Airport ready for international flights-A A +A
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
EVERYTHING is set for the maiden direct international flights to Hong Kong and Singapore on November 8 and 9, respectively.
This was realized after a businessman -- a member of the Iloilo Local Economic Development Foundation (ILEDF) -- donated four more computers to equip the Iloilo airport to international standards.
ILEDF is chaired by former Tourism secretary Narzalina Lim and Rex Drilon as president of the foundation. Its members are Ilonggo businessmen and entrepreneurs mostly based in Metro Manila.
Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog announced that Federico “Pique” Lopez, chairman of First Gen. Corp., answered the call for donation under an effective public private partnership (PPP) to buy four more units of manually operated passport verifier scanners.
Smart Communications is also donating two more units to the Department of Tourism (DOT) to complete the needed six units at the airport.
DOT Regional Director Helen Catalbas said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) will be forged between DOT and the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID), showing the loan agreement of the six computer units to BID until such time the BID under the Department of Justice includes the airport digital verifiers in the 2013 budget.
Catalbas said the digital verifier will cost some P4.5 to P5 million each.
Mabilog said the City Government is willing to provide the passport verifier but the bidding process will take some time and may not be on time by November 8.
He said the donated computer units will be in place by November 5 at the Iloilo airport.
Catalbas said everything is set at the airport, especially personnel assigned by the Bureau of Customs and Immigration and Quarantine to service passengers of direct international flights to Hong Kong and Singapore.
Cebu Pacific Air is fielding new Airbus planes to Hong Kong and Singapore and back to Iloilo.
Catalbas added the Philippine Airlines is also eyeing direct international flights from Iloilo to Incheon, South Korea starting early next year.