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Jolo, Bongao airports undergoing P430-million upgrade

Vol. XXII, No. 41 [ BusinessWorld Online ]
Monday, September 22, 2008 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The airports of Jolo in the province of Sulu and Sanga-Sanga in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi are now undergoing rehabilitation and upgrade under a P430-million project jointly funded by the US and Philippine governments.

The projects are expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

Manuel T. Jamonir, infrastructure specialist of the United States Agency for International Development-funded Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program, said the projects include the expansion and widening of the existing runways as well as upgrading of the passenger terminals, to include new baggage conveyors and x-ray machines.

"The two airports are now designed to accommodate big aircraft," Mr. Jamonir said in a recent interview.

The memorandum of agreement signed by GEM, the Civil Aeronautics Board, as well as the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) noted that the rehabilitation of the two airports would help expand economic activities in the two provinces.

Currently, the two airports are being serviced by South East Asian Airlines, which uses a small Islander plane.

With the rehabilitation, Mr. Jamonir said more airline companies would establish regular flights to these provinces.

He said GEM will fund most of the improvements of the runways, while the Philippine government, through the DoTC will handle the improvement of terminal facilities and the acquisition of the lands required for the expansion of the airport strip.

For the Jolo airport, the runway would be extended from 1,200 meters to about 1,845 meters, requiring a P230-million budget. The Sanga-Sanga (Bongao) Airport will be extended by an additional 300 meters from the existing 1,608 meters and would entail expenditures amounting to P200 million. — Darwin T. Wee

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