Security tightened around Bicol Intl Airport as construction continues
DARAGA, Albay –– Soldiers and police have tightened the security around the Bicol International Airport (BIA) in Alobo village as the construction of buildings and facilities on it nears completion.
Col. Andrew Costelo, chief of staff at the military’s 9th Infantry Division based in Pili, Camarines Sur, said the Joint Task Force Bicolandia, in coordination with the Bicol police, has strengthened the security in the vital installations to eliminate the threat posed by New People’s Army rebels.
He said the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police needed to protect the BIA from possible attacks by rebels.
The project, which started in 2005 with its construction beginning in 2009, has long been delayed after communist rebels allegedly attacked the project by torching the heavy equipment several times.
“In support to the developmental efforts of the government the JTF Bicolandia under the leadership of Major General Fernando T. Trinidad, commanding officer of 9ID, has assigned one company of regular troops from the 31st Infantry Battalion, CAFGU Active Auxilliary (CAA) from the 5th CAA Albay Company who are civilian volunteers in the area, and a platoon of the 2nd Albay PNP mobile force who will safeguard the airport 24/7,” he said in a statement.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, who pushed for the project, said BIA, which is considered the flagship project in Albay province, would be completed and operational in June 2020 as assured by Department of Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade.
“The completion of the BIA would further boost tourists’ flow to the region wherein Albay is No. 4 in domestic tourism arrivals, and the figure would even further rise if its number is taken in total with the combined Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon traffic,” Salceda said.
Work on the BIA project is in full blast to meet the June 27, 2020 deadline for the terminal, and Nov. 2, for the land-side facilities, he added.
As of May 30, the project was 57-percent completed.
“Once the BIA is operational it is expected to play a major role in achieving a target potential of 20 million tourist arrivals annually. In the first quarter of this year, the country posted a record high of 7.6 percent growth, about 2.2 million arrivals,” he said. (Editor: Leti Z. Boniol)
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