COTABATO CITY — Traders and health workers were most elated with Sunday’s reopening of the Cotabato Airport, after three months of runway reconstruction that stopped commercial flights and the entry of goods and essential medical supplies.
Paisalin P. Tago, transportation and communications minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), led the symbolic reopening of the facility as passengers alighted from the first commercial plane to land at the airport since its closure in June.
On Monday, John Oberio Maliga, physician and spokesman of the Cotabato Regional Medical Center, here, expressed gratitude to BARMM authorities for prodding the runway contractor to finish the project ahead of the target completion date in November.
Bangsamoro Regional Board of Investments Chairman Mohammad O. Pasigan said many investors planning exploratory tours of the city were put on hold upon the airport’s closure. “We can urge them now to proceed with their plans of coming over to get a feel of the improving investment climate now in Cotabato City and in nearby Bangsamoro municipalities,” Mr. Pasigan said.
Located in in Barangay Awang in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao del Norte, the airport is only seven kilometers from the center of this city where the regional capitol of BARMM is located.
Mr. Tago said they acknowledged the role of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), an agency not devolved to the BARMM government, for helping ensure the quick completion of the airport runway reconstruction.
He said their focus now is on the expansion of the cooperation of the personnel here of CAAP, the local members of the civil aviation security force of the Philippine National Police and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in securing the newly reopened Cotabato Airport. — John Felix M. Unson