BY DIANE CLAIRE J. JIAO, Senior Reporter

Budget for DoTC’s PPP projects released

Posted on September 14, 2012

THE BUDGET department has released P4.6 billion to support the public-private partnership (PPP) projects of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC).

"The release will support the improvement or creation of more gateways into the Philippines, given the administration’s campaign to cement our position as a prime tourist and investment hub," Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in a statement yesterday. "The projects identified under the fund release will directly support this initiative, primarily through the much-needed rehabilitation and development of key airports across the country," he added.

Of the total, P2 billion will go to the development of the New Legazpi airport, located in Daraga, Albay, specifically funding the engineering of runways and taxiways.

Another P1.64 billion will be used to rehabilitate Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, as the maintenance activities have been deferred for several years.

The budget release will fund the restoration of the terminal’s structural integrity by repairing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems, as well as the retrofitting the overall structure.

The Tacloban City Airport will also receive P800 million to help it accommodate the growing air traffic by developing the terminal building and other ancillary facilities.

Meanwhile, P160 million will be coursed to the M’lang Airport Development Project as the government seeks to create an access point to Central Mindanao from North Cotabato.

The airport will help facilitate the transport of high-value crops in and out of the Central Mindanao, supporting agricultural development in the area, the statement explained.

"This administration intends to fulfill its commitment to improve conditions in many of our airports through fruitful engagements with the private sector. Through the PPP program, we can make project implementation much more efficient and reform-oriented..." Mr. Abad said.

President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, in his State of the Nation Address this year, has stressed the importance of improving airports to boost tourism, business and economic growth in the Philippines.

On Wednesday, the government also unveiled a $71.612-million loan agreement between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea to develop the Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan.

The official development assistance (ODA), worth roughly P2.977 billion, will fund the construction of a new passenger terminal and access road to the airport.

The runway will also be improved, while navigational aid and equipment will be provided to help accommodate the increase in domestic and international flights.

In a related development, Mr. Abad also welcomed the appointment of Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio "Jun" A. Abaya (1st district) as the new Transportation Secretary. His predecessor, Manuel "Mar" A. Roxas II, will be transferred to the Local Governments department.