Bicol Airport in Suspended Animation

As budgetary constraint forced its deferment

September 28, 2010

If Albay Governor Joey Salceda only have its way, the P3.4 billion airport should be operational around 2012. But even his closeness to the President, Benigno S. Aquino, is not a guarantee that Legaspi Daraga Airport would be operational around that period considering that it still require 2.5 billion to complete it.

Latest figures disclosed that the national government has spent only close to P1 billion for the project since its project inception in 2006; P150 million of which was allocated for feasibility study and detailed engineering in 2007; P108 million for right-of-way acquisition; P100 million for access road in 2008; and P600 million for civil works in 2009.

However, budgetary allocations was put on hold in 2010 by then President Gloria Arroyo due to swelling budget deficit. She also transferred the supervision of the airport project from DOTC to CAAP in accordance with its mandate.

According to DBM Secretary Florencio Abad, they have alloted an additional P780 million for Daraga airport but said that the amount would not be enough to complete it in 2012, considering that the infrastructure project was funded by General Appropriations fund approved by Congress.

Governor Salceda is hoping that 2011 would be a different year as Malacanang promised continuation of the project as part of the 1.4 billion pesos budget allowance for the Bicol Region. But he was given only P700 million out of the 1 billion he asked from DOTC.

“We were seeking P1 billion in the 2011 budget for the continuation of construction works but only 700 were given to us. I was hoping the allocations for 2010 to be included because CAAP did not provide any budget for the project this year” Salceda said.

Abad however stated that budget allocations for 2011 are still subject to the revenue generations by the government in 2010, unlike foreign funded projects like that in Laguindingan which require only a counterpart fund of 20-40% equity.

The revised schedule of works pegged the completion date around 2014 at the earliest and 2015 at the latest.

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