The proposed expansion of the Bacolod-Silay airport runway and terminal was approved and endorsed yesterday by the Regional Development Council of Western Visayas, for funding by the Department of Communications and Transportation.
Silay City Mayor Jose Montelibano, who brought up the proposal to President Benigno Aquino III during his recent visit in Negros Occidental, said the expansion will cost P194.4 million, while the proposed runway extension for another 500 meters, P25 million.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Silay, Provincial Development Council and Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental had earlier endorsed the expansion of the Bacolod-Silay airport, as recommended by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The RDC 6 Infrastructure Development Committee chaired by Iloilo Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, said in a resolution, that the Bacolod-Silay airport, that started commercial operation in January 2008, is now the sixth busiest airport nationwide, in terms of passenger movement, and fifth in cargo movement, citing CAAP records.
Montelibano said the Bacolod-Silay airport caters to 19 flights a day.
The actual passenger, cargo, and aircraft movement in the Bacolod-Silay airport has exceeded its project feasibility study projections in 2007 for passenger by nine percent, cargo by 18 percent, and aircraft movement by 40 percent, four years after.
The RDC resolution also states that, in order to address the growing passenger congestion, the airport passenger terminal building needs to be increased by 6,480 square meters to facilitate the expansion of the check-in arrival, and pre-departure areas and the installation of additional baggage handling system and boarding bridges.
Montelibano said adding 500 meters to the airport runway will allow the landing of larger aircrafts, such as Boeing 747, and address the rapidly increasing aircraft traffic.
The RDC approval is a preliminary requirement for the airport expansion to be included in the priority plans for Negros Occidental and Western Visayas for the preparation of budgetary allocations for the coming year.
The city government of Silay and Rep. Alfredo Benitez also agree on the road concreting of Brgy. E Lopez to Brgy. Patag and Lantawan to Patag, which are accessible to the Bacolod-Silay airport.
Montelibano said he was also informed by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. that the Department of Tourism has earmarked P45 million for the development of Patag, which is part of the Northern Negros Natural Park.
On the other hand, the construction of the 10-kilometer access road to the Bacolod-Silay airport, which has a budget of P404 million, is now ongoing. It consists of two lanes, six bridges, seven intersections, drainage and slope protection structures.
The project route alignment starts at the north tip of the Bacolod Circumferential Road heading northward, traversing sugar cane plantation areas in Talisay City and then northward to Brgy. Bagtic in Silay City.*GPB