TACLOBAN CITY, (PNA) – The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) of this highly urbanized city of Tacloban in a resolution strongly urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Office of the President to return the portion of the budget allotted for the rehabilitation of the DZR airport that has been realigned for the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
A total of 718.752 million from the P1 billion budget for the DZR airport rehabilitation was re-aligned to be used for the DAP.
This triggered criticism not only from residents and leaders in the region but some national officials as well.
The Daniel Z. Romualdez Tacloban airport is the seventh busiest airport in the country outside of Manila and Cebu.
On a daily basis, the DZR airport serves 11 Manila-bound flights of Cebu Pacific (CEB), Zest Air, Air Philippines, and SEAIR; and two Cebu-bound flights of CEB and Air Philippines.
It also caters to three flights weekly from Iloilo and vice versa.
The present condition of the DZR airport only shows that it needs improvements to address the more than one million airline passenger that use the airport every year.
The re-alignment of fund would only make the current situation of the airport worse, according to council members.
Vice-Mayor Jerry Yaokasin presiding chair of Tacloban city council said that the President should be true to his word when he mentioned the DZR airport in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) as among the airports which the national government would focus on.
He added that if only the President would see the condition of the airport right now, he would know that the DZR airport really needs to be rehabilitated and facilities have to be improved to ensure passenger comfort.
Councilor Cristina Romualdez for her part called on the national government to set aside politics if it really wants to help people and local government attain economic development.
The lady councilor said that election had long been done and elected officials to include the President should now focus on what they can do to help their constituents improve their living condition.
She also called on the President to serve the people beyond politics and set aside political difference with the administration of Tacloban City.
The rehabilitation project has four components namely construction of the apron and taxi way, the completion of North-East shore protection, construction of drainage system and construction of temporary transition to serve the increasing air passengers and cargo traffics, serve modern and bigger aircraft and provide safety to air commuters.
The Tacloban Airport Development Project was originally included in the Japan Bank for International Cooperation’s P3.75 billion loan package in 2001 but was excluded for the Philippine government’s failure to put up a counterpart. The loan expired in September 2007.