Biz leader calls on Congress to pass bill creating Davao International Airport Authority

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 June) – A business leader in Mindanao has called on the House of Representatives to pass into law House Bill 2002 which seeks to create a Davao International Airport Authority as he emphasized the need to decentralize the management of the airport from the national government to enable a faster implementation of development works.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) trustee Arturo Milan told a press briefing Wednesday that the management of the airport cannot implement projects on its own because it is dependent on the national government.

The Francisco Bangoy International Airport. MindaNews file photo by Bobby Timonera

He said the government can replicate the model of Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority “to make Davao City airport inviting” to both tourists and business executives vising the city.

Milan said if the “authority”, a body that will be created in aid of legislation, takes over the management, it can immediately plan out development projects and implement them on its own.

The F. Bangoy International Airport, also known as the Davao International Airport, is currently being managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

“When it is ‘authority’, the Davao International Airport will have flexibility rather than the current set up wherein you depend so much on the national. It’s really a must now, if we want a more responsive Davao airport,” he said.

Even as the airport will be under a rehabilitation program using national government funds, Milan said not much will be changed unless the management will be placed under an “authority.”

“We need to upgrade our airport because it is where the first contact of the investors is. They need to have a good impression of our region by way of our airport terminal. We are pushing to improve our airport. Overall passenger experience has to be improved a lot, in terms of aircon, ventilation, and X-ray machines. They have to work efficiently all the time,” he said.

In a release dated November 1, 2016 and published on Congress.gov.ph, the House Committee on government enterprises and privatization has approved House Bill 2002, authored by Deputy Speaker and Davao City’s second district representative Mylene Garcia-Albano, that seeks to create the Davao International Airport Authority (DIAA) that will administer and operate the Francisco Bangoy International Airport, also known as the Davao International Airport.

Garcia-Albano said the creation of the DIAA will have a positive effect on the economic development of Davao City and the Davao Region.

“The DIAA creation will substantially contribute to the quest of the Davao Region to emerge as the premier socio-economic tourism center not only in the Philippines but also in the Asia-Pacific Region. Furthermore, the DIAA creation will also spur further economic growth of the surrounding provinces in Mindanao,” she said.

The airport “serves as the gateway to the sub-regional trade block known as East Asean Growth Area which is the center of economic cooperation in Southeast Asia that aims to accelerate trade, tourism and investment among its participating member countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.”

Once passed, the DIAA “shall be responsible for the repair and maintenance of all airport assets and equipment transferred to the DIAA by the Act, including but not limited to navigational aids, primary and secondary approach radars, instrument landing system, approach runway taxi clearance, and all the communication facilities necessary for the efficient operation of the FBIA.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)

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