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Palawan leaders to fasttrack airport terminal PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 April 2008

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 16 (PNA)-- Political leaders in Palawan rallied their support to Mayor Edward Hagedorn in urging the Department of Transportation and Communication to fasttrack the completion of the renovation of the city’s airport terminal.

Palawan second district Rep. Abraham Khalil Mitra shared the sentiment of Hagedorn, expressing his disappointment over snail-paced rehabilitation of airport terminal.

The airport terminal, particularly the pre-departure and check-in areas, are now the subject of several complains due to intense heat which has resulted in at least one death.

Both Hagedorn and Mitra also expressed concern on the delay in the progress of work which has caused inconvenience to the public primarily in the pre-departure lounge where departing passengers suffered from sweltering heat due to poor ventilation.

This has been aggravated as airline passengers arrived in drove for the summer and the 2008 Palarong Pambansa scheduled here from April 20 to 26.

Reports indicated that in the past four months of its operation (January to April 2008), airport authorities reported two fatalities and a few more suffered from ‘heat stroke’ because of the poor ventilation.

”While they enjoyed their stay in Puerto Princesa. But when they left, they forgot all their happy memories because of the bad experience at the city airport,” Hagedorn said.

He said the situation could affect tourism, as the city is hosting the Palarong Pambansa for the first time.

The city official also urged the DOTC to prioritize the city airport rather than construction more airports in the other areas.

The airport has long been on the priority list for expansion but work started only last year.

He said he was personally assured by President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo that the funds for implementation of the temporary airport terminal’s development would be financed by proceeds from Malampaya income which will also fund the proposed P3.2-billion airport project.

He added that the city’s airport terminal is a very crucial facility that could not be neglected at all.

“At this time, Puerto Princesa City is getting nearly as many tourists as Boracay even without an aggressive, all-out marketing campaign. We will not allow incompetent and irresponsible officials at the ATO wreck years of hard work to bring our city to its lofty status as one of the country’s premier tourist destinations today,” Hagedorn said.

Delving into the current problem of the airport terminal, Hagedorn explained that the entire P3.2-billion Puerto Princesa City airport modernization project is largely dependent on how Phases 1 and 2 would be put up and operated by the ATO. Phase 3 is the construction of a brand new airport terminal building.

The P27-million first stage of expansion was bid out last year and was finished in January this year. From a floor area of 16 meters by 81.5 meters, it is now 21 meters by 81.5 meters.

The P97-million second stage will cover the finishing for the extension and the rehabilitation of the existing terminal. However, the second stage is yet to commence.

Mitra said the DOTC is very slow in implementation of project, citing the non-realization of the foreign-funded loan package four to five years ago intended for the airport upgrading.

Meanwhile, the provincial board Tuesday approved a legislation to loan out five portable air conditioned units to the city airport as mitigating measure to the apparent lack of cooling facilities in the pre-departure lounge

Board Member Cipriano, who authored the legislation, said they requested Gov. Joel Reyes to loan out and install the five air conditioned units at the airport to alleviate the present problem which has caused great inconvenience to the public. (PNA)


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