Bet on it: Bicol International Airport to be completed this year, says Tugade

Published May 14, 2021, 8:36 PM

by Ariel Fernandez

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Arthur Tugade has assured the public that the construction of the breathtaking Bicol International Airport (BIA) will be completed within the year.

(Photo from DOTr)

To ensure that big-ticket infrastructure projects in the region remain on track, Secretary Tugade visited Albay Thursday, May 13 to lead a series of inspections with other DOTr and local government officials.

The first stop of the scheduled inspections was the much-awaited BIA, of which construction works have been going 24/7 since last year on the directive of Tugade.

The transportation chief said the DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) under Director General Jim Sydiongco will be pushing for the comtinued construction of the airport so that it would meet its target completion date within 2021.

“Hangarin ko ho na matapos ang konstruksyon, at maging operational ang Bicol International Airport bago matapos ang taong ito (My goal is to finish the construction and begin of operations of the BIA before the end of the year),” Tugade said.

The BIA, known as the “most scenic gateway” of the country thanks to its use of the Mayon Volcano as its backdrop, is now 82.22 percent complete overall. The airport’s construction had been set back by13 years of delay.

Once operational, it is expected to serve a total of two million passengers every year.

“Matagal na panahon na pong hinintay ng sambayanan, lalo’t higit ng mga Bicolano, ang pagtatapos nitong [BIA]. Ngayon ho, malapit nang matapos ang aktwal na konstruksyon nito (The entire people, especially Bicolanos, have long been waiting for the completion of the BIA. Now, the actual construction is nearing its end),” the DOTr boss noted.

The BIA’s economic impact is undeniable: 755 jobs were created during the airport’s construction phase and another 1,100 indirect jobs is expected to be scooped up by locals once the airport becomes operational.

At present, the Package 2A of the BIA, which covers the construction of landside facilities and other buildings, is 94.40 percent complete. It is targeted for completion this month.

Meanwhile, Package 2B covering the construction of the passenger terminal building (PTB) and runway extension, as well as the construction of the taxiway, drainage, and other site development works, is 68.14 percent complete. By June, all of these works are expected to be done.

In addition, the progress rate for the embankment and construction of access road and slope protection are now at 52.50 percent. It is being eyed for completion this coming October.

Tugade and team DOTr also inspected the alignment and the future location of the depot station of the Philippine National Railways (PNR)-Bicol or the PNR South Long-Haul Project in Legazpi City, Albay.