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Duterte to exit via Sangley

Hananeel Bordey

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte takes a tour around the facilities of the Sangley Airport in Cavite City during its inauguration on February 15, 2020. With the President is Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte was so proud of the swift construction of the Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) he inaugurated last Friday that he vowed his farewell plane ride to Davao City in 2022 will be through SPIA.

“I will take my last flight as President to Davao. I will use this airport,” Mr. Duterte said to conclude his address during the event.

“I’m just two years away and I will go home and pack up, and (I will) use my last flight as long as it will not go down there in the sea,” the President said.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed confidence that the new airport will boost the economy.

Go who joined Mr. Duterte in Cavite, also lauded Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade for a job well done for the initial phase of the project.

The airport, seen to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), was originally scheduled to be completed this March but Tugade committed to finish the project ahead of time to cut expenses.

According to Go, the completion of SPIA not only achieved another milestone in the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program of the Duterte administration but also helped boost the country’s economy. Being a key infrastructure project of the BBB program, the new airport will help improve Philippine tourism and the aviation industry at the same time.

Similarly, the President praised the early completion of the project and for the wise use of public funds.

“We have money. Look at Art (Tugade). I asked him, ‘How much did you spend for this? Seven hundred million? Oh, really?’ Look what the P700 million can do in the hands of a competent and a bright government official,” Mr. Duterte said.

The airport’s facilities will initially cater to commercial cargo operations. It will be utilized for general aviation and turboprop operations from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. DoTr also had previously done an operational dry run though a maiden Cebu Pacific cargo flight in October last year.

The airport also features a 750-square meter passenger terminal building equipped with CCTV, x-ray, baggage handling and a 160-passenger seating capacity that will support Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) operations for future commercial flights.

SPIA’s second phase, worth P500 million, will begin this year and is expected to be completed within eight months. It will involve further improvement of the drainage system of the airport and expansion of the existing runway to accommodate 4C aircraft or turbo jet planes.

The construction will also cover the improvement of the drainage system of SPIA and it will expand the existing runway to accommodate 4C aircraft or turbojet planes.

Gift, blessing

Tugade described the realization of Sangley Airport in Cavite as a gift and blessing by the President.

Taking inspiration from the President, the DoTr chief urged the public to utilize and take care of the newly-built facility to ensure “that this gift and blessing will be enjoyed even by future generations.”

He likewise conveyed his appreciation for the collaborative efforts among the national government, the local government unit, the armed forces and the private sector, which made this seemingly-impossible task of enabling Sangley Airport possible to accomplish and in record time.

Mr. Duterte said the SPIA is among the key projects of the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program which will provide alternative aviation infrastructure near the megacity.
The P486-million airport is now completed with the project’s priority facilities now fully operational.

The facility will eventually be turned into a massive air hub with four runways and terminals capable of handling 100 million passengers annually — three times the design limits of NAIA.

Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla Jr. said the target opening for the first phase of the project will be as early as 2022 with an annual capacity of 25 million passengers.

To address transport needs to and from the airport, a point-to-point (P2P) transport arrangement has been initiated and is now ready to operate.

A ferry system has also been arranged from CCP Bay to the airport.

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