Thursday, 21 March 2013

LATEST: DOTC delays construction of P3.4-B airport

LEGAZPI CITY: The Aquino administration target to finish construction of the P3.4-billion Bicol International Airport before 2015 suffers from a snail-paced implementation being carried out by the Department of Transportation and Communication.

Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda said construction of the international airport was delayed by three years.

“Construction of Bicol International Airport is three years delayed and we could not afford to wait any longer for the DOTC green light. The delays will badly affect rapid economic and tourism growth,” Salceda told The Manila Times.

Earlier, two other Bicolano lawmakers led by Albay Rep Al Francis Bichara, chair of the House committee on foreign affairs and CamSur Rep Salvio B Fortuno, chair of the committee on Bicol recovery and economic development sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya expressing their concern over the delay in awarding the contract for airside facilities which are apart from the terminal facilities that would be bid out separately and its impact on the P900-million project fund allocated two years ago.

The Bicol solons asked Abaya to intervene and ensure the immediate implementation of the project to take advantage of the coming summer season which is most favorable for construction works.

The international airport site lazes on a 300ha tract of land in Alobo village, Daraga town.
The project was slated for completion in 2014.
But several months after a bidding was done, the DOTC has yet to award the project contract.

The DOTC bids and awards committee opened the bids submitted by two parties on Oct 22 last year. The lower bid was for P718 million, or 20% below the DOTC floor price.

Construction of Bicol International Airport was conceived by then president now Pampanga Rep Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and was pushed through by President Aquino under the private and public partnership (PPP) scheme.

Salceda chairman of Regional Development Council said the President Aquino infused P780 million to expedite the project’s construction.

The new airport covers the villages of Alobo, Inarado, Kinawitan and Burgos with a panoramic view of Mayon Volcano as background.

The Bicol International Airport, identified as a major infrastructure priority project in the Medium Term Development Investment Plan and the South Rail and Bicol River Basin, is the touted a most critical aspect for Bicol region’s development since tourism is one of the catalyst for rapid investment and economic growth here, Regional Development Council chairman and Albay governor Joey Salceda told The Manila Times.

Total project cost is P3.4 billion to be funded locally through general appropriation act (GAA) of DOTC and supposed to be completed by last year.
However, until now no solid structure is being put up. – Manila Times

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