By Mike Crismundo
SURIGAO CITY – City and provincial officials here are calling on the national government to fast-track the proposed rehabilitation and expansion of Surigao City Airport.
The airport was damaged when a magnitude-6.7 earthquake struck the city in February last year.
When interviewed by the media, Surigao City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas said the absence of a direct Manila-Surigao City flight was affecting business and other transactions in the city.
The nearest airport that could be accessed from this city and other major parts of Surigao del Norte is Butuan City, which is almost three hours away by land.
“City and provincial governments are making follow-ups with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to push through with the implementation of the rehabilitation and expansion of our airport,” Matugas pointed out.
The city chief executive added that, right after the earthquake, the local government had already submitted proposals to the DOTr for the airport’s rehabilitation and expansion.
“In fact Secretary (Arturo) Tugade had already made an inspection and proposed that the runway be extended from 1.7 kilometers to 2.1 kilometers,” bared the city mayor.
Negotiations with landowners to extend the runway is now on going, and the DOTr, through the local government of Surigao City, has already purchased some properties in the area, Matugas pointed out.
He said the proposed program for the expansion was already submitted to the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Caraga region, chaired by Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol F. Matugas for endorsement to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).