Duterte says Naga more popular than Legazpi
By Juan Escandor Jr. PILI, Camarines Sur---President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (Oct. 17) commented that Naga City is more popular than Legazpi during the oath-taking ceremony of the new members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban held at the Camarines Sur Convention Center here. Mr. Duterte made the comment after he wondered why the Naga Airport does not have capability for night take-off and landing. “Kasi nagmamadali sila dahil di ka maka-take-off nang gabi dito. Bakit ganun? I mean Naga City is a major city in Bicol..second is..huwag ka mag..taga-Legazpi. Pero mas sikat ang Naga,” he said. Mr. Duterte said he has very limited time in Camarines Sur because of the limitation of the Naga Airport. “I will keep with the time. Because pagnahulog..sabagay maligaya..pagkat kasi taga-Bicol ang maging president,” he said as the audience laughed. The Department of Transportation and Communications has approved during the Aquino administration the Naga Airport Development Project (NADP). The NADP would increase the capacity of the Naga Airport to accommodate jet aircrafts which the present could only handle propeller aircrafts. With only 2 kilometers runway at present, a new runway and terminal with the orientation away from the Mt. Isarog will be constructed. The reoriented airport would allow aircrafts to use any of the two ends of the runway for approaching landing and take-off. Camarines Sur Gov. Miguel “Migz” Luis Villafuerte said the Aquino administration failed to release fund for the implementation of the project. Villafuerte said it was only this year under the Duterte administration that initial release of fund happened. “The Department of Transportation has released P400 million for the road-right-of-way which will start the implementation of the construction of the new Naga Airport,” he said. The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Bicol has approved last year the P3.53-B NADP, that the Metro Naga Development Council represented by Naga City Mayor John Bongat endorsed. Gilberto Abion, chief of economic development specialist of project development division and investment programming and budgeting, the DOTC is the proponent of the project and that it is included among the nationally funded projects with multi-year budget. Abion said the Neda regional office initiated the evaluation of the proposed re-orientation of the runway of the Naga Airport based on the soundness of the project in terms of technical, environmental, social, economic, and financial viability. He said the evaluation started with the submission of the project proposal of the DOTC. Abion said they have received the feasibility study of the reorientation of Naga Airport’s runway and an inter-division team was created to conduct the detailed evaluation. He all government projects with over a billion-peso cost go through the process of the ICC, Cabinet Committee and Neda Board, but projects below P1 billion are approved by agency heads, and in this case DOTC secretary. The DOTC, through three consultancy firms---Philipps Technical Consultants, Engineering& Development Corporation of the Philippines, gave Naga City LGU the Final Report of the Feasibility and Master Plan, Study for the Naga Airport Development Project. The project comprised P47.33 million for “the continued operation of the existing Naga Airport up to year 2018” and “P3,532.90 million for full transfer of commercial aviation operations from Naga Airport to the proposed New Oriented Naga Airport starting year 2019.” The major components of the NADP are the establishment of a new of the runway oriented to South Southeast direction, unlike the orientation of the existing runway from North Northwest in Barangay San Jose in Pili town in Camarines Sur,and new airport terminal that can accommodate five commercial planes.