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Airline companies agree to relocate flights to Sangley Airport

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Airline companies have agreed to use Sangley Airport in Cavite for general aviation, freight turboprop operations, and commercial turboprop operations, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Thursday.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade made the announcement after he met with airline officials to discuss the immediate operationalization of Sangley airport and the government’s move to address aviation concerns.

The DOTr said general aviation refers to the operation of a civil aircraft other than a commercial air transport operation or aerial work operation.

“General aviation users will be notified to fully relocate in a year’s time to Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga and Sangley Airport to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA),” Tugade said.

Tugade said the move will free up space in the four terminals of the NAIA to allow for improvements and additions in the main gateway.

The transportation chief added that during the meeting, airline companies have pledged to cooperate with the government’s move to open Sangley Airport, as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“It was a productive and mutually beneficial meeting. Airlines expressed their willingness and commitment to support the government’s thrust to utilize Sangley Airport. This is a solid demonstration of their trust and confidence in the administration of President Duterte,” Tugade said.

The DOTr said airline companies will sign a pledge of commitment and support on June 24, 2019 as a manifestation of cooperation with the government’s initiative.

At the meeting on Thursday, Tugade was joined by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla, Michael Tan of Philippine Airlines, Lance Gokongwei of Cebu Pacific, and Capt. Dexter Comendador of AirAsia.

Tugade earlier ordered the 24/7 construction of the Sangley Airport to meet the operational timeline set by President Rodrigo Duterte in decongesting NAIA.

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Philippines’ biggest port passenger terminal opens in CDO

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced that the country’s biggest passenger terminal has been opened at the Port of Cagayan de Oro on Monday (July 15).

The DOTr said the building, which is located within the Passenger Terminal Complex of the port, is a massive two-story structure with a total floor area of 5,597 square meters.  

The new terminal has a capacity of 3,000 passengers, triple its previous capacity.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, led the inauguration of the new passenger terminal building, together with Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Manager Jay Santiago and PPA Port Manager for Misamis Oriental/Cagayan de Oro, Isidro Butaslac Jr.

“I have inaugurated many terminals during our term, and the truth is, this is the biggest passenger terminal building in the Republic of the Philippines. Ito ‘hong proyektong ito ay magbibigay tibay sa kagustuhan ng ating Pangulo na magkaroon ng mobility and connectivity sa Visayas at Mindanao (this project will fulfill the President’s wish of achieving mobility and connectivity in the Visayas and Mindanao),” Tugade said in a statement.

“With this terminal, you will have a convergence of people for mobility that will lead to economic growth,” he added.

The PTB features brand new facilities that are expected to enhance the safety and security of the riding public. It includes security checkpoints with x-ray scanners for baggage, body scanners, CCTVs, passenger boarding stations, collector’s booth, public assistance desk, designated green areas, storage room, and offices for passenger-related agencies such as quarantine, tourist police, and the Coast Guard, the DOTr said.

It also features amenities such as a play area for children, child care station, ecumenical prayer rooms, drinking fountains, toilet facilities, urgent medical care room, food stalls, pasalubong centers, and a special boarding lane for senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant women, and women traveling with children below two years old.

Aside from the new passenger terminal building, also inaugurated on Monday were the Port of Cagayan de Oro’s new electronic gate complex and the Opol Port in Misamis Oriental.

Meanwhile, the DOTr also announced that the terminal fee exemption for students has started on Monday in all PPA-owned and operated ports nationwide. Senior citizens, PWDs, and active personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) are also exempted from paying terminal fees.

READ: Students to get free train rides, airport and seaport terminal fees – DOTr

The department earlier said that students, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and selected uniform personnel in active service would get free rides as part of the government’s efforts to provide Filipinos comfortable lives.

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DOTr’s Tugade meets with Tolentino on emergency powers bid vs PH traffic woes

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade on Wednesday met with Senator Francis Tolentino to discuss plans on refiling an emergency powers bill to solve the country’s traffic woes, particularly in Metro Manila.

Tugade said he met with Tolentino to tackle the measure that has been pending in both chambers of Congress for more than two years.

The transportation chief said he will do his best to convince lawmakers to pass the bill, which he sees as a vital solution to the country’s perennial problem on traffic.

“‘Wag po nating pabaunan ng duda ‘yung deliberasyon, pababaunan ko yan ng kaliwanagan sa pag-uusap. Naniniwala ako na kung ang mga mag-uusap ay may kaliwanagan, magkakaroon ng kooperasyon, pwede po nating mapadali ito,” he told reporters in an interview.

(Let us not cast doubt on the deliberation, I will shed light on its importance during discussion. I believe than when it is tackled by people who understand it, there will be cooperation. This can be fast-tracked.)

Tolentino earlier said he will push for the emergency powers bid once the incoming 18th Congress convenes on July 22.

The lawmaker said his version of the bill focuses on strengthening the mandate of concerned agencies and local government units to address the traffic crisis.

“Nalagyan natin ng ibang detalye na wala dati, for instance ‘yung working hours, ‘yung adjustment ng oras ng pagpasok at yung role ng mga local government units,” he said.

(We have placed there details that are not present in the previous bill, for instance the working hours, adjustment of working hours and the role of local government units.)

The bill seeking to ease the worsening traffic situation was first filed after Duterte said in his 2016 State of the Nation Address that traffic problems should be legitimately addressed if Congress could accord him emergency powers.

He eventually gave up on his plan after some lawmakers said that the emergency powers might be used for corruption.

Under the proposed Traffic Crisis Act, previously filed in the 17th Congress, the Transportation Secretary will be designated as Traffic Chief with power of control and supervision over land transportation agencies. He will also have the authority to harmonize and enforce all traffic rules and regulations to implement a unified traffic system throughout each of the metropolitan areas and implement programs that will have significant impact on addressing the traffic crisis.

The bill was approved on third and final reading of the House of Representatives while its Senate version reached the plenary but was not approved until the 17th Congress adjourned.

Although there is a need to resolve the worsening traffic woes in the country, the DOTr said that once the bill is refiled, they will not ask the president to certify it as urgent.

“Kung magkasundo po kami sa mga datos at detalye, hindi po ba mas magandang pumunta kami kay pangulo na handa na yung detalye kaysa blanket na hihingin na wala pang detalye?  Hindi ho ba mas magandang proseso yung ganun?” he said. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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DOTR says 17 airport projects completed in Duterte’s first 3 years

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Seventeen commercial airport projects have been completed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s first three years in office, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) reported on Tuesday (July 9).

In a statement, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade underscored the importance of advancing air connectivity throughout the country and with the world, as the DOTr’s Aviation and Airports Sector and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) completed 17 commercial airport projects, with 28 more ongoing, in the first half of Duterte’s term.

“Connectivity and mobility in transport are key components in socio-economic development. By building new airports and rehabilitating existing ones, the transportation sector contributes to both regional and national progress,” Tugade said.

17 AIRPORT PROJECTS COMPLETED IN FIRST HALF OF PRRD’S TERM; 28 MORE ONGOINGAdvancing air connectivity throughout the…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Monday, 8 July 2019

Tugade said that during the first half of Duterte’s term, two new international airports have been built, namely, the Lal-Lo International Airport in Cagayan, and the country’s first eco-airport, the Bohol-Panglao International Airport.

Fifteen other existing gateways have also been upgraded, two of which are international and thirteen domestic.

Under rehabilitated international airports, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) opened its new Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) last year, boosting annual capacity to 13.5 million passengers. The airport was hailed as the world’s friendliest resort airport.

The Puerto Princesa Airport’s PTB was also expanded, and its runway extended to accommodate larger aircraft.

The DOTr added that domestic airports have not been left behind because last July 5, 2019, Ormoc Airport opened new facilities, including a renovated PTB and a widened runway. The new facilities were inaugurated by the President himself.

“Additionally, infrastructure developments for the domestic airports of Virac, Marinduque, Tuguegarao, San Vicente, and Busuanga in Luzon; Maasin, Tacloban, and Catarman in the Visayas; and Ipil, Camiguin, and Siargao in Mindanao, have been accomplished,” the agency said.

The DOTr, along with CAAP, said it is also accelerating the ongoing infrastructure development in 27 commercial airports and one military air base. The government is also set to build one more international airport, it further said.

The department likewise reported that rehabilitation works for the terminal 2 of the Philippines’ main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) continues.

“These include the expansion of departure check-in hall and arrival baggage area; architectural improvements in passenger movement areas; upgrade of aerobridge areas and elevated roadway; new glass wall panels and partitions; upgrade of air-conditioning system, power, lightings, fire protection, and electronics and communications systems; installation of an improved flight information display system and a new public address system; and waterproofing works for building exterior, among others,” the DOTr said.

As the NAIA rehabilitation continues, the government said it is also working on decongesting the main gateway through complementary infrastructure development.

“Additional facilities at the Sangley Airport in Cavite are now under 24/7 construction to meet the November 2019 deadline of the President for the military air base to commence general aviation and turboprop operations,” the DOTr said.

Construction is also ongoing for the second PTB of the Clark International Airport (CRK).

The department said its expansion is seen to increase the CRK’s overall capacity to 12.2 million passengers annually. An additional runway is also set for construction.

To further aid in the long-term decongestion of NAIA, the DOTr said plans are underway for the proposed New Manila International Airport (NMIA) in Bulacan. Bidding for the project will open on July 31.

Meanwhile, the Bicol International Airport is now more than halfway complete. The airport is expected to accommodate two million passengers per year, and is targeted for completion in 2020, the agency said.

International airports in Davao, General Santos, Zamboanga, Iloilo, Kalibo, and Laoag are also undergoing improvements.

Development projects continue, as well, for domestic airports in Busuanga, Cauayan, Naga, and Tuguegarao in Luzon; Bacolod-Silay, Calbayog, Catbalogan, Dumaguete, and Tacloban in the Visayas; and Bukidnon, Ipil, Laguinduingan, Mati, M’lang, Ozamiz, Sanga-Sanga, Siargao, and Surigao in Mindanao.

Aside from developing the nation’s airports, major programs and initiatives have been launched to further uplift aviation and airports services, such as the establishment of new Communications, Navigation, Surveillance / Air Traffic Management System (CNS/ATM) that now covers 100% of Philippine airspace, and the night-rating of 15 more commercial airports to further ease decongestion in major gateways.

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