After a year since Super Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the country’s central regions from the Eastern Visayas to Northern Palawan, several key rehabilitation projects of various airports and seaports have been completed to help restore normalcy in the affected regions, the government said on Friday.
“In the wake of Typhoon Yolanda, we saw that the resilience of the Filipino people is truly remarkable,” Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement.
“Transportation agencies have completed 3 airport and 14 seaport rehabilitation projects in order to support the victims in their livelihood requirements and in the delivery of their basic needs,” Abaya explained, referring to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
Tacloban Airport repairs ongoing
Tacloban Airport was heavily damaged by the typhoon, but it now boasts a refurbished passenger terminal building with new floors and ceilings, walls, windows and doors, finishings, and other furniture. New safety and security equipment including four x-ray machines and four walk-through metal detectors have also been installed.
The airport’s Administration and Project Management Office (PMO) buildings have also been rehabilitated, while the fire station and perimeter fence reconstruction is ongoing.
Asphalt overlaying of Tacloban Airport’s runway is currently being undertaken, temporarily limiting operations to small aircraft. Due to the deterioration of the runway, several carriers suspended jet service to Tacloban for safety reasons, with the CAAP later restricting it to turboprop-only service until repairs were completed.
Abaya said that despite being subject to rains and inclement weather, the repairs are being expedited in order to accommodate large aircraft by January 2015.
The total cost of the Tacloban Airport improvements is P43.65 million.
Meanwhile, three other badly-hit airports have already been completely rehabilitated, the DOTC said. These are the Kalibo International Airport in Aklan, which was completed last April; the Roxas Airport in Capiz, completed last June; and the Busuanga Airport, which was fully rehabilitated just last month.
The Kalibo and Busuanga airports cater to tourists visiting the country’s renowned beaches, while the Roxas airport serves over 200,000 passengers per year as a main gateway to the whole island of Panay.
Besides the improvements elsewhere, the CAAP is also conducting rehabilitation projects for the Ormoc and Guiuan Airports.
In terms of maritime projects, 14 ports have also been completely rehabilitated at a total cost of P41.2 million, the DOTC said. These projects involved various civil works such as the construction of access roads and storage facilities, and the rehabilitation of causeways and seawalls.
The rehabilitated ports are Naval in Biliran; Danao, San Carlos, and Pulupandan in Negros Occidental; Coron, Culion, Cuyo, and El Nido in Palawan; Matnog in Sorsogon; Legazpi, Tabaco, and Pasacao in Albay; Maasin in Southern Leyte; and Santa Fe Port in Bantayan, Cebu.
Abaya explained that the DOTC and PPA have a total 44 more port rehabilitation projects which are either ongoing or in the pipeline. The Cebu Ports Authority has one remaining project for Poro Port, and the Philippine Coast Guard has an additional 14 projects lined up.
Two Land Transportation Office buildings are also currently being rehabilitated in Naval and Ormoc, while three others will follow in Carigara, Palompon, and Tacloban. In addition, the Tacloban office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board is also set to be rehabilitated, the DOTC said.