LEGAZPI CITY: The P3.5-billion Bicol International Airport project under the Aquino administration remains a rough draft as the construction is not yet starting despite President Aquino’s promise to finish the project before 2014 to boost economic and tourism in the countryside.
Regional Development Chairman and Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay lamented that the construction has been delayed for four years despite the release of P729 million.
Salceda said that the construction will likely finish in 2017 and he will no longer be the governor by that time.
“The P1.3 billion balance from Department of Transportation and Communication’s 2012 GAA is still unutilized,” Salceda said.
The Bicol International Airport is a flagship project of then President now Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga but was pushed by Aquino as his priority project in Bicol during his presidential campaign in 2010 here.
Salceda, a known political ally and top economic adviser of then President Arroyo abandoned his boss and the candidacy of Lakas NUCD standard bearer presidential candidate former Defence Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro and joined Aquino to push the construction of international airport in pursuit of attaining rapid economic development through tourism flagship here.
Salceda earlier told The Manila Times that the new and modern international airport in Bicol specifically in Albay province will further boost not only tourism but the economy of the region and nearby regions of Luzon and Visayas.
Albay, which will be hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meetings in December this year will be launching the international gateway beginning January 30 this year where chartered flights in Xiamen China using the Legazpi airport will commence here coincided in Chinese New Year.