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PIA Press Release

Drilon urges PNP to intensify security for new Iloilo airport

Iloilo City (11 October) -- Senator Franklin Drilon, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee has called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to implement appropriate security measures to ensure the safety of the New Iloilo Airport Development Project so as not to delay its opening amidst the bombing of the New Bacolod (Silay) Airport of international standard in Negros Occidental last Sunday.

In a press report, Drilon said the new Iloilo airport of international standard will become operational in March 2007 while the Negros Occidental airport was set for completion in the second quarter of 2007.

Last October 9, the Senate Finance committee chaired by Drilon approved a P5.5 billion infrastructure fund that will pave the way for the operation next year of these two biggest airport projects in Region 6.

"The bombing of the Negros airport is certainly a setback, but the move of the committee to provide funding for this airport sends the signal that we are determined to push through with the project that will bring the region economic progress," Drilon said in a press report.

New People's Army rebels numbering at least 30 and disguised as policemen raided the New Bacolod (Silay) Airport of international standard before dawn of Sunday, bombing structures and torching construction equipment.

In the wake of this development, the government urges the public to cooperate because such terror acts will only affect the economy negatively and embolden political destabilization that will hurt the country and destroy the gains that has already been achieved. It also continues to press on with measures to secure vital projects and infrastructures in the country and to further intensify the counter- terrorism campaign in all fronts.

The allocation for the New Iloilo Airport of international standard in Iloilo amounting to 2.712 billion and P2.788 billion for the Negros Occidental airport was declared by Drilon during the committee hearing on the P17.6 billion budget of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) for 2007 submitted for Senate approval.

"The rise of a first-rate airport in Western Visayas that is compliant with international standards is crucial to the development of the country. This will boost our air transportation services, making the Philippines more accessible to the rest of the world", said Drilon who along with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza launched the P6.2 billion Iloilo airport project in January 2004.

Drilon added that Iloilo, whose airport has the fourth highest passenger traffic in the country, will benefit from the influx of tourists and investors once the new airport becomes operational in March 2007. (PIA) [top]

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