Baguio airport community protests eviction moves | Inquirer News

Baguio airport community protests eviction moves

/ 04:15 AM February 28, 2020

IDLE Baguio City’s only airport still takes in Air Force planes and occasional charter flights. —EV ESPIRITU

BAGUIO CITY—Residents near the Loakan Airport here have protested government moves to evict them from a 150-meter buffer zone of the runway.

Many of the 150 families, who were issued last month with supposed notices of violation for occupying the buffer and safety zones at the airport, had titles issued under a social housing program that was facilitated by the city council.


The rest are Ibaloy clans, who not only have titles to lands at the periphery of the airport but who have also been hosting the graves of their ancestors there. Ibaloy families traditionally keep the graves of their departed beneath or around their homes.


The city government is clearing the buffer zone for the airport’s upgrade before the year ends, as stipulated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap), Mayor Benjamin Magalong said when he addressed the council meeting on Feb. 24.

The meeting was attended by families who were required to prove their proprietary rights by the investigation division of the city building and architecture office.

Magalong said some of the houses were too high and had been obstructing the view of pilots landing at the runway. Other houses are also perched beside the fence of the runway.

The mayor said he had been asking the Caap for fresh solutions to reduce the number of houses at the buffer zone that would need to be expropriated.

To show good faith, the Caap would also evict its own employees who have been residing in Caap-owned properties near the runway and the airport tower, Magalong said.

Members of the Loakan Green Meadows Association, who acquired low-cost housing under a community mortgage program endorsed by the Baguio government, said they were not provided details as to why they were being told to leave nor were they informed about a master plan for the airport so it could once again receive commercial air traffic.


“We never even heard about the buffer zone until we received the notices,” the association’s leader said.

Not closed

“Loakan Airport was never closed,” Magalong said, although commercial airlines stopped their Baguio routes over safety issues because the runway was too short for larger planes.

Businesses operating at the Baguio City Economic Zone and at Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone and the city’s hotel industry have been asking for airlines to reopen Baguio flights, he said.

The airport was the only means of accessing Baguio when the 1990 Luzon earthquake devastated the city and its main roads. During the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Baguio fought to keep the idle airport when she suggested that it be ceded to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

Return of flights

To lure back commercial flights, the Baguio airport needs to rehabilitate its passenger terminal building, modernize its lighting system and be outfitted with an approach control service system.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is studying the sustainability of Loakan Airport. “Financially we have a huge problem there. The Caap spends P1.5 million a month, and continues to operate it despite the absence of commercial flights. The agency should at least break even,” said Mila Rimando, Neda Cordillera director.

TAGS: buffer zone, Eviction, Ibaloy clans

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.