Bicol International Airport construction progress rate now at 72.2% — DOTr
Robie de Guzman • January 20, 2021 • 371
MANILA, Philippines – The construction of the Bicol International Airport (BIA) project is moving at a fast pace, logging an overall progress rate of 72.2 percent, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Wednesday.
The actual construction of the airport started in December 2016.
It is comprised of Packages 2A and 2B. The DOTr said that as of January 13, 2021, the package 2A of the BIA Development project is now 88.2 percent complete.
Construction work in Package 2A is being handled by the Sunwest Construction and Development Corp. and covers the airport’s landside facilities, such as the Administration Building, Air Traffic Control Building, Crash Fire Rescue Building, and the Maintenance Building.
Package 2B of the airport project, meanwhile, is now 49.5 percent complete. Package 2B which is being handled by the E.M. Cuerpo construction company, covers the construction of the passenger terminal building (PTB), taxiway, runway extension, and other site development works.
Once completed, the Bicol International Airport, which features the iconic Mayon Volcano as its magnificent backdrop, is expected to serve a total of 2 million airline passengers every year.
The new international airport is also projected to boost air traffic in the region amid the existing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The BIA initially started construction in 2008. However, development works were uncompleted until 2012.
“When the Duterte administration came in 2016, the airport’s Package 2A and 2B projects were continued,” the DOTr said in a statement.
An important component of the Duterte Administration’s “Build, Build, Build” Program, the BIA also intends to be an instrumental in the transformation of Albay Province, and the rest of the Bicol Region, into a strong economic contender.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade stressed the importance of having continuous transport infrastructure developments such as the BIA, which will prove vital as the country starts recovering from the impact of COVID-19.
“It can’t be denied that the aviation sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. That’s why it is important that we finish the airport at the soonest possible time, as this will absolutely give the economy a boost,” Tugade said.
“Gusto ko matapos ‘yan within the year dahil gusto na natin itong agad na mapakinabangan ng ating mga kababayan. As we ready for take-off, kung baga, dapat all systems go,” he added.
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Public Services on Tuesday said it has recommended the repeal of the department order and all issuances related to the delegation of the motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) to private operators.
The panel, headed by Senator Grace Poe, said in its Committee Report No. 184 that the implementation of the MVIS is “flawed” and that the policy is “half-baked.”
“In the meantime, the repeal of DOTr DO (Department Order) 2018-19 and all related issuances is recommended,” the report read.
“While fees have been lowered for now and testing seems to have been made optional, the implementation of this flawed program must be stopped definitively pending the resolution of issues hounding it,” it added.
The committee cited in its report various concerns on the implementation of the MVIS.
These include the issues on the legality of the MVIS privatization, lack of consultation and transparency in accreditation, inadequate number of inspection centers in operation, glitches in the system, and overall incompatibility of private motor vehicle inspection systems with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) IT and landscape of motor vehicles in the country.
The panel said these issues remain unresolved without decisive action from the Department.
It further recommended that the Senate blue ribbon committee conduct a probe on the “highly anomalous transactions” surrounding the accreditation of Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs) and officials involved.
“The questionable issuances seem to have created a favorable environment for an oligopoly where only very few players can enter and succeed,” the report stated.
“The inexplicable dark moments during the evaluation process and lack of transparency in the eventual accreditation of winning service providers bear badges of fraud which should be further investigated by the appropriate committee,” it added.
The panel likewise pointed out in its report that the absence of clear definition of roadworthiness, coupled with identified flaws in the inspection standards, “almost guarantees that there will be errors in the test results.”
“[N]ot only that this might lead to corruption, some also believe that it intends to facilitate the phaseout of older vehicles without due process,” it added.
The report also emphasized that while “the policy of ensuring only roadworthy vehicles ply our roads is commendable, a half-baked policy is a bad policy.”
Poe earlier asked the DOTr and the LTO to submit the names of the companies and incorporators of the accredited PMVICs.
The committee report said that 12 out of 24 of them do not have enough capitalization to finance an expensive inspection center costing more than P50 million, and eight others registered as sole proprietorships contained no information as to their financial standing.
It also pointed out that with only 24 PMVICs currently operational out of 458 originally targeted by the LTO, the unclear noncompulsory status of the MVIS only leads to more confusion for motorists.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that the MVIS will no longer be mandatory following criticisms in its implementation.
The Transportation department also announced that PMVIC testing fees were lowered from P1,500 to P600 for private vehicles, and from P600 to P500 for motorcycles. The rate for public utility jeepneys, on the other hand, will remain at P300.
MANILA, Philippines – All individuals inside a vehicle are required to wear face masks, regardless if they are from the same household, the transportation and health departments said Friday.
In a joint statement, the two agencies said that the wearing of face masks is mandatory when the driver is with passengers inside the vehicle even if they are from the same household.
A driver can only remove his/her face mask if travelling alone.
This is pursuant to the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), the two agencies said.
The transportation department said law enforcement agencies are yet to discuss and agree on how to implement the policy as well as the penalties to be imposed for violations.
The DOH-DOTr noted in their joint statement that proper coordination shall be made with and between the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), other law enforcement agencies, and local government traffic offices/units, concerning the proper implementation of this unified and clarified policy, and the imposition of appropriate fines and penalties for violations thereof, in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)
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