LEGAZPI CITY: Gov. Joey Salceda warned of the possibility that the province may dump Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Mar Roxas for the failure of the administration to finish the much trumpeted Bicol International Airport here.
“If Mar Roxas will lose in Albay in the May 2016 election, it’s their (LP) problem because they did not fulfill the construction of Bicol International Airport as promised,” the governor said.
Salceda, the Party provincial chairman, said he is not blaming President Benigno Aquino 3rd for the unfinished project but pointed to Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya’s failure to award its construction to the winning bidders, causing the snail-paced construction.
“I’m not blaming the President but the DOTC. It was Secretary Abaya’s lapses which now has a domino effect on the candidacy of Mar Roxas. I’m confused already as I’ve been doing several follow-ups as chairman of the Regional Development Council. The same action has been done by our Bicolano solons but to no avail,” Salceda lamented.
Salceda said because of the delay, Phase 2-A of the project for horizontal construction already lapsed, while the awarding of P1.7 billion intended for the terminals was put on hold by the DOTC for unknown reasons despite a winning bidder.
During his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) Aquino said that the international airport will be initially operational in 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2016 for full swing operation.
The P3.5 billion Bicol International Airport was a flagship project of former President Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo and pursued by Aquino.
The DBM already released P150 million for its development under the 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA). A total of P2.1 billion has been spent from 2007 to 2012 for the earthwork, right-of-way acquisition, access road construction, and preliminary detailed engineering.
“How can I campaign for Roxas when the Albayanos are losing trust because of the DOTC’s failure to follow through President Aquino’s vital project in Bicol despite the availability of funds?” Salceda said.
Earlier, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the DOTC will finish the construction by the end of Aquino’s term to push further economic development in the region.