The P7.853-billion ($167.09- million) international airport in this municipality is 65-percent complete and will be closer to completion once the new Aquino administration takes office.

The Laguindingan International Airport is set for completion by year- end 2011 and should be operational by January 2012.

Ryan B. Gico of the Laguindingan Airport Development Project (LADP-PMO) Project Management Office, said that civil works and building construction were already 65-percent complete as of May 14.

“We have already reached, as of May 14, a 65-percent completion rate of the airport’s civil works,” he said in a recent interview at the LADP-PMO located above the airport site.

Gico said other requirements for the full operation of the airport, such as access road, were completed in January.

“Land acquisition for the main airport area is 99.24-percent accomplished, with 390.95 hectares already acquired,” he said.

The main airport, he said, requires 393.94 hectares of land.

The Laguindingan Airport Development Project is a priority concern under the 2004-2010 Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan.

He said occupants of the airport site have already been relocated to brand-new houses. Each family was also given relocation fees.

He said 370 families have been relocated: 134 families at Phase 1 resettlement site in barangay San Isidro and 236 families at Phase 2 resettlement site in barangay Tubajon, both in Laguindingan.

Gico said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is now acquiring the needed navigation facilities and equipment component of the project.

Funds for their acquisition are provided by the Korean Export-Import (Kexim) Bank through a loan, he added.

The airport sits on a 4.17-square- kilometer site in barangay Moog in this municipality. It is  46 kilometers from the existing Lumbia Airport in neighboring Cagayan de Oro City.

Once completed, it will be the fourth International airport in Mindanao, after Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City; Zamboanga International Airport in Zamboanga City; and General Santos International Airport in General Santos City.

It will also have the distinction of being the first international airport in Northern Mindanao.

The airport is the flagship project of the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor Special Development Project, which covers both cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, as well as five coastal towns in Lanao del Norte and  22 towns of Misamis Oriental’s first and second congressional districts.

The airport will primarily replace the existing Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City, and also expected to replace Maria Cristina Airport in Iligan City.

It was learned that on May 18, a five-person team from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) appraisal mission on LADP-Air Navigation Aid System Supply Project visited Northern Mindanao for a site survey and to conduct fact-finding activities for the subproject.

The team visited the Lumbia Airport Control Tower in barangay Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro City, to appraise the airnavigation system equipment there.

The team, composed of Chang Young-hoon, mission leader and director of EDCF Department, Kexim Bank; Yi Ji-Eon, deputy director, EDCF Department, Kexim Bank; Woo Binnah, manager, EDCF Department, Kexim Bank; Chai Seung-su, technical consultant of Inha University; and a specialist of Air Navigation Aid System from MLTM (Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs) were accompanied by Felicisimo C. Pangilinan Jr. of DOTC’s Air Transport Planning Division.

In Photo: Rolando G. Tungpalan (center), deputy director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), watches as Transportation Assistant Secretary for Planning Ildefonso Patdu Jr. (left) exchanges copies of the Laguindingan airport air-navigation system and support facilities supply project agreement with Korea Eximbank mission director Chang Young Hoon (right), who also represents the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF). The agreement was signed on May 21 at the Neda. The proposed inancing plan, which is partly a loan from the EDCF, has a total cost of $15.82 million.

Written by Bong D. Fabe / Correspondent  Business Mirror

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