July 17, 2024

■  Jane B. Cadalig 

The Department of Transportation is targeting to construct a P250-million multipurpose building and expand the vehicle parking area at the Loakan Airport in 2025.

DOTr Asec. For Aviation and Airports Enrique Antonio Esquivel said the agency included the projects in its budget proposal for 2025 as part of its efforts to provide the public a more comfortable, accessible, safe, sustainable, and affordable transportation.

Esquivel said the DOTr is focusing on improving the Loakan Airport facilities while it is currently scouting an area for the construction of a new airport in a different location in Baguio.

The P250M proposal for the construction of a two-story multipurpose structure and expansion of the carpark is among the DOTr’s initiatives to help enhance passenger experiences at the Cordillera’s lone commercial airstrip.

“The best we can do is to continue improving the Baguio airport because at this time, we are still faced with the challenge of locating a flat area for a new airport. We hope to get the support of the concerned local government units in having these projects included in our 2025 budget,” Esquivel said.

He, however, said the DOTr has secured funds for the conduct of a feasibility study, which will include the identification of an area suitable for the construction of a new airport. The amount for the study, which was included in this year’s DOTr budget, was not immediately disclosed.

“While works for the new Baguio airport are ongoing, the DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will continue development works in the existing airport to support its operational requirements,” Esquivel said.

To help improve the Cordillera’s accessibility, he added the DOTr has invested in the construction of an airport in Candon City, Ilocos Sur, which when opened to commercial flights, will help facilitate travel time to Mountain Province and Ifugao and boost the tourism industries of these provinces.

Esquivel was one of the resource persons during the Department of Tourism-Cordillera-led Tourism Investment Forum in Baguio on April 2 and 3.