RDC endorses 5 site options for new airport as gov’t prepares for expansion of DIA

Posted on July 10, 2017

The Davao International Airport is among the projects under the administration’s P8.4-trillion “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure initiative. Photo of DIA by Carmencita A. Carillo
DAVAO CITY -- A list of five potential sites for a second international airport in Davao has been endorsed by the Regional Development Council (RDC) to the Department of Transportation (DoTr) as the national government prepares to bankroll the expansion of the Davao International Airport (DIA). Maria Lourdes D. Lim, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Region 11 director and vice chair of the RDC, said the proposed locations are: Tagum City, Davao del Norte; Callawa in Davao City; the border area of Davao City and Panabo City; Samal Island; and Sta. Maria, Davao del Sur.

“As far as our homework is concerned, natapos na ’yan sa region (RDC has completed it). We have created a technical working group and the team has gone around these five sites and ranked these alternative sites,” Ms. Lim said Friday during the RDC’s launching of the Davao Regional Development Plan (DRDP) 2017-2022.

It is now up to the DoTr, she added, to conduct further studies.

Meanwhile, the expansion of the DIA, also known as the Francisco Bangoy International airport located in Davao City, is expected to be rolled out soon as the national government has taken it off the public-private partnership (PPP) lineup and included it in the list of projects for public funding.

The DIA is among the projects under the administration’s P8.4-trillion “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure initiative. It will be bankrolled by national government resources and official development assistance (ODA).

“This will expand the services of Davao International Airport. One of the components of the airport project is the construction of the parallel runway to avoid congestion,” Ms. Lim said, noting that some flights now have to wait in the air for its turn to use the single runway.

Davao del Norte Governor Anthony G. del Rosario, chair of the RDC, said even with the DIA’s expansion, another airport that is at least an hour away, would be needed for the long term.

“In the long run, we don’t want to make the same mistake that happened in Metro Manila with NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) wherein they set up four terminals in the same airport... the correct thing to do is to build another,” Mr. Del Rosario said.

“Tagum is ideal because number one it is one hour away, and the Mindanao Railway (is coming), the first phase is Tagum-Davao-Digos. Obviously it would be easier for passengers coming from (the) south going to Tagum in order to catch a plane. The railway is very strategic and we’re looking at it in the future of putting up another airport,” he added.

Another big-ticket project under the DRDP is the construction of the Davao-Samal Bridge.

Ms. Lim said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is taking the lead on this now through a “full-blown feasibility study beginning this year.”

The pre-feasibility study completed in December 2016 indicates economic viability for this, she added.

Other major projects lined up are the P24.5-billion Davao City expressway, also under the DPWH, which the Chinese government has expressed interest to finance through a concessional loan.

“The FS is ongoing and hopefully will be completed September this year. This will have three phases and is going to be designed as an elevated highway that will ease up traffic congestion through the main thoroughfare of Davao City,” Ms. Lim said.

The shelved Davao-Sasa Port modernization project under the PPP will also be pursued with funding from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) budget at an estimated cost of P6.5 billion.

For the bypass road traversing the northern part of Davao City, Ms. Lim said the detailed engineering and design is scheduled to be completed this year and construction is expected to start in 2018. The bypass, with a 2.2 kilometer tunnel component, will be partly funded by ODA from the Japanese government.

Ms. Lim said they are also anticipating the Davao Food Exchange Complex in Toril, Davao City to be fully pursued by the National Development Company with an estimated budget of P500 million. The facility is intended to serve as a trading hub for farmers in the region, with cold storage and light industry processing plants. -- Maya M. Padillo