THIS YEAR’s budget has guaranteed funds for eight airports in the country, including a new one in Zamboanga City that will replace the existing facility, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced on Thursday.
“This budgetary allocation seeks to support the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of the country’s transportation infrastructure, particularly in the aviation sector,” Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said in a statement.
The 2023 General Appropriations Act includes the following allocations: P1.420 billion for the Tacloban Airport; P785 million for the Laoag International Airport; P500 million for the Antique Airport; and P80 million for the Bukidnon Airport.
The new Zamboanga International Airport, which will be located in a new site, was provided P200 million.
The airports in Vigan and M’lang will get P50 million and P15 million, respectively.
The country’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), has a P43 million budget for upgrade works.
Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista recently said that the government is working with the Asian Development Bank on the possible privatization of the NAIA, following the system malfunction of the country’s air traffic management on Jan. 1.
Ms. Pangandaman said they intended to diversify the airports that were given funding “as their development will propel growth in different sectors, such as trade, employment, and tourism.”
In a separate statement on Thursday, Makati Rep. Luis Jose Angel N. Campos, Jr. who is vice chair of the House appropriations committee said, “Being an archipelagic nation, highly efficient airports are essential for us to move people and goods faster.” — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz