LEGAZPI CITY (PIA) -- Bicolanos expressed hope, excitement and gratitude over the successful test flight and landing of the Gulfstream Jet 150 at the Bicol International Airport (BIA) in Albay, July 30, Friday.
Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, together with other local transportation officials, landed on the BIA runway aboard the said aircraft past 8:00AM to prove that the gateway remains on track for its target completion by September 2021.
Albay Congressman Joey Salceda, who has been pushing to fast-track the construction and completion of the BIA, thanked President Rodrigo Duterte and Tugade for “coming closer than any administration” to completing the BIA, which he called “a longstanding dream of the people of Albay and Bicolandia.”
“When this is all done, it will be the completion of a longstanding dream. We are very thankful to President Duterte and Secretary Tugade and of cours, to President (Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo for getting this project started in the first place, and President (Benigno) Aquino for his efforts to work on the project,” Salceda said.
Bicol Regional Development Chair and Legazpi City Mayor is hopeful to boost tourist arrivals, with this new development.
“Upon the completion of this, this will surely move two million passengers per year. That means, increased tourist arrivals,” he said.
OFW Rose Sabinosa from Libon, currently in Hongkong, expressed excitement to go home.
“(With this airport), I’m excited to go home!” she said.
“Wow madali ng maka-uwi. Dyan na ang baba ko, mas malapit na sa Sorsogon. Good job! (Going home is easier. I’ll be landing in that airport. Its nearer Sorsogon )” said Edith Balbuena, an OFW from Sorsogon currently working in Macau.
“Nakaka proud baga. Haloyononooonon ta baga pighalat na matapos adi! (It’s a pride. We’ve all been waiting for this to be completed, right?),” Salvador Milagrosa Sarto posted online.
Esther Capuz, a teacher from Legazpi City is hopeful for more jobs.
“Salamat sa Dios malapit ng matapos. Maraming trabaho sa mga Bicolanos (Thank God it’s near completion. That’s more jobs for the Bicolanos),” she said.
“Thank you so much po and Congratulations! The best talaga ang Build Build Build Program sa pamumuno ni PRRD! More more projects to finish. Sobrang ganda na ng Pilipinas (Build Build Build Program is the best under PRRD! The Philippines is getting better),” Noraly Borrero of Tabaco City said.
Hailed as the country’s “Most Scenic Gateway” as it highlights the iconic Mayon Volcano, the BIA is expected to accommodate a total of two million passengers per year once fully operational. At least 755 jobs were given to locals during the construction phase, while 1,100 more indirect jobs are expected once the airport begins commercial operations before the end of this year.
The BIA, currently 90% complete, is targeted to be operational for domestic commercial flights by October this year. (SAA/PIA5/Albay)