Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has requested the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to include a P600-million to P700-million allotment for relocating National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) towers to allow the Bicol International Airport (BIA) to expand its runways in order to accommodate international flights.
Salceda, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, met with DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista dat and other transport officials on the operations of the BIA.
“During this representation’s February 7 meeting with the honorable Secretary, the CAAP emphasized the need to relocate towers of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines that stand in the way of runway expansion to allow for international flights in the Bicol International Airport,” Salceda stated in a March 10, 2023 letter to Bautista.
“In view of this and the ongoing budget call, may I urgently request that the Department of Transportation include the estimated P600-700 million required to complete the relocation in its budget request for the National Expenditure Plan (NEP),” Salceda added.
“This representation will fully endorse such a request by the DOTr with the economic managers and support its adoption by the House leadership in the House General Appropriations Bill (HGAB),” Salceda also assured transport officials.
Salceda bared that the reason international flights could not be accommodated currently as due to high tension wire, the runway is shorter. PAL wanted to locate some OWWA flights during the pandemic in BIA but could not due to the same restriction.
Salceda, as a former adviser to President Arroyo, requested the former President to fund the feasibility studies and preparatory works for the project in 2004 while he was Congressman, and later urged for its completion until the Duterte administration.
BIA is envisioned as the country’s most scenic gateway, and was supposed to take international flights this year if not for the technical issue.