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The New Iloilo Airport at Cabatuan, Iloilo

News Blog about the New Iloilo Airport

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

‘SAFE AND SOUND’ - No attack on Iloilo airport, vows PNP

Panay News. Oct. 10, 2006

ILOILO – The Philippine National Police assured Ilonggos that the new Iloilo airport of international standards project will not suffer the same fate as the airport project in Silay City, Negros Occidental which was set on fire by the New People's Army (NPA).

"I had a conversation with (PNP Director) Gen. (Oscar) Calderon. Ge gave me the assurance that security measures will be upgraded in these two airports,” said Sen. Franklin M. Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Like the airport project in Silay City, the Iloilo airport is in its last phase of completion and will begin operation next year.

The new Iloilo 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.

The airport project, for which P2.7 billion is being allocated in the budget of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), with the loan proceeds of P1.5 billion, is about to be finished.

The civil works and the electrical works are about to be finished on December 31, 2006.
“Test flights are supposed to be made on the first quarter of next year, the turnover will be made on March 17, 2007," Drilon said.

During the Senate Committee on Finance hearing on the proposed P17.6 billion DOTC budget next year, Drilon inquired from Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza what security measures are in place in view of the attack.

"In the case of Iloilo, the security forces within the area are already taking the appropriate assessment. Like in the Silay City airport, they are going to install a security detachment in the Iloilo airport," Mendoza informed the committee.

Mendoza also said that although he had instructed airport authorities to minimize the period of delay, the attack will cause one to two months delay on the construction of the Silay airport.

Last Sunday, NPA rebels set on fire P30-million worth of equipment used in building the Negros Occidental airport project.

The P4.3 billion airport project, located 14 kilometers north of Bacolod, is funded partly by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and was scheduled for completion in the second quarter of next year.

"Hopefully, we can secure the Iloilo airport better, so we won't suffer any delay," Drilon said.

"We will draw all possible to make sure that it will not happen to Iloilo airport," Mendoza assured Drilon.

Drilon played a lead role in facilitating the P6.2 billion Iloilo airport project in the past eight years. He is part of the steering committee which oversees the 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, 2006, Drilon had an ocular of the site of the new airport in Iloilo and was pleased to see that the construction of the airport is within schedule.

The three-story passenger terminal, about 12,000 square meters in floor area, houses the baggage conveyor on the first floor, the check-in area and the airline offices on the second floor and the pre-departure area on the third, and the 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, is 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 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Mendoza, launched the project in Iloilo in January 2004. The airport is seen to increase air passenger and cargo traffic in the province and its influence areas to boost economic development in Western Visayas.

Panay News. Oct. 10, 2006

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