Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara is backing plans by the national government to embark on a P492 million rehabilitation of the Loakan Airport, but also wants to include an access road upgrade as part of a comprehensive approach to improve the city’s infrastructure necessary to further boost its local business and tourism.
Angara, who was in Baguio City recently for a political rally organized by the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) which is endorsing his candidacy, said the city a very important urban center in the Cordilleras–should not be left out in the massive infrastructure program rolled out by the government.
“Hindi dapat maiwan ang Baguio City sa mga programang pang-imprastraktura ng national government, lalung-lalo na ang Loakan Airport, dahil malaki ang maitutulong nito upang lalo pang yumabong ang ekonomiya ng siyudad,” said the seasoned legislator.
The veteran lawmaker, however, cautioned government against the possible displacement of residents and informal settlers who could be affected by the airport upgrade and construction of the access road.
“Dapat ay isaalang-alang din ang mga residenteng maaapektuhan. Dapat ay kasama sila sa plano ng pag-unlad,” the senator added.
He said that the government, at the very least, must ensure that affected residents would be compensated and informal settlers are provided resettlement.
“Government must ensure that affected residents would be compensated.”
According to reports, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is now coordinating with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for the modernization of Loakan Airport landing system, facilities and equipment prior to possible resumption of its operations.
The Baguio City Council has earlier passed a resolution informing CAAP and NEDA of its commitment to open the airport to domestic commercial flight operations as a way of improving tourist traffic and easing road congestion due to the influx of visitors particularly during long weekends and summer vacation.
The national government has reportedly earmarked P246 million to jumpstart the initial works for the upgrading of the airport under the 2019 national budget, while the balance of the funds will be allocated in next year’s budget.
Angara believed the full operation of the Loakan Airport would help stir the economy of the entire Cordillera region.
“The full operation of the Loakan Airport would help stir the economy of the entire Cordillera region.”