PGMA inspects Siargao airport expansion
by Rode dela Cruz
Siargao, Surigao del Norte (17 May) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Friday (May 14) inspected and showed delight at the ongoing expansion of the Siargao airport expansion program which entails widening and extending the runways and improving the administrative and passenger terminals to ensure that these modern facilities will add to the attractiveness of the province to both local and foreign tourists.
Upon arriving at the airport, the President was met by Del Carmen Mayor Constantino Navarro IV, Sayak Barangay Chairman Samuel Sulima, Siargao Airport OIC Gina Villamor, Transportation and Communication Siargao Airport Project Engr. Nestor Bravo and PNP Surigao del Norte Commander Gilbert Cruz.
The President was delighted to hear and announced that come November bigger bodied planes from Manila will now be able to land in Siargao, thereby improving the province's accessibility and attractiveness to local and foreign tourists. She expressed the hope that eventually these will be daily flights and not just two planes a week (or every Monday and Friday) by just the Cebu Pacific plying the route from Cebu province yet.
Villamor said the runway extension is part of the promises made by the President in her state of the nation address and is being undertaken jointly by the Department of Transportation and Communication and its private sector partner, EquiParco of Robin Javier.
President Arroyo, after the project briefing at the airport, said she hopes the incoming administration will not abandon or discard whatever work has been undertaken in the airport and in other infrastructure projects as well so that residents and other people can greatly benefit from their completion.
She said she is proud that Siargao is now famous not just for its being a surfing capital of the Philippines but for its game fishing and mangrove or everglade river cruises, which are now both gaining popularity fast here and around the world.
The President, after being briefed on the airport expansion project, said if continued by the next administration, the upgraded airport will boost flight arrivals from the current 72-seater flights of the Cebu Pacific, which comes only once every Monday and Friday to at least daily flights from both Manila and Cebu.
Villamor said she is proud that tourism in Siargao is no longer seasonal or only during summer but throughout the year. Tourists are both foreign and locals who brave the strong waves during the rainy season to pursue their love for open sea sports.
The terminal expansion is 60 percent complete which costs P24 million which entailed the renovation of the administration building and the passenger terminal facilities.
To be able to make Siargao airport really be world class as envisioned, she said it would hopefully be attained by 2015, assuming that the incoming administration would be supportive of continuing and pursuing the Arroyo administration's programs to modernize the country's ports and airports, she said.
Siargao Airport was built in 1964 by President Arroyo's father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal but was renovated and upgraded only in 2008 to accommodate more flights, other than the small bodied planes.
As outgoing Del Carmen Mayor Constantino Navarro IV said "we can not afford to discard and stop this program because we have already succeeded in making our tourism a year-round affair." (PIA-Surigao del Norte) [top]