Pagadian Airport Risk Closure

For Failure to Pay Landowners

January 14, 2013

Pagadian Airport (RPMP) risked commercial traffic closure after the Regional Trial Court of Pagadian City awarded the land which stradles airport runway back to its original landowners after the government failed to pay her Eight (8) Million Pesos as compensation for the expropriated property now used by Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) in the expansion of Pagadian City Airport.

"We have no choice but to close Pagadian Airport and follow court orders" says Airport Manager Jose Budiongan.

The heirs of Datu Lucas Taug Boto, now represented by Seminal Taug owns some three (3) hectares of land of what is now part of the airport's runway which was expropriated by the government in 1997 as part of the Third ADB Pagadian Airport Development Project. No payment was made to the landowners until the case was filed in 1999.

It took 13 years for Judge Edelberto Absin of RTC Branch 18 to decide ownership in favor of the heirs of Boto. The court said DOTC never acquired ownership of the land because it failed to pay its landowners, and therefore have no right to prevent them from exercising act of ownership, such as excluding the airport from using the landowners property as runway. The court also awarded damages exceeding 25 million pesos for manifest bad faith on the part of the government.

Airphil Express and Cebu Pacific uses the airport for flights to Cebu and Manila.

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