RHAYDZ B. BARCIA DARAGA, Albay: President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to finish construction of the P4.8-billion Bicol International Airport terminal within three years “without corruption.”
“Bicol International Airport will be finished within two to three years. You’re lucky because you have two airports. In my time, it will be finished without corruption,” Duterte told The Manila Times in an interview here.
He expressed admiration at the picturesque scenery where the international airport will be put up with Mount Mayon–regarded as the world’s perfect volcano–as a backdrop.
“Bicolandia is very lucky, you have precious jewel Mount Mayon like a Miss Universe. That alone will give you enough tourists with the beauty of Mayon Volcano,” the President said.
Duterte flew to Legazpi City on Thursday at 3 p.m. and proceeded shortly to Barangay Alobo, Daraga town to lead ground-breaking for the building of the international airport terminal and other site developments under Package 2A here.
The President said the completion of the international airport in Bicol will boost the region’s economy and nearby regions as well as it will bring in more tourists to the countryside and spawn development.
The construction of the Bicol International Airport terminal has been delayed for over a decade because of the snail-paced release of funds under previous administrations.
Rep. Joey Salceda (2nd District) said under Duterte leadership, the project was awarded in just four months without delay, compared to the three years in the past to bid out the project.
“In just four months, the Duterte administration was able to award the project without delay and gave it the green light to expedite the construction. We’re very thankful to the President for his care for Bicol’s development. This is good for Bicol and will make us a hub” Salceda added.
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara said the original plan for the terminal of the Bicol International Airport has been revised under the new Transportation secretary, Arturo Tugade, making it compliant with international standards.
Under the revised plan, Bichara added, the new airport terminal in Albay provides for escalators specifically for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
“After discussing the defects of the [original]plan, they agreed to revise the plan. I was able to talk to the President about this and it has to be an international airport [that can]accommodate travellers 50 years from now,” according to the governor.
He said Tugade promised to expedite the construction to finish it before Duterte’s term ends as a priority project.
“There’s money available in Congress appropriated already. The delayed construction is a blessing in disguise because we’re able to revise the plan and correct the defects to fit international standards as the old plan is outmoded,” Bichara noted.
He said the exisiting Legazpi City airport has become crowded for tourists.
Before leaving Alobo to attend the 7th Federalism anniversary event organized by Dante Jimenez, convenor of the federalism movement here, the President pose for a picture with Mount Mayon as a backdrop.