Two foreign groups eye Passi City airport

(Photo Courtesy of shutterstock)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

Two groups from Korea and Singapore expressed interest to construct an airport in Passi City, Iloilo.

Passi City Mayor Stephen Palmares said a group from Korea already aired their interest even before the city government submitted its proposal to the Regional Development Council (RDC).

Duha kabilog ang interesado sa plan namon nga magput-up sang airport diri sa Passi. One is a Korean group na naghambal na nga interesado sila wala pa kami kasubmit sang amon proposal,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Another financing group from Singapore is also interested in the airport proposal of the local government, he added.

About three weeks ago, Palmares said the city government already submitted the airport proposal to the RDC.

The RDC deliberates and recommends key projects from the regional level to the national government.

Palmares said he and Vice Mayor Jesry Palmares conceptualized the idea of building an airport in Passi to jive with the proposed economic zone.

“We conceptualized it because kon may airport it will create an economic boost in Passi. Our foresight is it will go in harmony with our economic zone,” he said.

Passi City, the only component city of Iloilo province, is home to around 110,000 residents, according to Palmares.

The fourth-class component city’s major crops are sugar crane, rice, and pineapple.

Palmares said that since the city has no access to sea, an airport will move products and investors to and from the city.

Mabatian namon sa iban it’s a long shot because we already have many airports in the region but we are thinking and planning ahead for the city,” he said.

The mayor added that building an airport in Passi will also help decongest the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo.

Recently, authorities underscored the need to fast-track the expansion of the Iloilo airport to cater to MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) guests.

CAAP Iloilo Terminal Supervisor Art Parreño in previous interviews said an expansion is needed especially for the passenger terminal building which was constructed to cater to domestic operations.

In June, CAAP granted an original proponent status to the unsolicited proposal submitted by the Villar Group of real estate magnate Manuel Villar, Jr.

The proposal has been forwarded to the NEDA for evaluation and approval before undergoing a Swiss challenge.

Iloilo airport was opened in 2007 and was initially designed to cater to 1.2 million passengers a year, according to CAAP.

Due to the demand and expansion of international flights, the airport has been handling 2.4 million passengers annually in the recent years.

Meanwhile, Palmares said they are hopeful that their proposal will be realized either through a public-private partnership (PPP) or through funding by the national government.

Kon mag PPP or kon i-fund sang national government we are very much okay. We have nothing to lose, importante ginalantaw namon ang future sang Passi,” he said.

CAAP already conducted its site inspection on the 1, 000-hectare area in Brgy. Santo Tomas in Passi as a potential location of the airport, Palmares noted.