GENERAL SANTOS CITY: Local officials wants the long-delayed rehabilitation of the city airport here to be included in the national government’s infrastructure initiatives for next year.
In a resolution, the city council on Tuesday asked the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to prioritize the repair and renovation of the city airport under the 2015 Infrastructure Program.
It said the required repair and renovation works were detailed in a study conducted by a multi–sectoral task force earlier created for the development and improvement of the General Santos City International Airport.
City Councilor Arturo Cloma, chair of the council’s public works and infrastructure committee, said the task force had conducted a series of evaluations on the airport, specifically on the status of its existing facilities and basic operational requirements.
He said it established significant inadequacies at the airport, specifically with its deteriorating terminal building and other basic amenities of an international-standard facility.
The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Region 12, which supported the task force, noted in its development plan the need for the immediate upgrading and improvement of the city airport.
“Despite being categorized as an international airport, the General Santos Airport still lacks facilities to make it at par with international standards,” it said.
The council said passengers presently have to deal with a lot of inconvenience in boarding and disembarking the airplane and walk some length under the heat of the sun.
It said that even the trolleys which are supposed to be a necessity for moving luggage are used by passengers for a fee.
“The airport needs a jet bridge, an enclosed, movable connector which extends from the airport terminal gate to the airplane that will allow passengers to board and disembark without having to go outside,” the RDC-12 said.
Trolleys and other airport facilities should be made available for free considering that passengers already pay terminal fees,” the council said.
Cloma said the council, after comprehensive deliberations in committee and plenary sessions, deemed it necessary to endorse the findings and recommendations of the task force, which was assisted by the Socsksargen Area Development Project’s management unit.
“In order to address the long-time clamor of the general public for the timely or speedy implementation of repair and renovation of the city international airport, it is highly necessary to give it a special priority through the strong support and facilitation of the DOTC and the DBM,” he said.
The General Santos City International Airport, which is classified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) as an alternate international airport, mainly serves the air transport requirements of the greater part of Region 12 or the Soccsksargen region.
The region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.