Bukidnon chamber pushes airport, ecozone projects

VALENCIA CITY(MindaNews/20 July)– Aside from the establishment of a domestic airport in Bukidnon, the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (Kaamulan Chamber) is pushing for the creation of a special economic zone in the province.

Roderico Bioco, Kaamulan Chamber president, said during the group’s 4th general membership meeting Friday that one of the priority projects pushed by the chamber, with the reactivation of the Bukidnon Investment and Export Promotion Board, is the construction of a domestic airport in the province.

“Laguindingan (Airport) is too far, even Davao (Francisco Bangoy International Airport),” he said, noting that Bukidnon has no airport when it has “more vibrant economic activities” than the cities of Ozamis and Pagadian, both with airports.

With around 200 participants to the meeting, Bioco said the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has conferred with the chamber regarding the feasibility study as directed by Malacanang.

He stressed that the most important factor in developing a new airport is land acquisition that can accommodate standard runway and other necessary airstrip facilities.

Last April, Raul Glorioso, CAAP’s manager for aerodrome engineering unit, told MindaNews the proposed project was still at the feasibility study stage but expected to be finished this month.

Thereafter, the agency will come up with recommendations, including possible sources of funding, he added.

Glorioso identified Barangay Cabangahan in Malaybalay City, Barangay Dabongdabong in Valencia City and Don Carlos town as the potential sites for the airport.

He said they have already inspected the three sites during the April 3-4 visit of the team, which includes a representative from Philjac, Inc. and Science Vision for Technology.

Science Vision was tasked to conduct the feasibility study titled the “Bukidnon Airport Development Project.”

The study seeks to determine the air travel demand for Bukidnon, identify the most suitable site for a new airport, and check the most effective and efficient way to serve the air travel requirements “not only of Bukidnon but as well as of the Central Mindanao area.”

Bioco said the Kaamulan Chamber is also pushing for the creation of a special economic zone duly accredited by the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA).

This will lay the ground for the development of PEZA-accredited BPO (business process outsourcing) investments in the province, he said.

He said the BPO industry plays a “critical role” in absorbing new graduates, citing as example Bacolod City, where the BPO industry reportedly absorbs about five percent of the fresh graduates.

But Bioco noted that the province still needs reliable power supply and good telecommunication facilities, among others, to compete with other provinces in attracting BPO locators. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)