Uy appeals gov’t to hasten full operations of airport-A A +A
Friday, September 6, 2013
TO HASTILY address the persistent woes at the Laguindingan airport, Representative Juliette Uy (2nd district, Misamis Oriental) appealed to the national government “to fast-track the installation of navigation aids and instruments at the airport and the surrounding road infrastructure to make it 100 percent operational.”
In her privilege speech delivered on September 3, Rep. Uy aired her appeal at the Lower House for President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to immediately act on these airport woes that have been causing business, tourism and investment downswing.
“No less than the President acknowledged that the Laguindigan Airport has yet to get its navigational aids, but noted that with its Instrument Landing System (ILS), it is ‘safer’ than the old Lumbia Airport. We were made to understand that the navigational aids will arrive no later than May 2014. Sadly though, this is not acceptable to many sectors of the province,” Uy said.
She said that “in building the new airport, the government also has to construct, rehabilitate, or widen the roads to and from Laguindingan to effectively connect all the towns, cities and other investment and tourist destinations that depend on the airport.”
“But to date, the road widening is still ongoing and is so far concentrated in the town of Alubijid. It is in this regard that we respectfully submit the need to widen the roads westward from Laguindingan to Lugait and up to Iligan City, the roads eastward from the airport to Cagayan de Oro City, Jasaan and up to Gingoog City so that the businesses, agricultural and industrial zones and the public in general can easily benefit from faster traffic flow to and from the airport,” Uy added.
Need for complete equipment
The woes of lesser flights at the Laguindingan Airport have so far been a serious let-down to the interests of the various businesses, tourism and investors in the province.
“Hotel, restaurant and resort owners are complaining of lowered earnings due to the lesser flights to and from the province. Without a VHF Omni-Directional Range Navigation System, Meteorological Observing System and Precision Lighting System, the CAAP cannot allow night flights. In fact, slight weather disturbances force flight cancellations without these systems. This just bolsters the reality that the Laguindingan airport isn’t fully or 100 percent operational,” Uy emphasized.
The Laguindingan Airport can only have a maximum of 18 daily flights. It pales in comparison to the old Lumbia Airport which had as many as 26 flights a day.
Uy fears that the rate the Laguindingan airport operates would retard economic growth of the region since businesses have already been feeling the crunch of the lesser flights.
“As if it were not bad enough, a recent development worsened the situation. On August 6, 2013, the x-ray machines at Laguindingan Airport broke down, barely two months since the soft-launching of the new airport. This has made security inspections tedious for the CAAP personnel and passengers alike. Another concern is the imposition of a twenty peso "entrance fee" that covers even those merely passing through the airport. Logic dictates that vehicles which pass through the airport to drop off airline passengers and do not actually park must not be charged a fee. This is standard industry practice as we have observed in the airports in Manila and other parts of the globe. It would be best if parking fees are imposed only to those who actually park in the airport compound,” Uy said.
On August 15, 2013, the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce Inc., (Oro Chamber) sent its letter of appeal to Mr. Aquino, however, the group hasn’t received any reply yet. (GCA)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 06, 2013.