The Department of Transportation (DOTr) must allocate funding for Vigan Airport Development Project in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur under its proposed 2023 budget, a request made by a congresswoman from the north.
Ako Ilocano Ako Party-List Rep. Richelle Singson wrote a letter to House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez about her request to the DOTr, headed by Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, after the budgetary allocation for the airport was not included in next year’s National Expenditure Program (NEP).
The improvement of the Vigan Airport will cost P340 million that will cover the construction of the control tower building and runway.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) estimated the budgetary allocation for the construction of the control tower building, including power supply and installation of communications and MET equipment at P120 million, while P220 million is needed to widen the airport’s runway.
Launched in April 2018, CAAP said the vital components of the project have already started with 88.24 completion, among which are the expansion of passenger terminal building, construction of administration building, improvement of vehicle parking area. The procurement of the runway site acquisition is also ongoing.
“I can understand why there is a growing public disappointment on the matter. After eagerly expecting the completion of the improvement of the Vigan Airport, the budgetary allocation was not included in FY 2023 National Expenditure Program in spite of the DOTr proposing it to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM),” she said in a statement.
Singson, who is an architect by profession, noted the airport upgrade is crucial to the development of Vigan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Data culled from the DOTr/CAAP showed that Vigan Airport was able to register 47,856 passengers in 2018, a more than triple increase in just a period of two years from 14,645 passengers in 2016.
Moreover, Department of Tourism (DOT) statistics showed that the number of travelers in Ilocos Sur from January to December 2019 reached 397,022, almost 286,000 of them visited Vigan City.
“What was started must be finished. Otherwise, it would be a complete waste of government funds if the remaining portions of the project are not continued and completed. We cannot let this project relegated as another failed infrastructure venture,” Singson said.
“We deserve to fully reap the benefits of seeing a completed Vigan Airport. It cannot be another reason to limit influx of foreign and domestic travellers who wish to experience the charm of Ilocos Sur and Vigan,” she added.