LEGAZPI CITY:President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to lead groundbreaking for the long-delayed construction of the P4.8-billion Bicol International Airport in Barangay Alobo, Daraga town on December 8.
Rep. Alfredo Garbin of Ako Bicol party-list group said the President will be in Albay to push through with the major project after 12 years of postponement spanning the terms of former presidents Gloria Arroyo and Benigno Aquino 3rd.
The international airport was Arroyo’s flagship project in Bicol to boost tourism and economic development in Southern Luzon but was not realized after former Albay governor and now Rep. Joey Salceda abandoned the administration candidate to support the Aquino in the 2010 polls.
The project was, however, pursued by the Aquino administration but it did not materialize again because the snail-paced release of its budget enraged Bicolanos who accused former Transportation and Communications secretary Emilio Abaya Jr. of not making it a priority.
Bicol’s international airport was initiated by the Regional Development Council during the term of Gov. Al Francis Bichara until early 2000.
After his reelection as Albay governor last May, Bichara noticed technical lapses in the approved plan that do not fit international standards and asked the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to revise it.
He was disgusted after finding out in the plan that the airport is without taxiways and passengers’ tube.
RHAYDZ B. BARCIA