TACLOBAN CITY– The provincial government of Northern Samar has approached the Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. (AIC) to help fund their proposed new airport.
The proposal was made by Northern Samar Governor Edwin Ongchuan during his meeting with some executives of the AIC, the infrastructure arm of the Aboitiz Company, last Jan.25.
“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),” Ongchuan said in a statement.
It was learned that the AIC has welcomed the possibility of constructing a new airport in the province as they have scheduled to conduct an ocular inspection and would have their feasibility study on the proposal.
The AIC has recently bought the Mactan-Cebu International Airport as it also submitted proposals before the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to operate and maintain some regional airports like those in Bohol.
Gov. Ongchuan has welcomed private companies to invest in his province as a way to stimulate its economy which could open to job opportunities.
He also disclosed that his proposal to have a new airport in his province got the support of the NEDA though due to lack of funding has yet to materialize.
It was learned that the proposed airport site is in Pambujan, a town 37 kms away from the provincial capital of Catarman, where the current airport of the airport is located.
However, with the projected increase in air travelers and to accommodate bigger commercial planes, the provincial government wants to relocate Catarman Airport to Pambujan.
The provincial government owns about 100 hectares in Pambujan where a proposed airport could be constructed.
The Catarman Airport is also located within a military reserve area, another factor why expanding the facility may prove to be a challenge.
Last year, about 22,661 used the Catarman Airport which offers twice-a-week travel from Manila.
In addition to the airport construction, Ongchuan has also asked the Philippine Airlines (PAL) about adding more flights to the province.
(ROEL T.AMAZONA/LIZBETH ANN A. ABELLA)