NEW ORMOC AIRPORT — Strong candidate for Speakership and Leyte (1st District Martin Romualdez (right) joins the inauguration of new Ormoc Airport in Ormoc City led by President Rodrigo Duterte (center); with from left Sen. Bong Go; Presidential for the Visayas Sec. Michael Dino; Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade; Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez; Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez and another government official. (contributed photo)

ORMOC CITY – The reopening of the Ormoc City Airport will open door for the development the tourism industry of this city and its neighboring areas which are part of the so-called Northwest Leyte Tourism Corridor.
President Rodrigo Duterte formally opened the Ormoc City Airport on July 5 and joined by Department of Transportation(DoTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, Presidential Assistant to the Visayas Michael Diño, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines(CAAP) Director General Captain Jim Sydiongco, Leyte Rep.Lucy Torres Gomez(4th district),and Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.
Karina Rosa Tiopes, regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT), said that with the opening of the city airport, tourists need not used the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport in Tacloban, about two hours away from this city.
Thus, she said, areas within the Northwest Leyte Tourism Corridor would now be accessible to tourists, she said.
“Access and connectivity is really crucial for Philippine tourism because we are an archipelago,” Tiopes said.
“A new airport that can service wider aircraft is a positive development for us because this means that we now develop a new connectivity with a new gateway in the other side of Leyte that will service the tourism side in part of Northwest Leyte,” the tourism regional director added.
Most of the popular tourist destinations Leyte are located on its northwestern.
Among these are the Lake Danao, Tongonan Hot Spring and Alto Peak, Kalanggaman Island, and Cuatro Islas.
Except for a flying school, the airport has yet to accommodate commercial airline since December, 2018 due to low traffic.
The Ormoc City Airport sustained major damages due to the devastation of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in 2013 and a major earthquake four years later.
The national government through the DOTr allocated P34-million for the rehabilitation of the terminal building and another budget worth P82-million was allocated for asphalt overlay of runway and another P55-million for runway widening project which is expected to be completed by 2020.
Sec. Tugade said that target of their agency and CAAP to make the airport a night-rated before the end of President Duterte’s term.
A night-rated airport is capable of launching and receiving flights at night, allowing the facility to accommodate flights even nighttime, resulting for more travel option.
“The promise of our aviation sector is before our President’s term ends, this airport will be night-rated,” Tugade said.
Rep. Gomez welcomes this announcement of Sec. Tugade saying that she is very happy for the national government action of her constant request to rehabilitate the city airport and to make the facility capable of night flights.
“That is why Sec. Tugade is one of our favorite secretaries because he is always sincere in helping and he always has good news with him,” Rep. Gomez said.
Gomez added that with the reopening of the city airport, their next step is to invite airline companies to operate in Ormoc.
“It is always part of the plan. It will energize the economy and people who are from the city and its neighboring areas will no longer have to travel to Tacloban because we have an operational airport in Ormoc,” the lady solon said. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)