Siquijor synoptic station paves way for new airport
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2019 - 12:00am

SIQUIJOR, Siquijor, Philippines — The governor of this province expressed elation over a project of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) to set up a synoptic weather station in Siquijor town.

Gov. Zaldy Villa said that the weather station will boost their ongoing efforts to establish a domestic airport of their own. 

“The setting up of this station is crucial in the operation of our would-be airport in Siquijor,” he announced during ground-breaking ceremonies graced by Science Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, Pagasa director Vicente Malano and Siquijor Mayor Ricardo Quezon last Aug. 16. 

The ground-breaking was part of the celebration of Regional Science and Technology Week held Aug. 15 to 17 at Capital Square in Siquijor, Siquijor.

“The establishment of the airport had been approved in 2016. Hopefully, there will be no more hindrance after the synoptic station is set up,” Villa said.

Currently, foreign as well as local tourists and visitors traveling by air to the province have to take a flight to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, from where they have to take a one-hour ferry ride to the port of Siquijor, which has been getting its significant share of tourists despite lack of direct flights from Manila. 

The synoptic weather station is vital as it will help provide weather data for air traffic once the airport is built.

Dela Peña explained that airports are required to have their synoptic stations where all meteorological elements are made and transmitted to the DOST-PAGASA central office. Such data are shared with other relevant government agencies including the Department of Transportation-Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. 

The science chief said that PAGASA aims to build one synoptic station each for all the country’s provinces. There are currently 58 provinces with a synoptic station.

Malano said that synoptic stations enable the dissemination of public weather forecasts, tropical cyclone bulletins, warnings and advisories and other related information that protect the lives and property of the general populace.

The completion of Siquijor airport is crucial in addressing the surge in tourist arrivals in the province, which reached peak in 2018 with a 48.8 percent growth, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. 

Siquijor currently has a small community airport, now being expanded into a full airport that can accommodate international flights. The expansion started in 2017.

Villa said that the budget for the Siquijor airport was given by President Duterte. 

“The President gave P500 million for the airport extension plus additional P200 million,” he said.

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