By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE TRANSPORTATION department recently awarded contracts for four airport projects outside Metro Manila, namely Dumaguete in Negros, M’lang in Cotabato, Cauayan in Isabela and Catanduanes in Bicol.

The four contract packages have a combined value of P116.24 million, according to documents obtained by BusinessWorld on Wednesday.

Department of Transportation (DoTr) Undersecretary Kim Robert C. de Leon issued a notice of award on Dec. 28 to D.K. Jocson Construction for the P32.62-million runway strip grade correction contract package of the Dumaguete Airport Development project in Barangay Agan-an, Sibulan town, Negros Oriental.

The same company also received a notice of award for the P32.64-million site development and construction of an open canal for the Central Mindanao (M’lang) Airport Development project in Barangay Tawan-tawan in M’lang, Cotabato.

D.K. Jocson Construction is a company based in Silay City, Negros Occidental.

A notice of award was also issued on Dec. 21 to Muntinlupa-based FAAA Construction and Trading for the expansion of the apron, improvement of vehicular parking area and construction of a security fence for the Cauayan Airport Development project in Cauayan City, Isabela.

The contract is worth P25.48 million, according to Mr. De Leon.

Meanwhile, Pasig City-based S2A Builders Corp. was issued a notice of award on Dec. 21 for the construction of an access road from the parking area to the fire station building of the Catanduanes Airport Development project in Virac, Catanduanes. The contract is worth P25.49 million.

In October, the DoTr said there were at least nine airport projects — both new builds and upgrades — that would be completed this year, with a combined value of almost P1 trillion.

The department also said that a further 10 airport projects were being studied for upgrades and expansion via public-private partnership.

The government is currently studying to privatize the management of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista has said that the department is working with the Asian Development Bank and the Public-Private Partnership Center regarding the country’s main gateway.

The terms of reference of the proposal should be ready this quarter, he said during a House hearing on Tuesday, adding that letting the private sector manage the airport could help improve its services.