Round-the-clock construction work on the Bicol International Airport (BIA) is set to start this July to meet its target completion date within the year for priority facilities set by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.
Although the construction of the airport development project at present is in full swing, construction work will be done 24/7 starting this July.
The Bicol International Airport originally started in 1996 (pre feasibility study), while the Notice to Proceed was issued in July 2009. Meanwhile, construction works for the runway, taxiway, apron and fences were mostly left uncompleted in 2012, and budget was reverted to the national treasury.
It was only when the Duterte Administration came in 2016 that the construction of Landside Facilities (Project 2A) began. Runway Extension and the construction of the Passenger Terminal Building (Project 2B) commenced in 2017.
As of 24 June 2020, Package 2A of the airport development project, which is handled by Sunwest Construction, is already 81% complete. This covers the landside facilities, such as the Administration Building, Air Traffic Control Building, Crash Fire Rescue Building, and the Maintenance Building.
Meanwhile, Package 2B, which covers the construction of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) and the runway, is 34% complete. Its project contractor, E.M. Cuerpo committed to provide additional manpower to finish said priority facilities within the year.
Overall, the completion rate of the Bicol International Airport now stands at 66.61%.
Hailed as the country’s ‘Most Scenic Gateway,’ the BIA features the iconic Mayon Volcano as its magnificent backdrop. Once completed, the BIA is expected to strategically boost air traffic and tourist arrivals in Albay province and spur regional growth in the Bicol region, making it an economic powerhouse.
Secretary Tugade said the continuous development of transport infrastructure is vital during this time, as the country starts recovering from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It can’t be denied that the aviation sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. That’s why it is important that we finish the airport at the soonest possible time as this will absolutely give the economy a boost. Gusto ko matapos ‘yan within the year dahil gusto na natin itong agad na mapakinabangan ng ating mga kababayan. As we ready for take-off, kung baga, dapat all systems go,” the transportation chief stressed.
Meanwhile, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni Lopez said that the expedited construction work for the airport is a way to offset the period of work suspension and unnecessary delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To recall, we have initially targeted to finish the airport by July this year. Unfortunately, we encountered delays that have hampered the early completion of the Bicol International Airport. But, as committed by our contractors, we will work triple time and meet the deadline set by Secretary Tugade by the end of the year. Rest assured that although we are expediting the airport’s completion, we will still follow the allowable budget costs without sacrificing the quality,” Asec. Lopez said.
Asec. Lopez and Asec. for Aviation Jim Melo conducted an unannounced inspection on the construction site last Sunday, June 28.
For its part, construction company E.M. Cuerpo said it is committed to the directive of Secretary Tugade to finish the airport project within the year.
“Ang amin pong commitment kay Secretary Tugade, tatapusin namin ang extension ng runway at ang PTB shell ng Setyembre habang ‘yung mga ibang gawain para tuluyan nang matapos ang mga priority facilities ng ating paliparan ay tatapusin natin hanggang Disyembre. Sana makisama rin ang panahon. Kaya naman po tumugon kami sa kautusan ni Secretary Tugade na tuluy-tuloy ang trabaho hanggang gabi. Sa katunayan nga po, pagdating ng unang linggo ng Hulyo, kami po ay magdadagdag ng 100 workers para magawa nating 24/7 ang pagtrabaho sa airport. Iba kung si Secretary Tugade ang nag-utos, kailangan tumupad.” E.M. Cuerpo President and Chief Executive Officer Architect Rene Cuerpo said. DOTR