The Infrastructure Development Committee of the Regional Development Council approved the 500-meter runway extension of the Bacolod-Silay Airport and the expansion of the airport terminal building during its 2nd quarter meeting in Iloilo City recently, Frank Carbon president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said yesterday.
Carbon, who represents the private sector of Negros Occidental, said Bacolod City and Negros Occidental are attracting more tourists and entrepreneurs, and the airport is a gateway for the province and the city to bring in more investments.
He said the 2,000-meter runway needs expansion to accommodate bigger aircraft, international flights, and bring in more tourists.
The terminal has to be expanded to cater to more passengers, minimize boarding congestion, open business opportunities and help boost the economic development of the province, Carbon also said.
The National Economic Development Authority-RDC will request for feasibility and pre-engineering studies to determine the total cost of the project, while the Department of Transportation and Communications will look for the funding of the project, he said.
The funds may be taken from the national government or through the Overseas Development Assistance Fund, he said.
The Provincial Development Council also endorsed and supported the proposal for expansion, he said.
The private sector has also raised concern that the P404.6 million budget of the ongoing construction of the 10.12-kilometer Bacolod-Silay Airport Access Road does not include the provision for street lights, Carbon added.
For security reasons, street lights are necessary, he said.
The project route alignment begins at the Bacolod Circumferential Road heading north, passing sugar cane plantation areas in Talisay City and then north to Bagtik in Silay City.
Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ. 3rd District) said yesterday it is true that the budget does not include the street lights because that will be the counterpart of the local government units.
Benitez told the DAILY STAR that the lighting system will be provided and funded by the cities that will benefit for the access road - Silay, Talisay, and Bacolod.
The fund only covers the 10.12 kilometer two lane road, six bridges, seven intersections, and drainage and slope protection structures and is funded by the Republic of Korea through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund.
Sanny Boy Oropel, chief of the planning and design division of the Department of Works and Highways in Region VI, prmised that they will try to find funding for the streetlights.
The lighting system is estimated to cost about P40 to P50 million. *LTG