LAOAG CITY – The Laoag International Airport is set to expand more by acquiring its adjacent lots, measuring 205 meters east and 170 meters to the west from the center lane.
Lawyer Rizza Joy Vallestero, chairperson of the bids and awards committee of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) confirmed this in an interview on Monday, as the body looks forward to securing PHP1 billion fund from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the site acquisition alone.
Vallestero said the affected lots cover the Barangays Calayab, Apaya, and Gabu Sur here.
“So far, the lot owners were already informed about the Laoag airport’s expansion of its runway and they have agreed to it with just compensation,” she said.
Based on the appraisal report on the properties affected by the expansion, Provincial Assessor Herminio Castillo said a total of 58.4752 hectares are set for acquisition, consisting of 275 lots and 62 residential buildings and other improvements.
To facilitate the land acquisition, Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc and a DOTr undersecretary for aviation and airports will be entering a memorandum of agreement (MOA).
Under the proposed MOA, the DOTr will fund the acquisition of affected lots and the improvements in the area, including administrative costs, disturbance compensation, assistance to displaced people, and transfer and registration of land titles.
It will also be in charge of the procurement of the services of an independent property appraiser for purposes of property appraisal.
To boost the tourism sector, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. earlier vowed to make basic developments such as road improvements for easier access to tourism spots and the upgrading of airports and create more international airports to help decongest the bottleneck at the Manila airport.
Four years ago, the Laoag airport could only accommodate a combined number of 140 international and domestic passengers.
But through the initiatives and development projects pursued by the DOTr and the CAAP, the airport can now serve 200 international passengers and 240 domestic passengers.
The ongoing upgrading of the airport is expected to enhance the Ilocos region’s connectivity and mobility as it will further boost the province's economic growth, tourism, and socio-economic opportunities. (PNA)