DEPARTMENT of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has set to privatize the old Bacolod airport in Barangay Alijis, along with one in Cagayan De Oro.

Negros Occidental Governor Isidro Zayco said the privatization "would be beneficial for the city of Bacolod."

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"The old Bacolod airport, according to our study, could be better handled by the private sector and inappropriate for the government to maintain," said Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

The planned privatization will be done through a public sale process in accordance with Executive Order 323, an issuance governing the privatization program of the government, and other applicable laws, rules, and regulations on privatizations of government assets and properties, he said.

Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) President Roberto Montelibano said this development will "bring better industrialization in Bacolod to greater heights."

The privatization plan is in line with the policy of the government to recognize the indispensable role of the private sector as the main engine for national growth and development.

Montelibano, on the other hand, said that "even before the local officials wanted to retain the airport but it has always been our (MBCCI) contention of having the airport converted for industrialization."

It will avoid (the property) being idled as a result of the development of the new Bacolod-Silay and Laguindingan airports in Cagayan De Oro, the DOTC said.

It added that the privatization of these airports aims to promote an orderly, coordinated, and efficient program of optimizing the utilization of government assets.

The proceeds of the sale could be used to finance other government infrastructure programs, the DOTC said.

Montelibano cited that already half of the old airport property is owned by Tan group of companies and the remaining, which he said is at least 50 hectares, that stretches towards the sea are government-owned which the DOTC finds it apt for privatization. (GMD/With PNA)