Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed his optimism following the inauguration of the newly completed initial phase of the Sangley Airport Development Project (SADP) which was led by President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, February 15, 2020, in Cavite.
The airport, which is seen to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), was originally targeted to be completed by March 2020. Yet, upon the directive of the President, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade committed to meet an earlier deadline.
According to Go, the completion of SADP not only achieves another milestone in the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program of the Duterte Administration but will also help boost the country’s economic growth. As one of the key infrastructure projects of the BBB program, the new airport will help improve the Philippine tourism and aviation industry.
In his speech, President Duterte commended Tugade for completing the project ahead of schedule, and for wisely spending the government’s budget.
“Tayo may pera. Kita mo si Art (Tugade). I asked him, ‘How much did you spend for this? Seven hundred million? Oh, really?’ Look what the 700 million can do in the hands of a competent, a bright (government official). Ilocano ‘to,” Duterte said.
The President also said that he will use the airport for his last flight to Davao after his term ends in 2022.
“I’m just two years away and I will go home and pack up, and (I will) use the flight or my last flight as long as it will not go down there in the sea. I will take my last flight as President to Davao. I will use this airport,” the President said.
The airport’s facilities will initially cater to commercial cargo operations. It will be utilized for general aviation and turboprop operations from 6 AM to 6 PM. DOTr also had previously done an operational dry run though a maiden Cebu Pacific cargo flight in October last year.
The airport also features a 750-square meter passenger terminal building equipped with CCTV, X-ray, baggage handling, and a 160-passenger seating capacity that will support Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) operations for future commercial flights.
SADP’s second phase, worth P500 million, will begin this year and is expected to be completed within eight months. It will involve further improvement of the drainage system of the airport and expansion of the existing runway to accommodate 4C aircraft or turbo jet planes.
The DOTr and the National Housing Authority (NHA) are also in coordination for housing projects for affected soldiers from the Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force.
Meanwhile, Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla presented the proposal on the entire Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) project which will be funded by a private consortium. This project aims to decongest international flights in NAIA through the expansion and development of the Sangley Airport as an international airport.
In previous statements, Go advised government agencies in charge of infrastructure development to abide by President Duterte’s order to ensure that infrastructure projects under the “Build Build Build” program will be ready for use to benefit the general public. The Senator manifested this during the Senate plenary deliberations on the 2020 budget.
“Nag-usap po kami ni Pangulong Duterte. Ang gusto niya, hindi lamang po ‘Build Build Build’ kung hindi ‘Use Use Use’ din dapat ang mga infrastructure projects,” Go said previously, citing the several projects that the Duterte Administration is undertaking through the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the rest of the infrastructure cluster of the government.
“Makikita naman po sa presentasyon ng National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) na marami na po talagang nagawa at ginagawa ang administrasyon na ito para mapabuti ang buhay ng mga Pilipino; mga infrastructure programs na pina-fast track at ine-execute dahil alam natin na makakabuti ito sa ekonomiya at sa quality of life ng ating mga kababayan.”