By Emme Rose S. Santiagudo, Correspondent
PASSI CITY, located in the central part of Panay Island, is proposing to host the second airport in Iloilo province, to be built either through national funding or a public-private partnership (PPP).
Mayor Stephen A. Palmares, in a phone interview, said the city government already submitted its proposal to the Regional Development Council (RDC).
“We conceptualized it because if we have an airport, it will create an economic boost in Passi. Our foresight is it will go in harmony with our (proposed) economic zone,” he said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has already conducted a site inspection of the proposed 1,000-hectare area in Barangay Santo Tomas, the mayor said.
Passi, with a population of about 110,000, is the only component city of Iloilo province.
It is classified as a fourth-class city with an agriculture-based economy. Among its major crops are sugarcane, rice, and pineapple.
Mr. Palmares said with Passi being a landlocked city, an airport would improve movement for their products and access to investors.
“There were negative reactions from other people saying that it’s a long shot because we already have many airports in the region, but we are thinking and planning ahead for the city,” he said.
He added that an airport in Passi will help decongest the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan, near Iloilo City.
The other airports in the region are in Roxas City, Kalibo and Caticlan.
Mr. Palmares said groups from South Korea and Singapore have already expressed interest on the airport plan.
“If it will be through PPP or a funding from the national government, we are very much okay. We have nothing to lose, what is important is that we’re thinking about the future of Passi,” he said.