OFW groups back SMC airport

More than 10 overseas Filipino-related groups have urged government to speed up the SMC-proposed Bulacan airport project seen creating more jobs and attract more investments. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Various groups strongly urged the government to fast-track final negotiations for the building of a new international airport in Bulacan.

“The aspirations of overseas Filipino workers for a better life and a better Philippines are rising and optimism is at an all-time high. One of our deepest aspirations is to have a world-class airport that we can all be proud of, that can unlock our country’s growth potential so that our beloved OFWs would have something better to come home to – for good,” 14 OFW-related groups said in separate letters sent to President Duterte and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The petition to Malacañang and the Department of Transportation was signed by Blas F. Ople Policy Center, Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines, OFW Watch, OFW Chamber of Commerce, OFW Council of Leaders-KSA, Kabalikat ng Migranteng Pilipino, Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak ng Migranteng Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc, LBS Recruitment Solutions Corp, Philippine Association of Migrant Workers & Advocates, Kaibigan ng OCWs, OFW Committee, Zonta Club of Quezon City, United Filipino Seafarers, Ang Kaagapay ng Bawat OFW, Filipino Malaysian Cultural Sports and Workforce Training Program and the Bulacan Federation of OFW Family Circle Officers.

Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, said they wrote the letter as an expression of support not just to the building of a new airport in Bulacan but also for other infrastructure projects that foster job creation and OFW reintegration.

“Optimism is high that once these critical projects begin, then floodgates for more jobs and potential investments will be flung wide open. Hopefully, more of our OFWs would be enticed to return and reunite with their families because more local jobs would be open to them,” Ople said.

In their letter, the OFWs cited the following reasons as basis for their support:

“Around 4,000 to 5,000 OFWs leave the country daily. They deserve an international airport that is efficient, comfortable and can be just as accessible and conveniently situated as NAIA.”
The various groups said the construction of the new airport over five to six years will create new jobs and businesses that increases the productivity of workers and entice OFWs to reintegrate or return home.

“The airport project will be financed without using taxpayers’ funds.”

The OFW groups also noted that Bulacan province is fast becoming the next growth area. It is adjacent to Metro Manila and a strategic neighbor of Pampanga, thus accelerating and strengthening the growth corridor for investments and tourism for the Central Luzon-Northern Luzon corridor.

The NMIA, as proposed and envisioned by San Miguel Corporation, promises a world-class terminal, four runways, a road network, connection to MRT and ferry services.

The building of a new international airport in Bulacan is seen to create more than a million new jobs while easing perennial flood problems in the province through the building of a coastal highway that would also serve as a spillway.

“We look forward to witnessing the completion of not just one but perhaps several new other international airports nationwide within our lifetime. This would truly make our OFWs proud to come home,” Ople said.

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