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Government earmarks P10 B to modernize airports

MANILA, Philippines - The Duterte administration is setting aside P10 billion to modernize at least 40 airports, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said.

He said Clark International Airport will get the biggest funding under the aviation infrastructure program in the proposed P3.767-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2018.

“Clark is getting P2.74 billion to enable it to cope with more flights, especially at night,” Campos, who sits in the House appropriations committee, said.

He added that the Department of Transportation has been building up the airport at the former US Air Force base located 80 kilometers northwest of Manila in Angeles City to lure a greater number of international as well as domestic flights away from the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). 

He noted that whenever the main 3,737-meter long runway at the NAIA is temporarily shut for emergency repairs, incoming flights also tend to get diverted to Clark.

“The target is to have Clark’s two 3,200-meter long runways operating at night, and eventually extend both runways, possibly to 5,000 meters, to accommodate bigger aircraft,” Campos said.

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At present, he said only the primary airstrip at Clark is capable of day-and-night operations. The secondary airstrip still lacks the navigational aids and lighting facilities to service evening flights.

From January to July this year, Clark handled a daily average of 20 international flights (3,078 passengers) plus 12 domestic flights (1,058 passengers), according to the state-run Clark International Airport Corp.

Besides Clark, Campos said the other airports set to receive new infrastructure development funds are those in Kalibo, which will get P920 million; Bicol, P899.7 million; Tacloban, P716 million; Bukidnon, P425 million; Panglao (Bohol), P386 million; Laoag, P368.5 million; Cauayan (Isabela) Airport, P306.4 million; Dumaguete, P300 million; Calbayog, P245 million; Zamboanga City, P221 million; San Jose Airport (Camarines Sur), P200 million; Surigao City, P200 million; Ozamiz Airport, P192.2 million;

Butuan City, P184 million; Dipolog City, P182 million; Roxas City, P169 million; Cotabato City, P161 million; Basco (Batanes), P145 million; Ormoc City, P128 million; Maasin (Leyte), P122 million; Antique, P110 million; Sanga-Sanga (Tawi-Tawi), P100 million; Pagadian, P84.2 million; Tuguegarao, P61.8 million; San Vicente (Palawan), P50 million; and Virac, P50 million.

Campos said 13 other smaller airports would get a combined P262.61 million, or an average of P20.20 million each, for upgrades.

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