TACLOBAN CITY- The “abrupt” closure of the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport, this city on July 9 had resulted for several passengers to be stranded, seething in anger and frustration.

“We were not informed that there will be no flights today. We could have rescheduled our flight so we will not be stranded here,” said Maria Bautista, 74, one of the several stranded passengers.

Bautista, on the day of the temporary closure of the airport, was bound for Manila en route to her home in Olongapo City. She and brother, Lucas Galangue, 59, visited a sickly brother, Ricardo, 63, in Basey, Samar.

The siblings were supposed to take the 1:20 p.m. Cebu Pacific flight.

The DZR Airport, located at San Jose District, was shut down for operations started at 5 a.m. on July 9 but to be operational again following day. The one-day closure of the DZR Airport, Eastern Visayas main airport, was due to the potholes located within the 2.2 kms runway of the airport, said Allan Cahingcoy, officer-in-charge of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines(CAAP).

“We ask for understanding of our passengers but at the same time, we cannot afford to comprise their safety and the planes using the airport,” Cahingcoy said. He, however, stressed that before the closure, which took effect around 5 p.m. on July 9, after the last flight, that they went to several local radio and television outlets to announce the closure.

“This is just a one-day closure of the airport due to the repair of our runway,” he said adding that the airline companies using the airport were informed on this. Cahingcoy said that some of the potholes at the runway are big enough to fit in the landing gears of the airplanes. He said that there are 60 potholes, as big as 5X10 feet and four inches deep, that need to be covered by asphalt. These potholes were seen in the runway for months now and were aggravated with the arrival of several big C-130 military planes from other countries and even a C-17 from the United States at the height of assistance due to Super Typhoon Yolanda.
The DZR Airport which serves the Manila and Cebu routes with 13 daily flights. (JOEY A. GABIETA)