DOTr to establish two new airports in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Oct) – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will establish two new airports in Mindanao.

The Zamboanga International Airport at Moret Field in Barangay Canelar. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro said on Tuesday that the construction of the New Zamboanga International Airport and the Central Mindanao Airport Development Project in Barangay Tawantawan, M’lang municipality, Cotabato province would cost the government P13.93 billion and P150 million, respectively.

He said that around P200 million was already downloaded to the local government of Zamboanga City for the acquisition of the airport site in Barangay Mercedes, but actual construction has yet to commence.

Zamboanga City has an existing international airport located in Moret Field in Barangay Canelar.

MinDA Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, in a post on his social media account, said that the New Zamboanga International Airport was a commitment project of the Philippines to the Brunei, Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

BIMP-EAGA is a 25-year-old sub-regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia designed to spur economic development in the lagging sub-economies.

The new airport project, which will feature a new terminal, six jet bridges, and a modern control tower, will have a 3,440-meter runway to accommodate heavier aircraft, according to Piñol.

Construction will start next year, he said.

For the Central Mindanao Airport Development Project, Montenegro said the government already commenced the construction of the perimeter and frangible fence last June while the constructions of the taxiway and apron expansion, which cost P92 million, are already 26.6-percent completed.

He added there is an ongoing coordination between the DOTr-Soccsksargen area development office and provincial government of Cotabato for the establishment of Inter-Agency Monitoring and Advisory Committee.

Mindanao is composed of Caraga Region, Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Piñol said the project, which was identified as a priority project to promote inclusive and balanced rural development in Mindanao, would complement the operation of General Santos City International Airport and Awang Airport in the municipality of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, boosting “economic activities of the area where many agricultural products, including highly perishable fruits, come from.”

He said the Central Mindanao Airport would be operational before President Rodrigo R. Duterte would step down in 2022.

The Central Mindanao Airport will serve the provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and the southern towns of Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon, he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)