‘If LP loses in Bicol, blame it on Abaya’
LEGAZPI CITY—The delay in the completion of the Bicol International Airport (BIA) in Albay will hurt the national candidates of the Aquino administration in a region counting at least three million voters, said Gov. Joey Salceda.
He said if the administration candidates lose in Bicol, it will be the fault of Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, noting that the international airport should have been completed and operational this year.
Salceda said he was disappointed with the Department of Transportation and Communications over the delay in the construction of the BIA, also called the Southern Luzon International Airport in Daraga town, despite the availability of funds.
He expressed dismay over Abaya’s statement blaming losing bidders for the delays in government flagship projects like airports and seaports.
Salceda, in a letter to Abaya on Feb. 1, urged the secretary to speed up the awarding of contract for Phase 2A of the BIA covering the construction of landside facilities (parking lots, public transportation stations and access roads). This phase of the project was bid out on Dec. 8, 2015.
“The biggest loser here is the Bicolanos. They are really sore at the additional two-year delay in an already delayed project,” he said.
Salceda lamented the slowdown in the project’s implementation after the DOTC disqualified a winning bidder.
He said holding another bidding would further delay the project by at least a year, a period that could have been used for the actual construction of the BIA.
“All our best-laid plans for tourism development will suffer as a consequence,” he said.
Salcedo urged Abaya to look into the project bidding to ensure that the transaction is aboveboard.
“I don’t want to think that there are favored contractors in the DOTC because this doesn’t speak well of the administration’s ‘Daang Matuwid’ (straight path) mantra,” he said. Mar S. Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon
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