TACLOBAN CITY — The long-aspired P716-million Tacloban Airport terminal building construction project will proceed this year, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) assured local officials here Thursday.
DOTr Project Management Service Director Eduardo Mangalili said their office will bid out soon the contract for coming up with detailed engineering design to make the facility at par with global standards.
“The project will push through. It’s already in the General Appropriations Act. The budget intended for Tacloban Airport will not be used for other airports,” Mangalili told members of the Regional Development Council’s infrastructure and utilities development committee.
The official said they’re looking at joining the contract for design and construction to ensure obligation of budget within the year.
Under the DOTr’s original timetable, the terminal building construction is up for bidding in June this year.
The target is to complete the full development of the city’s airport within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The transportation department backed the development of the city’s airport, considering that it is the seventh busiest airport in the country with 1.2 million passengers last year.
To complement the building of new permanent terminal building, the government had set aside in 2014 some P142.56 million for the relocation of affected families.
The relocation activity is 48.58 percent complete and the target completion is July 2018, according to Mangalili.
Last year, the DOTr released P264.93 million to finance asphalt overlays, a newly designed parking area, shore protection, and site development for the new terminal building, including the construction of a perimeter fence.
For 2019, the proposed budget is P50 million to support the multi-year implementation of control tower and operation building construction.
Early this year, the government unveiled the P17 million expanded terminal building for use, pending the completion of the permanent terminal building.
The expansion increased the total floor area to 1,100 sq. meters and added 275 seats to the 360-seater departure area before the extension.
The central government conceptualized the upgrading of Tacloban Airport as early as May 1996 when the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) carried out a master plan on the development of the airports of Tacloban, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Legazpi.
This is in support of the Philippine government’s thrust to modernize transportation infrastructure and facilities and promote exports by air in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (1993-1998).
The project has faced several setbacks for two decades, including the government’s inability to provide a counterpart budget to the JICA-funded project during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In November 2012, former president Benigno Aquino III approved the P2.12 billion Tacloban Airport Development Project supposedly for implementation between 2013 and 2016.
The concreting of the new apron and taxiway were completed in 2014.
However, the terminal building construction failed to push through with the diversion of the P718.75-million fund for the Tacloban Airport to the Disbursement Acceleration Program.