ANGARA: REHABILITATION OF LOAKAN AIRPORT GOOD FOR BAGUIO BUSINESS, TOURISM
BAGUIO CITY--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 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 is in the Summer Capital on Friday for a political rally organized by Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) which is endorsing his candidacy, said Baguio City--a very important urban center in the Cordillera--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 Angara.
The senator, however, cautioned the 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," he added.
Angara said that the government, at the very least, must ensure that affected residents would be compensated and informal settlers are provided resettlement.
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.