Duterte leads inauguration of Bicol int'l airport, 'most scenic' in PH

Published October 7, 2021, 7:03 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

It took a president from Mindanao to help finish the crown jewel of transportation in Bicol.

President Rodrigo Duterte (center) gets a quick tour of the Bicol International Airport during the facility’s inauguration on Oct. 7, 2021 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

President Duterte led the inauguration Thursday, Oct. 7 of the Bicol International Airport (BIA), dubbed “the most scenic gateway” in the country thanks to its sharing the skyline with the picturesque Mayon Volcano.

“The completion of this world-class, state-of-the-art government infrastructure project brings us pride and joy as it will provide better transportation for our people who are traveling to and from the Bicol region,” said Duterte, who was physically present at the airport in Daraga, Albay for the special occasion.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade received the Chief Executive, who was given a short demo on the online check-in process at the airport upon his arrival.

“I congratulate the DOTR as well, its local officials and project partners including the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for turning the Bicol International Airport into a reality after an 11-year delay,” Duterte said in his speech.

Conceived in 2008, the BIA project has actually outlasted the terms of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the late former President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Duterte, a former longtime Davao City mayor, took over as president in 2016, replacing Aquino. The Mindanaoan promised a new golden age of infrastructure development in the country, and the BIA fits well into this.

Bicol International Airport (Photo from PNA)

“Indeed, today’s inauguration is another milestone in the administration’s ‘Build, Build. Build’ program. We are fulfilling our mission of improving the lives of Filipinos by providing quality infrastructure projects that allow greater connectivity and mobility, create more jobs, and boost economic activity in other regions,” he said.

He added that the P3.5-billion airport “promises to provide unforgettable travel experience not only of visitors but also of many Bicolanos”.

The BIA sits on a 200-hectare plateau 15 kilometers from Mayon Volcano. It is meant to replace the old Legazpi Airport, which even closer to the volcano at only two to three kilometers away.

It will handle an estimated 2.2 million passengers every year.

“I am confident that once fully operational, this airport will be able to serve the needs of two million passengers annually and provide efficiency, reliability and safety standards to ensure modern airport.

“Let us look forward for a stronger and more vibrant future of the entire Bicol region and its surrounding provinces. Mabuhay at congratulations para sa inyo (Long live and congratulations to you),” Duterte said.