The House of Representatives ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the harmonized version of House Bill No. 8691 and Senate Bill No. 2168, both proposing the creation and charter of the Davao International Airport Authority.
House Bill 8691 is principally authored by Deputy Speaker Mylene Garcia-Albano while SB 2168 is authored by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.
The reconciled version of the bills seeks to empower the Davao International Airport Authority or Authority which shall be attached to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), to undertake the economical, efficient and effective control, management and supervision of the Francisco Bangoy International Airport (FBIA) in Davao City, the existing airports in the Davao Region, and such other airport within the area.
The main objective of the Authority shall be to encourage, promote and develop international and domestic air traffic in the Davao Region as a means of making the region a center of international trade and tourism, and accelerating the development of the means of transportation and communications in the country.
In addition, the Authority, upon its creation, shall also upgrade the services and facilities of the FBIA and formulate internationally acceptable standards of airport accommodation and services.
The measure mandates the Authority to undertake the following duties and functions: a) formulate a comprehensive and integrated development policy and program for the FBIA and implement, review and update them periodically; b) promulgate rules and regulations on the planning, development, maintenance, operation and improvement of the FBIA; c) levy and collect dues, charges, fees or assessments; d) invest its idle funds, as it may deem proper; and e) provide services within the FBIA, among others.
The Authority shall also exercise police authority in connection with the following, among others: 1) maintenance of security to passengers, cargoes, aircraft, airport equipment, structure, facilities, personnel, funds and documents; 2) regulation of the entry within the airports; 3) maintenance of peace and order; 4) regulation and supervision of private security agencies; and 5) enforcement of rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to the law.The measure also mandates the creation of a Board of Directors to practice the Authority’s corporate powers. The Board shall comprise a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and 13 board members.
The Board shall fulfill the following tasks: a) define and approve the programs, plans, policies, procedures and guidelines for the development and operation of the FBIA; b) approve the organizational and administrative structure of the Authority; c) approve salary ranges, benefits and other terms and conditions of service for all officers and employees; d) fix the rates of fees for the use of airport operations; as well as e) appoint the General Manager, who shall be the chief executive officer of the Authority.
The Commission on Audit (COA) shall assign a representative who shall be the auditor of the Authority. He or she shall submit reports to the Board regularly.
The Board then shall forward an annual report of the activities and operations of the Authority, together with the audit report, to the President of the Philippines as well as both Houses of Congress through the DOTr.
The Authority shall be exempt from realty taxes imposed by the local government or any of its political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities for the first 10 years of its operations.
Garcia-Albano, who represents the Second District of Davao City, said the creation of the Davao International Airport Authority will have a positive effect on the economic development of Davao City and the Davao Region. "It will substantially contribute to the quest of the region to emerge as the premier socio-economic tourism center not only in the Philippines but also in the Asia-Pacific Region. It will also spur further economic growth of the surrounding provinces in Mindanao,” Garcia-Albano said.
The House conferees consisted of Reps. Jesus Nonato Sacdalan (1st District, North Cotabato), Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City), Mario Vittorio Mariño (5th District, Batangas) and Orestes Salon (Party-list, AGRI). The Senate conferees were Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Richard Gordon and Juan Edgardo Angara