MALAYBALAY CITY (MIndaNews/31 August) – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has recommended the development of the existing airstrip in Maray-maray, Don Carlos, Bukidnon into an international airport.
Bukidnon Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. revealed this Thursday in a meeting with members of the Bukidnon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BKCCI).
Citing the CAAP’s technical report, a source said the airport, when developed, can accommodate up to 4C type of aircrafts like Boeing 737 or Airbus 320. The report has also recommended the conduct of a feasibility study to determine the economic viability of the proposed project.
Zubiri said an initial P100 million has been earmarked by the Department of Transportation and Communications for the proposed project.
But he said he learned that an additional P150 million is needed for the project to proceed.
The BKCCI has backed the development of an airport in Bukidnon.
Roberto Tinsay, BKCCI vice president for membership, said they are pushing for it for the benefit of business and development in the province.
“It will boost business in Bukidnon and change the landscape of the business environment in the province,” said Manny James Cudal, chair of the Bukidnon Micro-Small-Medium Enterprise Development Council.
“If you have a fast delivery of good s and services, you have faster returns of investment,” he added.
Cudal said that while the airport needs a big investment, “the return of investment could trickle down to the people.”
“It will pave the way to easier transportation access especially with the transfer of airport operations,” he added, referring to the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental, which is still under construction.
Maite Abellanosa, point person for tourism at the BKCCI, said the transfer of airport operations from Cagayan de Oro (CDO) to Laguindingan is disadvantageous to Bukidnon because it increases travel time and cost.
Malaybalay to CDO is about 104 kilometers and takes at least one and a half hours by land travel, according to the website of the provincial government of Bukidnon. CDO to Laguindingan, on the other hand, is reportedly about 30 minutes apart.
Abellano said it is difficult to promote Bukidnon without its own airport.
(Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)