A partylist lawmaker today joined the call of former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to expand the passenger capacity of airports that are operating way beyond their capacity.
Rep. Jesulito Manalo of ANGKLA Partylist made the call during the Transportation Oversight Committee hearing called by Speaker Arroyo to address the reported congestion of airports particularly in Iloilo, Bacolod and Cagayan De Oro, airports that were built during her presidency.
Manalo said the Iloilo International Airport was built with a capacity of 1.2 million per year but is now operating with 2.4 million passengers. The Bacolod Silay Airport has a capacity of 1.2 million passenger but is now accepting 1.6 million passengers per year while the Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan De Oro has a 1.6 million capacity but is now accommodating 2.4 million passengers.
He pointed out that the three airport have asked for a combined budget of P2.955 billion (Iloilo airport for P855 million, Bacolod for P850 million and CDO for P1.3 billion). But under the proposed 2019 budget, airport expansion was only given a P90 million budget.
Manalo stressed that the inconsequential budget given to the country’s airports is lamentable considering the P70 billion allotted by the Department of Budget of Management for departments without their knowledge.
“This is the reason why lumalaban ang Congress sa bicam ng budget because the P70 billion na hindi hiningi ng agency should be given to infrastructure na hinihingi ng departments for public good. So these 3 airports alone dito dapat i-allocate ang budget na yan and that I think was revealed in today’s hearing where Congress is fighting for taxpayers’ money na magamit for the convenience of the public,” he said.
This is the reason why the Oversight function of the House of Representatives as spearheaded by Speaker Arroyo is crucial to ensure that taxpayers’ money is put into projects most needed by the public.
“The utilitzation of our funds under this Congress is what Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is doing kaya we are fighting because we want to ensure that taxpayers’ money will be utilized by agencies who really need it,” he stressed.