M’lang Airport runway expansion seen taking off
KIDAPAWAN CITY, Cotabato, Philippines —Fifteen landowners finally signed the deed of sale of their properties needed to expand the existing runway of M’lang’s Central Mindanao Airport for commercial flights.
Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco said the 200-meter expansion of the existing 1.8-kilometer runway would allow the airport to accommodate a 150-seater Boeing 747 aircraft when it opens before the end of the year.
“I am very excited that I can’t sleep,” Catamco said after handing over the P5.6-million check to the property owners in a ceremony witnessed by Transportation Assistant Secretary Jim Melo on Thursday. “I wanted this airport to be operational as this will spur the economic activity of the province.”
The money was sourced from the P14-million fund of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the airport. The balance would cover the expense for the airport perimeter.
The runway and passenger terminal of M’lang airport, a brainchild of former Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Piñol, were already standing in 2010, when the administration of then Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza came on board.
Mendoza said in another interview that the province could not turn over the project to the DOTr during her time because of some “missing documents.” For instance, some receipts from the landowners were not in order, she said.
Catamco, however, is keen on making the airport operational within this year. She said the province had been processing all the documents to prove that all landowners of the 62-hectare property had been paid.
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