Work on Tacloban airport rehab expected to start in fourth quarter

Posted on May 25, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY -- Redevelopment of the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport will start in the last quarter of this year, with the national government allocating P200 million as initial funding, a lawmaker said earlier this week.

An Waray Party-list Rep. Neil Benedict A. Montejo, who is also a member of the House committee on transportation, said he was informed of the redevelopment of the airport this year by Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) Undersecretary for Planning Rene K. Limcaoco.

"The first component of the project involves the construction of a new terminal building that costs around P200 million. That is the initial funding that will be released by the DoTC," Mr. Montejo said in an interview.

Mr. Montejo added that redevelopment of DZR Airport has been delayed for over a decade now and it is high time to upgrade the facility, especially in the face of increasing number of flights and passengers.

DZR Airport, Eastern Visayas’ premier airport, sees an average of 17 flights daily.

"If the project starts this year, the terminal building could be finished by 2016" Mr. Montejo said.

"I told the DoTC officials there is an urgent need to rehabilitate our terminal building considering it was designed in the 1970’s. It no longer suits present needs as we have 17 flights, even 20 during special occasions."

Mr. Montejo added that DoTC had said it would realign funds, if needed, in order to ensure completion of the project.

"We need at least P1 billion for the rehabilitation of the airport’s terminal building alone," Mr. Montejo said.

He added that the DoTC has dropped plans to propose it under the government’s public-private partnership program, which now counts four airport projects in a list of 21, namely: P10.15-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building, P8 New Bohol (Panglao) Airport, as well as operation and maintenance of Puerto Princesa Airport and Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental (P1.8 billion).

"Improved facilities and services of the airport would mean more tourists that would come in to our regions," Mr. Montejo said.

"Part of the upgrading project is the putting up of chillers, construction of nine comfort rooms and improvement of office physical facilities."

He added that DoTC is keen on making sure all airport terminals nationwide have decent toilets.

Also to be undertaken are the landscaping of the airport terminal lawn, improvement of the terminal’s interior design, repainting of the traffic signs, and fixing of the damaged drainage system.

Rehabilitation of DZR Airport was originally to be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, but the amount intended for the project was realigned for the construction of the Bacolod-Silay Airport and Iloilo Airport. -- RLA