President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, the Philippines popularly elected leader who many local and foreign press organizations prefer to see thru a sensational albeit myopic lens focused on alleged extra-judicial killings, has given a breath of life to the long-delayed Bicol International Airport project.
The access road leading to the new airport is at the right side of Asian Highway 26 (AH26) formerly known as the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway or Maharlika Highway at Barangay Alobo, Daraga, Albay going to Sorsogon.
Former Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who envisioned and proposed the project more than a decade ago, said the decisive action taken by President Duterte on the plan “has infused new life into the project never felt since its inception.”
At the groundbreaking ceremony held at Barangay Alobo in Daraga, Albay where the airport under construction is located on December 9, Salceda extolled President Duterte as a “good man who genuinely cares for his people.” He said Duterte’s heart is in the right place and his “guts” are honed by years of service as local chief executive.
Salceda supported one of Duterte’s opponents in the 2015 Presidential elections.
Despite party affiliations, which was a big hindrance in the completion of major projects in the past, however, Duterte said the P4.7 Bicol International Airport will be completed in three years if there will be no corruption.
Salceda said Duterte did in four months what the previous administration failed to do in three years. These include the awarding of the land-side component of the project which costs P780 million and the bidding of the passenger terminal worth P1.8-B.
The airport, which conforms to international standards, will have a 2.30 kilometers runway that will enable it to accommodate bigger aircraft that the existing Legaspi City airport cannot at the moment.
The completion of the airport is expected to spur further economic developments in the province, if not the whole region.
Salceda who is now a house representative for the 2nd district of Albay is considered to possess one of the best economic minds in the country. A former stock market analyst, he served as the national economic adviser in the Arroyo Administration.