DAVAO CITY – The Davao Oriental government has renewed its call for the expansion of the long-abandoned airport in Mati City, Davao Oriental after it initially secured funding to pay for the lot where it was built in the 1980s.

Photo courtesy of google.com.

The former governor of the province, now First District Rep. Nelson Dayanghirang, turned over half of the amount for the land acquisition to the owners of the property before stepping down from his previous post on June 30.

The budget, secured from the national government, for the land acquisition was P200 million, including other fees. The acquired property is at 174,040 square meters and is owned by the Rabat and Rocamora clan.

Based on the information from the provincial government, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) suggested another P240 million for the rehabilitation and expansion of the facility, named after the mother of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and was built during the time of the late governor Francisco Rabat as the gift of Marcos’ namesake father, then the President, to the province.

Rabat, the most prominent member of the Rabat-Rocamora clan, was a close friend of the late strongman that he was able to persuade the national government to build the airport even when the lot where it was built was not donated nor sold to the government.

The airport, Dayanghirang said, will be instrumental in drawing more tourists to the province as the provincial government has also spent about P150 million to refurbish its tourism complex, a facility just about five minutes away from the provincial capitol.

The development of the airport, he said, would complement the development of the tourism complex.

“This (government initiative to develop tourism facilities) is a necessary support to the initiatives of the private sector as partners of the province in various tourism activities,” he said, adding that these initiatives will serve as a big boost to the industry.

Regional Director Tanya Rabat-Tan of the Department of Tourism, said the operation of the airport, which is eyed by next year, will lure more tourists to the province which is known for its lengthy coastline, a world-recognized heritage site in Mt. Hamiguitan, and other eco-tourism attractions.

“The province has a huge potential especially if you introduce the proper type of development in the province,” said Rabat-Tan, a niece of the late governor.

The provincial government and the DoTr have yet to start the development of the project plan for the expansion of the airport.

Former Second District representative Joel Mayo Almario proposed before Congress that it be an alternative to the Francisco Bangoy International Airport.

The plan to develop the airport started to snowball in 2019 when officials of the province sought the help of the national government to push it so that it could accommodate bigger planes. If used now, only smaller planes like turbo-propelled ones can land because of the shorter runway, the absence of better landing instruments, and other necessary facilities like a terminal.

The proposal was to acquire 270,000 square meters of land, including the land where it is occupying at present so that it could accommodate bigger airplanes like Airbus.

Even during that time when the lot where the airport is located as well as the acquisition of a bigger lot were not seen as a huge problem because the owners, the Rabat-Rocamora family, were supporting the plan.



Source: Mindanao Times ( https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2022/07/04/mothballed-airport-expansion-in-mati-city-receives-fresh-life/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mothballed-airport-expansion-in-mati-city-receives-fresh-life)