LEGAZPI CITY: Malacañang on Thursday had good news and bad news regarding the P4.7-billion Bicol International Airport.
The good news is that the said airport will finally open in 2016 when President Aquino ends his term, according to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)
The bad news is that it won’t open in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in 2015 where Albay is one of the hosts.
In spite of this, the local business community is still hoping that P-Noy would reconsider the early completion of the airport that is strategically situated atop the hilly Barangay Alobo in Daraga town.
Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda, who lobbied for the inclusion of the province as one of the hosts of the APEC meeting, said that Albayanos were eager to see the airport open so tourists could flock to the nearby Misibis Resort in Bacacay town.
The APEC summit will hold its initial ministerial meeting in December 2014 to be followed by committee gatherings in November 2015.
P-Noy said earlier that the airport was a viable and urgent project and he looked forward to its early completion after international flights were suspended following bad weather conditions in the country.
Salceda quoted Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez as saying that the President wants the airport to operate 24 hours a day seven days a week.
DBM Secretary Butch Abad said the project would certainly boost the region’s economic growth. He said that a total of P2.1 billion has been released since the project started in 2007. This year, P450 million has been allocated so far for the airport, he added.
A project of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the airport resumed construction after the DOTC certified its necessity and viability.