Release of funds for GenSan airport upgrading urged

In a report, the RDC’s project monitoring committee stressed that the airport here needs to upgrade its existing power supply equipment in order to stabilize its operations.

“The allocation was first approved in the 2005 budget but the ATO central office has yet to deliver the funds,” the committee noted.

Alfredo Hebrona Jr., a member of the committee, said ATO officials are reportedly not keen on releasing the funds for the airport and are instead working on using it for other purposes.

He said the ATO central office wants the funds realigned to the ATO office in Davao City.

Nathaniel Nazareno, airport manager here, confirmed that the ATO central office has made a request to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to utilize the funds for other concerns. But he said the DBM has not yet acted on the said request.

“We asked the RDC’s help to lobby with our central office to facilitate the immediate release of the funds,” he said.

Nazareno said the allocation was specifically intended for the installation of an automatic transfer switch for the airport complex.

He said they consider the equipment as a vital requirement to ensure the stability of the airport’s power supply during power outages.

“The automatic transfer switch will facilitate the transfer of our power connection from the regular power source to our generation system and vice versa during power failure,” he added.

The RDC’s project monitoring committee also urged the government to facilitate the further improvement of the airport facilities to help encourage other domestic and international airlines to use the facility.

The airport currently service two flights to Manila daily with jet planes from the Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines. Another domestic carrier, Cebu Pacific, is set to open its direct flights to Manila on October 2.

The 600-hectare airport, completed in 1996 through the United States Agency for International Development, is among the biggest and most modern airports in the country.

The ATO said the airport is considered as an international-standard airport, equipped with modern navigational aids. Its 3,200-meter x 45-meter runway is capable of handling Airbus 300 and other wide-bodied jets like the Boeing 747. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)