Billions released for key airport upgradesBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Budget officials have released P4.6 billion to the Department of Transportation and Communications to jump-start key projects of the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program, including the upgrade of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 and domestic airports.
“The release will support the improvement or creation of more gateways into the Philippines, given the administration’s campaign to cement our position as a prime tourist and investment hub,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a statement.
Some P1.64 billion was allotted for the rehabilitation of the Naia Terminal 1 “to restore its structural integrity and kick-start maintenance activities” that had been deferred for years, Abad said.
The project included the immediate repair of the terminal’s mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems, as well as the retrofitting of the overall structure.
Transportation officials announced a facelift for the international airport in November last year after it was adjudged the world’s worst airport by The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, an interactive website that gathers reports from various reviewers.
The website cited travelers’ complaints about safety concerns, lack of comfortable seating, rude staff, hostile security, poor facilities, no or few services to pass the time, and bribery, among others.
Another P2 billion was set aside for the detailed engineering of the runways and taxiways of the New Legazpi Airport Development Project in Albay, and some P800 million was allotted for the development of the Tacloban Airport terminal building and other facilities to meet with the growing traffic demand, Abad said.
Some P160 million would cover the development of an access point to Central Mindanao through the Central Mindanao Airport. The airport would help facilitate the transport of high-value crops in and out of the Central Mindanao, and support agricultural development in the area, he added.
“This administration intends to fulfill its commitment to improve conditions in many of our airports through fruitful engagements with the private sector. Through the PPP program, we can make project implementation much more efficient and reform-oriented, so that the gains we make through the initiative will be sustained in the long term,” Abad said.
The P4.6 billion would be charged against the DOTC’s budget for Project Development Funds for Public-Private Partnership Transport Infrastructure Projects under the 2012 national budget.
“The projects identified under the fund release will directly support this initiative (PPP), primarily through the much-needed rehabilitation and development of key airports across the country,” Abad said.