SENATE President Franklin Drilon urged on Thursday the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to amend country's airport maintenance, concerning repairs and rehabilitation services.

Drilon said that DOTC would receive in time a P13.3 billion under the proposed 2015 budget costs P2.606- trillion for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meetings next year.

"The proposed budget is P4 billion higher than its current level of P9.1 billion," he added.

Details under National Expenditures Program (NEP) showed different phases of development and capacity build- up would take place in various airports in the country next year.

Drilon said that the budget proposal for the amelioration on the maintenance of airports was an effort "to improve the condition of the country's airport facilities including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and enhance their services."

"The NAIA will receive P592 million for its capacity expansion and maximization," Drilon said.

Other than NAIA, which will receive a budget, Clark Airport will also be given P1.2 billion, P950 million for Kalibo Airport, and P791 million for Iloilo International Airport.

"Also included are the Busuanga Airport (P1.02 billion), General Santos Airport (P959 million), Ozamis Airport (P695 million), Calbayog Airport (P678 million), and Camarines Sur Airport in Naga (P670 million)," he added.

Meanwhile, funding of the government to other airports is continuous to suffice their needs to maintain good service.

An amount of P1.55 billion each in 2015 to Puerto Princesa Airport and Bicol International Airport, P400 million for New Bohol (Panglao) International Airport Development Project, and P75.44 million for Laguindingan International Airport will be received by the said airports.

The budget set for the supported airports is lodged under the DOTC’s budget of P59 billion, an increase of 20 percent from its current level of P48.8 billion.

"An efficient transport infrastructure is key to the fast flow of people and tourists, resources, and money into countries as it provides access to local and international markets and trade," Drilon said.

Drilon said the improved airports would be a "good boost" to the international image when the country hosts the APEC next year.

"That is why it is very critical that we make sure that the bidding process for the repair and the rehabilitation projects will be efficient and capable airport," Drilon said.

A great deal of revenues to fly away would happen if the airports remain "unsatisfactorily" dilapidated, he added.

"The good maintenance and service of Philippine airports will create a good impression for the country when world leaders will flock to the Philippines for the 2015 APEC Summit meetings which will be held in at least eight different locations in the nation," Drilon said.

Though Drilon was seeking for airports’ enhancement, he said that would be crucial to the attainment of various goals and target outputs listed by DOTC in the Performance Information section of the budget.

Drilon said that one of the DOTC’s plans for 2015 was to increase the number of seats offered to the public by five percent next year.

The plan was equivalent to 28 million domestic seats and 26 million international seats, he added.

The increase on the number of operated routes to 85 from 84 this year for domestic routes and 81 from 79 for international routes was also among the plan of DOTC.

The said department is also targeting 21 million domestic passengers and 18 million international passengers in 2015.

In response with DOTC's platforms, Drilon said that better service, improved facilities and more responsible airport management were the answers to the rising number of passengers.

"If the problem is the budget, the Senate is willing to extend support as long as the DOTC can assure us that the airport developments will be finished before the APEC meetings in 2015," Drilon said, looking forward for the betterment of the airports. (Sunnex)