MANILA - The construction of a PHP17-billion airport to replace the existing Dumaguete airport would help handle the influx of passengers, expected to reach up to 2.5 million by 2038, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Saturday.
In the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City, DOTr Assistant Secretary Leonel Cray de Velez said the Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport is already surrounded by urban development and offers limited space for expansion.
"The existing Dumaguete Airport in 2019, it reached around 800,000 passengers," he said. "What we don't want is ma-overcrowd iyong (is to overcrowd our) existing airport."
The Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport accommodates domestic flights only but the new facility "may have opportunity for international as well," de Velez said.
Of the project funding, at least PHP13 billion will come from Seoul's official development assistance through the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank), while the remaining PHP3.9 billion will be shouldered by the DOTr.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the project would be "implemented within seven years" in Bacong, Negros Occidental.
The New Dumaguete Airport Development Project is one of seven high-impact infrastructure project proposals approved by the NEDA Board during its third meeting on Feb. 2.
NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the projects would significantly contribute to achieving socioeconomic transformation in the medium term.
"In line with the strategies identified under the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, the approval of these high-impact projects is a manifestation of the Marcos administration's strong commitment to improving the quality of life of the Filipino people," Balisacan said in a statement. (PNA)