500% hike in Tacloban airport fees opposedBy Joey Gabieta
TACLOBAN CITY—Business leaders and local officials are opposed to a plan to increase the terminal fee at Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport, the biggest airport in Eastern Visayas.
They said airport facilities should be improved first before the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) increases the terminal fee by 500 percent —from P30 per passenger to P150.
Raul Glorioso, chief of the CAAP Aerodrome Development and Management Service, said the terminal fee in the airport had not increased for 14 years.
“Based on inflation rate, the equivalent of the [current terminal fee] is around P150 already,” Glorioso said.
In 2011, DZR Airport terminal fee collection reached only P15.3 million. In 2009, there was a proposal to increase DZR terminal fee to P200 but it was shelved due to strong opposition.
The CAAP, which maintains and operates DZR, held its last public consultation on the proposed increase on Wednesday.
But the city government and the business sector are opposing the increase.
The terminal building and other facilities should be improved first before any increase is implemented, said Bernardita Valenzuela, chief information officer of Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
She said the stand of the city government reflected the general sentiment of air travelers.
The Tacloban Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TFCCCI), which was represented in the public hearing, also opposed the proposal.
Go Tic Cheng, TFCCCI president, said while businessmen were amenable to an increase, the 500-percent increase was too much.
“The TFCCCI agrees to a P20 increase of the present P30 terminal fee provided the agency could prove to the public its intention to provide better facilities and services,” Go said.
Passengers at DZR Airport often complain of lack of water, poor air-conditioning system and lack of space and seats, among others.
The Department of Transportation and Communications, through CAAP, will implement a five-year improvement project for the airport, which would cost P500 million.