Delay in Bicol airport project hitBy Gil Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Four months after a bidding was held for the Bicol International Airport construction in Daraga, Albay, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has yet to award the contract for the project.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the airport project was three years behind and the province could not afford to wait any longer for the DOTC’s green light.
“Our airports, roads and ports are bursting at the seams because our tourist arrivals have grown by 24 percent the last four years,” said Salceda in a text message.
The DOTC bids and awards committee opened the bids submitted by two parties on Oct. 22 last year. The lower bid was for P718 million, or 20 percent under the DOTC’s floor price.
Bicolano Sen. Gregorio Honasan, in a phone interview, said delays in the airport and other infrastructure projects was one of the reasons “most people had not felt the 6.6-percent growth touted by the government.”
“This is just headline news. The government should not stop at crowing about rosy figures but make sure the positive economic figures trickle down to the majority of the people. It’s time we investigated the real cause of the delays in projects that had been given allocations by Congress years ago,” said Honasan.
Seven other Bicolano lawmakers led by Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara, chairman of the House committee on foreign affairs, and Camarines Sur Rep. Salvio B. Fortuno, chairman of the committee on Bicol recovery and economic development, wrote Transportation Secretary Joseph E.A. Abaya expressing their concern over the holdup in awarding the contract for airside facilities (which are apart from the terminal facilities that would be bid out separately) and its impact on the P900-million project fund that was allocated two years ago.
“We ask the honorable secretary to intervene and ensure the immediate implementation of the project and to take advantage of the coming summer season which will make it conducive for construction work in the area,” said Bichara and Fortuno in their letter.
In a text message, Abaya said: “We are still in the procurement process. One bidder brought us to court. No one is scuttling the bid. Neither is there a favored contractor at the DOTC.”