By Sarwell Meniano | Philippine News Agency
September 20, 2023
TACLOBAN CITY – Members of the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to expedite the construction of the Tacloban Airport terminal after a year-long delay.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, RDC private sector representative for multimedia communication Buenaventura Go-Soco said the region would lose PHP5 billion of potential tourist receipts every year pending the completion of the terminal building at the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport.
The project aims to transform the facility into an international airport.
“The project started on Dec. 5, 2020, and its original date of completion was May 29, 2022, or a construction period of 15 months. As of Aug. 7, 2023, the delay is already 15 months, and counting. The construction time of 15 months has been doubled and delay continues to increase,” said Go-Soco, former regional director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
The update on Tacloban airport development was the main agenda of the RDC’s regional project monitoring committee meeting on Tuesday.
As of August, the project is at 57.18 percent completion with a negative slippage of 20.20 percent.
No official from the DOTr project management office and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) area office here are available for comment when asked about the status of the PHP759 million airport project.
In a July 2023 report obtained by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the CAAP said the delay was caused by an insufficient quantity of construction materials resulting in a decrease of manpower by the contractor. The increase in daily planned accomplishments has also contributed to the delay, according to CAAP, an attached agency of DOTr.
Among the solutions identified by CAAP are maximizing the utilization of available materials to expedite concrete pourings and asking the contractor to deploy more workers.
The report also said that as of the end of July, there were 216 workers on site tasked to build a two-story building with a total area of 36,298.98 square meters designed to accommodate 1,670 passengers.
Go-Soco said there are already resolutions passed by RDC urging CAAP and the contractor to fast-track the project.
The government awarded the project to MAC Builders based in Ormoc City in a joint venture with ML Builders.
In a statement, Pocholo Franco, RDC private sector representative for tourism, said the delay of phase 1 has affected the implementation of phases two and three despite fund allocations.
The second and third phases have funding of PHP1.26 billion and PHP585 million, respectively.
“Every day of delay is wasted opportunities and lost revenues for our region. Business opportunities and employment are likewise gone. Our hope and our dream for vibrant tourism, more visitors, more employment and inclusive growth rest on the completion of our international airport,” Franco said.
The Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban is one of the country’s busiest with 36 daily flights between Manila and Cebu.
The airport in the regional capital was ranked as the country’s 7th busiest in 2022 with 1,489,803 inbound and outbound passengers. The airport is busier than the other eight international airports in the country.
Named after Daniel Z. Romualdez, former speaker of the House of Representatives, the airport serves as the main gateway from Manila and Cebu to Eastern Visayas.