloilo on January 2004. The airport is seen to increase air passenger and cargo traffic in the province and to boost economic development in Western Visayas.

The new airport is sprawled in a 184-hectare site between the towns of Cabatuan and Sta. Barbara, located 19 kilometers north of Iloilo City.

The plan is to convert the area into a commercial, residential, and semi-industrial district. It will be a domestic trunk line airport that will replace the existing airport in Mandurriao.

Sunstar Iloilo. Tuesday, October 10, 2006

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