Monday, January 25, 2021

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Tugade Leads DOTr Team’s Inspection Of Seaports, Airports

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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) took advantage of the long weekend which ended on Monday with the marking of Bonifacio Day to conduct a series of inspections of seaports and airports in the provinces of Samar, Cebu, Aklan including the cities of Tacloban and Dumaguete.

On Saturday, Team DOTr’s first stop was Calbayog City in Samar, where Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade led the inspection of the Calbayog Airport to check on the progress of its construction. The construction of the new Calbayog Passenger Terminal Building, as well as the widening/expansion of its runway and apron shall be completed in December 2020.

After inspecting the Calbayog Airport, the transport chief and other DOTr officials proceeded to inspect the Manguino-o Port, also in Calbayog.

“It is important that we inspect these airports and seaports, especially those that were in the path of the strong typhoons that recently barreled through the country. We must make sure that operations in these facilities will not be disrupted, and that these are safe for operators and passengers to use,” says Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. said in a news release on Monday.

The Manguino-o Port was previously damaged by Tropical Storm Tisoy (Kammuri) and will undergo rehabilitation starting December 2020.

Rehabilitation works will cover the construction of a continuous Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) ramp and a new Port Operations Building. Partial operability is slated before the end of 2021.

From Calbayog airport and Manguino-o port, Tugade’s team immediately proceeded to Leyte to check on the progress of the Tacloban Airport Development Project.

Upon arrival in Tacloban City, Tugade met with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) project management office and the contractor of the New Tacloban Airport Development Project, for a more comprehensive update on the project’s timeline and deliverables.

During the meeting, it was disclosed by the contractor that the original contract duration for the construction of the new Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) of the Tacloban Airport is 540 calendar days, which means it will only become operational by the second quarter of 2022.

Knowing that the project is of prime importance to the citizens of Leyte and nearby regions, Tugade directed the contractor to reduce the contract duration to 270 days, through the implementation of a 24/7 work schedule. The contractor agreed and committed to submit a revised implementation and catch up plan to CAAP by next week.

With this development, the new passenger terminal building of the Tacloban Airport is expected to be operational by the third quarter of next year, instead of the second quarter of 2022.

The DOTr Team also visited the Tacloban Port in Leyte to check its status and the ongoing developments, allowing Tugade to interact with port employees.

He conveyed his appreciation for their work and reminded them of the need to take care of the vital facility and to serve the people well.

“Tulong ko, ituloy mo (My support, you continue),” Tugade told the PPA employees, as he reminded them that his sacrifice, together with that of other DOTr officials who were working and inspecting projects even during long weekends, is his way of helping other Filipinos develop their respective communities.

Tugade reminded PPA employees that as members of their own communities, they should also continue pursuing this cycle of helping one another by paying it forward.

The team then flew to Bantayan Island in Cebu, for their last stop of the day, to inspect the construction works at the Bantayan Airport, where Tugade noted that its runway is now 100 percent complete. The airport’s perimeter fence is also about 75 percent complete.

He said the total project is now about 85 percent complete, with the last stages of concreting the 1.2-kilometer runway extension estimated to be completed by the end of the year.

“We will finish before the end of the year,” Tugade said.

On the second day of inspection, Team DOTr landed in Dumaguete City to inspect and check on the progress of the Dumaguete Airport Development Project.

Tugade and his team of officials inspected the newly-completed expansion project of the airport’s Passenger Terminal Building, as well as the asphalt overlay and shoulder grade correction of its runway.

After inspecting the Dumaguete Airport, Team DOTr then conducted a flyover inspection of the New Siquijor Airport where the Passenger Terminal Building, Powerhouse, and Vehicular Parking Area were completed on Oct. 30, 2020.

From Siquijor airport, Tugade and his team also inspected the progress of work being done on the Kalibo International Airport Development Project in Aklan.

The DOTr team underwent a walk-through of the Kalibo Airport work area and inspected the site development works for a new apron, taxiway, Passenger Terminal Building, Vehicle Parking Area, and the Airport Access Road. This development project is expected to be completed by July 2021, with the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) improvement project now 98 percent complete, and will be ready for operability before the end of this year.

Although not included in their itinerary, Team DOTr decided to seize the opportunity to conduct a surprise inspection at nearby Roxas Airport in Capiz to check on the progress of the ongoing site acquisition.

Upon landing, the transport chief and Team DOTr were welcomed by Roxas City Mayor Ronnie Dadivas, Pueblo De Panay Inc. CEO Jose Neri Ong, and Roxas Airport Manager II Cynthia Aspera.

The Team made the rounds at the Roxas Airport facilities, and also checked the proposed site acquisition for expansion. The team also inspected the completed asphalting of the runway shoulders and strip grade correction. The initial phase of the Roxas Airport Development project was completed last 2019.

Joining Tugade during the week-end inspection were DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Garry De Guzman, Office for Transportation Security (OTS) Administrator Undersecretary Raul Del Rosario, DOTr Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni Lopez, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Santiago, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippine (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco, and DOTr Assistant Secretary for Aviation and Airports Jim Melo. (PNA)

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