THE BANGSAMORO government will start planning for the improvement of airports in the region following the establishment of its own Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), an official said on Saturday.   

The BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) regional leadership aims to improve the airports in the autonomous region to boost the confidence of foreign investors, which is essential in trying to lure them in,said Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo.  

He said their agency already has various capacity-building programs for the police and local government units covering areas where the airports are located, which will complement enhancement programs for the gateways.   

There are six airports in BARMM, namely: Cotabato or Awang in Maguindanao del Norte; Wao and Malabang in Lanao del Sur; Sanga-Sanga and Mapun in Tawi-Tawi; and Jolo in Sulu.  

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) turned over the ownership and landside operations of these facilities to the BARMM in September last year.  

The regional government recently announced the planned reopening of the Malabang Airport, also referred to as Matling Airport, which was initially used as a private airstrip for a cassava plantation and later for Philippine Airlines flights covering the Cotabato-Malabang-Iligan-Cagayan de Oro route.     

Bangsamoro Transportation and Communications Minister Paisalin P. Tago said the members of the newly organized Civil Aeronautics Board of the Bangsamoro, or CABB, already met last week to map out plans for its mandate.    

Among the mandates of the CABB is to investigate and address public concerns relating to airport operations.  

The board, in a way, can ensure efficiency of airports that are now under our control and management,Mr. Tago said on Saturday. John M. Unson