MANILA (Updated) -- Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) settled Friday its P6 billion unpaid air navigational charges to the national government, ahead of the December 2017 deadline.

In a statement, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the amount was incurred since 1970's up to July 30, 2017.

Lawyer Clara De Castro, PAL vice president for Legal Affairs, brought the company checks to the office of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in Pasay City to settle its financial obligations to the government.

The check amounting to P5,677,887,615 was turned over to CAAP Chief Accountant Raul Eusebio, DOTr said.

On the other hand, the check worth P258,594,230.33, net of taxes, was turned over to Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Assistant General Manager for Finance and Administration Arlene Britanico.

DOTr Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Manuel Antonio Tamayo, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Procurement Reinier Paul Yebra, and Assistant Secretary for Communications Leah Quiambao witnessed the turnover of checks.

Malacañang welcomed on Friday the move of the flag carrier.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said PAL's settlement of its unpaid obligations to the government emphasized the current administration's "strong commitment" to address issues in a "decisive" manner.

"The conclusion of this long-standing issue under the Duterte administration underscores our strong commitment to decisively act on matters that would greatly benefit the nation’s best interest. This settlement will go a long way in funding the administration’s priority programs," he added.

Roque said the money will be used to fund the government's priority programs. (SDR/Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philippines)