THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) has begun implementing the construction of two new airports in Mindanao, Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) chair Emmanuel Piñol said.
"Two new airports will soon open in Mindanao. The Central Mindanao Airport located in Tawantawan, M'lang, North Cotabato is expected to be operational before the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. The other is the new Zamboanga International Airport which will be built in a new location," Piñol said in a Facebook post on Sunday, October 4, 2020.
He said the Central Mindanao Airport will serve the provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon.
According to Minda, the Central Mindanao Airport will complement the Cotabato Airport in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao and the General Santos International Airport in General Santos City. The Cotabato Airport serves Cotabato City, Cotabato Province, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao Del Sur and Maguindanao while General Santos International Airport serves General Santos City, South Cotabato and Saranggani.
"The project is identified as one of the priority projects that will catalyze inclusive and balanced rural development in Mindanao," Minda said in a statement.
It added the airport will boost economic activities in the area wherein the main industry is agriculture.
A perimeter fence and frangible fence has already been constructed around the construction site on June 21, 2020. Coordination is also ongoing with the DOTr, the Provincial Government of North Cotabato and other regional agencies in Soccsksargen on the Central Mindanao Airport Inter-Agency Monitoring and Advisory Committee.
Piñol said the Zamboanga International Airport Project has already been allocated an initial P200 million by the DOTr for the acquisition of its new location in Barangay Mercedes. The fund was downloaded to the local government unit of Zamboanga City.
Minda said the new airport will include the construction of a new terminal, six jet bridges and a modern control tower. A 3,440-meter runway will also be built together with new taxiways and aprons.
The New Zamboanga International Airport project is among the commitment project of the Philippines to Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East Asean Growth Area.
Piñol said construction work for the airport is expected by 2021.
At present, the Zamboanga International Airport in Barangay Canelar, Zamboanga City has one terminal and one 2,610-meter primary runway. The runway is shared with the Edwin Andrews Air Base of the Philippine Air Force.
“Minda closely monitors the implementation of these two major infrastructure projects,” Piñol said.