Diokno cites condition for proposed Bulacan airport

MANILA -- Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno said while the government has approved the proposed construction of an international airport in Bulacan, he is not sure if airline companies will automatically relocate from either Clark or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“Our condition is very clear, that there will be no commitment on the part of the government to transfer flights from Clark or NAIA to Bulacan. They have to compete to make the airport better, more attractive so that airline companies will voluntarily (re) locate to Bulacan,” he said in a briefing Wednesday.

The NEDA Board has approved San Miguel Holdings Corporation’s unsolicited proposal for the construction of an airport in Bulacan and the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) is set to approve the proposal before forwarding it to the President.

Diokno said construction of the project has no timeframe yet.

“I don't know whether it will be completed in the next five years or 15 years,” he said.

Construction of airports is among the Duterte administration’s priority under its “Build, Build, Build” program.

In a statement, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said 28 airport projects are included in the priority projects of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

These projects include the construction, rehabilitation or upgrade of airports around the country.

Of the 28, three international airports in Lal-Lo, Cagayan; Puerto Princesa in Palawan and Mactan-Cebu in Cebu and four domestic airports in Tuguegarao, Cagayan; Calbayog, Samar; Ozamis, Misamis Occidental; and Naga, Camarines Sur have been finished.

Meanwhile, expansion of the Clark International Airport is set to be finished in June 2020 and the Bohol-Panglao International Airport is set to be inaugurated on Nov. 22, 2018.

Some airports have also been equipped with night-rating capabilities to be able to cater to evening flights.

The DBM said 20 of the 42 airports around the country have been night-rated, including those in Legaspi, Roxas, Dumaguete, and Caticlan, which were equipped in 2017, and Tuguegarao airport, which was equipped early this year.

“Four more airports - Naga, Dipolog, Cotabato, and Cauayan - are targeted to be completed this year,” it added. (PNA)

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