By Juan Escandor Jr.
LEGAZPI CITY---Even though the new Naga Airport Development Project had been approved by the National Economic Development Administration (NEDA) Board which the President presided in 2015, no information so far is submitted to NEDA regarding the progress of the project until now.
Gilbert Abiog, chief engineer of project development, investment programming and budgeting division of NEDA V, said the Department of Transportation (DoTr), tasked to implement the project, has not given any development report to them.
But Abiog said the new Naga Airport Development Project is secured with multi-year obligational authority where the budget for its implementation must be provided every year.
He said the Naga Airport Development Project, based on the feasibility study submitted to NEDA, is expected to be finished within five consecutive years with a total project cost of P3.5 billion.
However, it will be up to the DoTr how much will be given to Naga Airport Development Project in consideration of other projects being implemented by the agency.
Abiog said they have not received any report from DoTr regarding the budget for the Naga Airport Development Project.
He said what they knew was that the DoTr has entered into contract with the Camarines Sur provincial government regarding the acquisition of lands for the airport development through expropriation proceedings.
Earlier, Camarines Sur Gov. Miguel “Migz” Villafuerte told the Bicol Mail that the DoTr has already provided P400M to compensate landowners who will be affected by the airport development project.
Edna Cynthia Berces, NEDA V assistant regional director, said that this year the new Naga Airport Development Project is in the pre-construction stage. “That means there are no construction this year.”
Berces said the land acquisition phase is still on going and that until the compensation of lands has been completed, no infrastructures will be built.
Vice President Leni Robredo, in an interview last September, revealed that she did not find any budget allotted for the Naga Airport in 2017 under the budget of the DoTr.
Berces said the NEDA in Bicol has no information whether or not the Naga Airport Development Project has budget. “Our latest report from the NEDA central office was in 2015 when the project was approved by the NEDA Board.”
Asked about the inauguration event of a proposed airport in the town of San Jose in Partido District where the Fuentebella political clan holds sway, Abiog said they were unaware until they learned it from media reports.
“We do not have official report from the DoTr. We only learned the inauguration of the San Jose Airport through the media,” he said.
Berces said they learned about the inauguration event and groundbreaking ceremony of the San Jose Airport after it happened already.
Abiog said the NEDA is asking DoTr about the report that there was a groundbreaking ceremony of the San Jose Airport.
He said projects of more than P1B requires full-blown feasibility study, from marketing, technical, economic, financial, environmental and social processes.
Abiog said upon completion, the full-blown feasibility study will be submitted to the NEDA, after which the Investment Coordination Committee deliberates on the project before it is finally submitted to the NEDA Board for approval or disapproval.
He said the proposed San Jose Airport has yet to go through the process required by the NEA, if not, it will be the direct responsibility of the DoTr.
Abiog, however, said the Partido Development Administration (PDA) in 2013 submitted to NEDA a pre-feasibility study of the San Jose Airport. He said it was before the submission of the feasibility study of the Naga Airport.
“Based on our review, we noted that it was only pre-feasibility study. So we wrote them and told them to give us the feasibility study report because the project exceeded the cap of Investment Coordination Committee of P1B. But, unfortunately, until now we did not receive response from the PDA,” he added.