• Aquino takes tour of P7.85-B Laguindingan airport

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    President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday inspected the P7.85-billion Laguindingan Airport, the newest international gateway to Mindanao.

    The airport built in a fourth-class town in Misamis Oriental opens on June 15, has a 2.1-kilometer runway that can accommodate A330-300 aircraft.

    In his speech, the President said that the new airport, which can cater to 1.6 million passengers every year, will help boost trade and tourism in the country, particularly in Northern Mindanao.

    He cited that, the target for domestic tourism arrival is 56.1 million. With the Laguindingan Airport, the President expressed confidence that this will add more to the country’s economic development.

    The P7.85-billion airport will replace Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City and the smaller airport in Iligan City, according to Aquino.

    He noted that, Laguindingan airport even without the navigational aids is safer than Lumbia airport, with the Instrument Landing System (ILS) system.

    “Even without the navigational aids, itong Laguindingan dahil medyo mas patag, fair ‘yung buong lugar, is safer than Lumbia with the ILS system dahil ‘yun ngang terrain[Even without the navigational aids, the Laguindingan airport is in a flat area, safer than Lumbia with the ILS system because of the terrain],” he said

    The President cited for instance the weather disturbances, saying that it is more manageable at the Laguindingan airport.

    “Weather, mas madaling maapektuhan ng weather ang Lumbia kaysa dito. So ‘yung endpoint is, kung paulit-ulit ko nang sinasabi, ‘yung Laguindingan even without the navigational aids is safer than Lumbia with the ILS system [Lumbia is more affected by weather disturbances. The endpoint is, and I have kept on repeating this, Laguindingan, even without the navigational aids, is safer than Lumbia with the ILS system],” the President said

    “Ngayon, papasok ‘yung navigational aids no later than May 2014. But we are trying to expedite that process to put all of these aids in place sooner than that [Now, the navigational aids will be installed no later than May 2014. But we are trying to expedite that process to put all of these aids in place sooner than that],” he added.

    Mr. Aquino, meanwhile, thanked Official Development Assistance from South Korea who funded the construction of the airport.

    The government, through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund shouldered P78.9 million, while the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) added KrW8.5 billion.

    Transport Secretary Joseph Abaya and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd accompany President Aquino in the final inspection.

    Also present were Gov. Oscar Moreno of Misamis Oriental, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines director general William Hotchkiss 3rd, South Korean Ambassador Hyuk Lee, and Ayala Corp. chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

    Catherine S. Valente

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