The Tent that closes a runway

And it closed!

April 5, 2013

Call it karma but Pagadian City airport is closed not because of busted runway lights or weather problems or operational situation by airlines, and not even the government can do something about it. 

Its owner has exercise acts of dominion preventing the government operator and its airline clients from using his land, and backed by a court order the airport operator was helpless to asked where the money go?

The answer happen to be in their noses when they failed pay the owners the land they took for runway expansion project derived from Third ADB airports plan.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) ordered the airports closure Thursday after its owners put up a tent in the middle of the runway to force the government to pay them rent for the continued use of their land.

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) that was entrusted with the custody of the payments failed to issue comment saying they are still appealing the decision of the Regional Trial Court.

The Taug family was awarded P8 million in payments by the Regional Trial Court of Pagadian City for three hectares of land unlawfully deprive from them by the government for almost 13 years and demands for rentals in the meantime remained unanswered.

Cebu Pacific and Pal Express cancelled their respective flights to Pagadian from Manila and Cebu vice versa starting April 4 because of the obstruction. No clear date is made available for resumption of flights.

Cebu Pacific started transferring its passengers to nearby Ozamiz airport effective today, while PAL Express is re-booking their passengers to fly Ozamiz as well.

Paralyzed Airport

Police from the Aviation Security Group (ASG) was helpless in preventing the landowners from claiming back their land, while senior managers of Cebu Pacific tries to negotiate with the landowners on the use of the runway. Pagadian airport is close to the public until further notice. Photo courtesy of Jong Cadion

By Jong Cadion

“This is the only way that the national government will listen to our demand. We will only talk to [the] president [of] P-Noy because he is the only one that can answer our problem,” Bai Sominal Taug said.

“Our demand was already a long overdue and we had already won the case. This is the 3rd barricade we had established to reposition our propperty after the failure of payment as agreed in the negotiations during our first and the 2nd barricade, ” Bai Taug added.

Our demand is Php5 million pesos if they want to use the airports runway give us fifty percent cash of our demand and the other fifty percent will be paid on the agreement basis, she disclosed.

The land conflict between the Taug-Boto family and the DOTC was started on 1960’s after the portion of their land was used by the national government to be a runway of the newly renovated as International Standard Pagadian City Airport. Bi Taug said.

Airport Manager Jose Budiongan said that he made coordination to Manila office regarding the problem and for the meantime their only concerned is for the safety of the passengers they will temporarily stop the airport operations.


  1. Here is a brief account of how this problem came about.

    on August 22, 2006, in Civil Case No. 4382, the Regional Trial Court of Pagadian City, Branch 18, issued its Decision recognizing the ownership of the airport's runway by the Taug-Boto family, and directing the government to pay the family some P8 million, more or less, as purchase price for the land where the runway is located.

    On November 24, 2010, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pagadian City, with an added directive for the RTC to hold further hearings and determine the real value of the land in question.

    On February 3, 2011, the Republic of the Philippines filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari, praying to reconsider and set aside the Decision rendered by the Court of Appeals dated November 24, 2010, and to dismiss the complaint in Civil Case No. 4382-2K2, for lack of merit. On June 22, 2011, the Supreme Court denied the Republic's motion for reconsideration with finality.


    On June 11, 2012, the Regional Trial Court issued its order also dated June 11, 2012, directing the Department of Transportation and Communications to pay the Taug-Boto family the sum of P5,000,000.00. The Court also ordered the DOTC to deposit the amount with the Clerk of Court. Both these orders were not complied with.

    On December 12, 2012, a writ of execution was issued by the Regional Trial Court to compel the payment of the sum of P5,000,000.00 to the Taug-Boto family. At this point, however, the DOTC and allied agencies are continuing to refuse to comply with the orders of the Court, saying that the Taug-Boto family needed to get a clearance from the Commission on Audit first.

    After a series of negotiations with officials of DOTC, the City Government of Pagadian, the Aviation Security Command of the Philippine National Police and other government agencies, the Taug-Boto famiy was still unable to receive any payment. This was the reason why they decided to finally take-over and barricade the runway.

  2. Narita Int'l Airport has the same problem. A house was left standing in a taxiway because the family who owns that parcel of land refused to sell it to the gov't. Until now, the house still stands while a runway was built far from that "obstruction."

  3. Pagadian Airport opens today after DOTC bound themselves to pay the landowners within a months time 5 million pesos as initial payment.