NEW NORTHERN SAMAR AIRPORT? Governor Edwin Ongchuan(center), joined by Vice Gov. Clarence Dato(right), held a meeting with officials of the Aboitiz InfraCapital for the possible construction of a new airport in the province. The meeting was facilitated by Board of Investments.

CATARMAN, Northern Samar– The Conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., through its subsidiary Aboitiz InfraCapital, has been approached by the provincial government of Northern Samar to explore the feasibility of constructing a state-of-the-art airport to meet future demands.

This initiative was facilitated by the Board of Investments (BOI), and a meeting was held on January 25, 2024, between Governor Edwin C. Ongchuan and executives from Aboitiz InfraCapital.

The BOI, represented by Executive Director Atty. Bobby Fondevilla and Director Ernesto de los Reyes of its Investment Assistance Services, presented the idea of establishing a new airport in Northern Samar to prepare for the projected increase in tourism.

This development comes as renewable energy companies express their interest in investing in Northern Samar.

Director Ernesto de los Reyes stated, “We have been collaborating closely with the Northern Samar PEDIPO as numerous Renewable Energy (RE) companies approach us to connect them with the Provincial Government of Northern Samar.”

Gov. Ongchuan inquired about how Aboitiz InfraCapital would recoup its investment, to which Atty. Ferdinand Tolentino, the adviser for external affairs of Aboitiz InfraCapital, said that “airport projects generate revenue from commercial sources.”

He referred to these as “non-aero or commercial revenues”. Additionally, Aboitiz Infra has devised a robust business plan for its airport projects to ensure their commercial viability.
Despite their significant investment in airport projects, Aboitiz InfraCapital remains open to pursuing other infrastructure initiatives based on the needs of the communities they serve.
Director Eleazar Ricote of the PPP Center shared that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 11966, known as the PPP Code of the Philippines, in December. This new law has streamlined and expedited the project approval process.

“For local projects, the framework is simple. Regardless of project costs, local government units (LGUs) may initiate their own PPPs with the approval of the local Sanggunian,” added Ricote.

Gov. Ongchuan revealed that the proposal for the new airport in Pambujan has already received endorsement from NEDA. However, the CAAP and the DOTr have yet to secure funding for the project.

“As a user of the Catarman airport, I believe that the best way to expedite the construction of a future-ready airport in Northern Samar is through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP)” stated Governor Ongchuan.

In addition to the airport construction, Gov.Ongchuan has engaged in discussions with executives from Philippine Airlines (PAL) about adding more flights to the province.(THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF NORTHERN SAMAR)