Modernization of Davao airport may not happen during Duterte’s term

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 July) – The long-awaited modernization plan for the Davao International Airport worth P40.57 billion may not happen soon as President Rodrigo R. Duterte said “Davao will be the last” among the airport development projects his administration plans to accomplish in the second half of his term.

The Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, circa 2005. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

During his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City Monday, Duterte apologized to the Dabawenyos if the modernization of Mindanao’s busiest airport will not be materialized under his term.

The President said he wants to give way for the construction of airport projects in other provinces so that he would not be accused of favoring the airport development project of Davao, where he served as mayor for 22 years.

“Kung hindi na maabutan, sabi ko mga taga-Davao, pasensya na kayo. Para walang masabi ang Congress sa atin, baka nga 3% sila doon sa kabila (If we can’t make it right in time, I will ask for apology from the people of Davao. So that nobody in Congress can say anything, maybe 3% of them belongs to the opposition),” he said.

Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corporation of Davao-based business tycoon Dennis Uy, one of Duterte’s campaign funders during May 2016 presidential race, had submitted an unsolicited proposal for the multi-billion Davao International Airport Development Project on May 28, 2018 and had been granted by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) with “original proponent status” for the operation, maintenance, and expansion of the airport.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivering his State of the Nation Address in Congress. Screengrab from RTVM.

Uy is the chairman and founder of Chealsea Logistics Holdings Corporation, which provides marine shipping services, transporting passengers, cargos, petroleum, oil, chemicals, and other bulk products, according to Bloomberg.

It added the company promised to “offer a new technology to enhance passenger experience and an airport operator which captures data to deliver efficient operations.”

The DOTr also reported that 17 commercial projects were completed and 28 more ongoing in the first half of the Duterte administration, highlighting the importance of connectivity and mobility in transport as key components in socio-economic development.

Duterte also praised his economic team, led by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, for creating new economic hubs outside Metro Manila through the projects under the “Build, Build, Build,” a flagship massive infrastructure program of the government. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)