As Davao Region economy, tourism perk up
By ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario has proposed building of an alternate airport in Tagum City, predicting that the Francisco Bangoy International Airport also known as the Davao International Airport in Davao City would suffer from severe traffic congestion in the near future.
The proposal of del Rosario, who chairs the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Davao Region, has already been given muscle through an RDC resolution recommending construction of the alternate airport in the capital city of Davao del Norte.
The mega-project is proposed to be located in about 1,000 hectares in the barangays of Madaum and San Isidro.
Del Rosario said the RDC has recommended the project to be included for funding in the Build, Build, Build Infrastructure Program of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Traffic congestion at the Bangoy airport, resulting to delayed flights, is expected in the near future as the Davao Region economy and tourism take an upward spin.
The modernized and upgraded Bangoy airport, completed in 2003, aimed to cement the Davao Region as a major hub for tourism and foreign investment in Southern Mindanao.
Already, flights suffer delays due to the large number of airlines that now use the airport.
The airport is designed to handle approximately 2 million passengers and 84,600 metric tons of cargo annually.
Completed in 2003, the modernization of the Bangoy airport was funded by a forty million- dollar loan from the Asian Development Bank, by the European Investment Bank for twenty-five million ECUs, and through budgetary allocations from the government. The total cost of the project amounted to $128 million.
Presently, the 3,000-meter runway Bangoy airport is the busiest airport in Mindanao and the third busiest in the Philippines.
The situation could be worsened as several domestic and international airlines have expressed intention to utilize the airport for direct flights to international airports.
Del Rosario said the Bangoy airport could suffer the fate of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in the capital region which is now groaning from heavy traffic volume.
Under the Duterte administration, the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, the former Clark International Airport, in Pampanga has been improved to backstop NAIA as passenger volume grew by leaps and bounds resulting to perennial flight delays in the country’s main airport.
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) as a solution to the congestion has proposed construction of alternate domestic and international airports in the MetroManila area and other parts of the country.
Del Rosario bared the RDC recommendation to build the Tagum City alternate airport in a radio interview Monday, March 11 in the “IKAW NA BA?” segment of the Banat radio program of brodcaster Jun Bersamin of ABS/CBN’s DXAB radio.
“IKAW NA BA?” interviews candidates in the Davao Region running in the coming May 13 mid-term election.
Del Rosario is running for First District Congressman under the banner of the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP), the Davao regional political party of presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
The incumbent governor is challenging the reelection of Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of the Alvarez Wing, a local faction of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bayan (PDP/Laban).
Alvarez is facing a steep hill in his bid to return to Congress, with Mayor Duterte-Carpio vowing to campaign against the reelection of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Alvarez faces the coming election still limping from the painful wounds of his ouster in a July 23 coup in the House that led to him being replaced by former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.