THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) supports the plan to transfer the Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA) to a new location.

PCCI-Western Mindanao Governor Pedro Rufo Soliven issued the statement after it was announced that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has opened the proposed construction of another airport in the village of Mercedes for Private-Public Partnership (PPP).

The airport’s present location is just within the two-kilometer distance from the city proper while the village of Mercedes, which has been identified as a secondary growth center and host of the proposed New International Airport under the Master Development Plan, is 12.75 kilometers east of this city.

"It has been long overdue, it is about time that we had to use other ways creatively to bring in funds to fast track this project because that is very relevant in the anticipation of the ASEAN integration," Soliven said.

"Zamboanga City will play a very vital and strategic role from being the backdoor of the Philippines to the front door to ASEAN," Soliven added.

He said there will be dispersal of commercial establishments and traffic will be unclogged once the airport will be transferred to the village of Mercedes.

He said there will be also faster movement of goods and "it will be easier for businessmen because there will be more flights."

The present ZIA property can be converted into a new commercial business district of this city, Soliven said. (Bong Garcia)