Lack of logistics, manpower delays GenSan airport rehab

Rehabilitation of the General Santos International Airport is expected to help boost the economy of Region 12. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/29 May) – The ongoing P452-million expansion and rehabilitation of the city international airport’s passenger terminal building is facing a major delay reportedly due to logistical problems and limited manpower.

Edgardo Cueto, manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) here, said their latest assessment showed that development works for the project could stretch until next year, way beyond its original completion schedule this June.

He said the project’s contractor, joint venture firms Vicente T. Lao Construction and C.B. Garay Philwide Builders Inc., already incurred “huge slippage” based on the two-year contract duration.

A “slippage” refers to the delay or failure to meet a deadline by the contractor in the implementation of a project contract.

Cueto said the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the project’s implementing agency, considered the contractor’s request for a three-month extension or until September to complete the project.

But he doubts whether the contracted firms would be able to meet the new completion target based on the current progress and pace of the construction works.

“Morag dili (seems unlikely),” Cueto said in an interview over radio station Brigada News FM here.

Citing their coordination meetings with the contractor, he said its representatives blamed the delays to the late delivery of imported steel and pre-fabricated materials from China and problems with the manpower pool.

He said some of the workers commissioned by the construction firms for the project reportedly last only about a week for various reasons.

Cueto said the contractor was not able to start the project on time as set in April 2017 due to CAAP’s stringent security requirements for the workers.

He said the workers were mainly required to submit clearances from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and their barangays as well as undergo drug tests.

Some of those who were “hit” or flagged by the NBI for possible derogatory records did not return to work, he said.

In line with the project’s extension, the official said the DOTr has required the contractor to submit a catch-up plan for the construction works.

He said the plan was already accomplished and will be presented in a meeting next month with officials from its central office.

The expansion and rehabilitation of the passenger terminal building was part of the P959 million funding approved by the DOTr in 2015 for the upgrading and improvement of the city airport.

The project includes the expansion of the airport’s terminal building’s arrival and pre-departure area and the improvement of basic facilities; upgrading of water supply facilities; upgrading of navigational aids; and, improvement of various support facilities, among its the power plant.

The city airport, which is classified by CAAP as an alternate international airport, has not undergone any major repair since it opened in 1996.

Once completed, Cueto said the city airport will be among the most modern and “comparable” to other domestic airports in the country like those in Iloilo, Bacolod and Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental. (MindaNews)