THE LOCAL government of Cotabato made a pitch last week to potential locators and airline companies for an airport in the southern province that is planned for revival.
Cotabato Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza, in her 1st First 100 Days Report, said the airport project remains a priority as it is considered a vital infrastructure for economic development, particularly for moving agricultural output and tourism.
The project, previously known as the M’lang Airport and now referred to as the Central Mindanao Airport, is not included in the list of priority airports under the 2023 national budget.
“A team of stakeholders… are set to leave for Manila before the end of this week to do a pitch for possible locators and airline companies,” said Ms. Mendoza, who will be heading the delegation.
Cotabato Rep. Ma. Alana Samantha Taliño-Santos has also been in talks with officials of the national tourism and transport agencies to secure funding for the planned reopening of the Central Mindanao Airport.
At the same time, the governor said the legal office is working on the processing of documents for private properties acquired by the provincial government for the airport site.
“Tourism is an important sector that will provide additional livelihood for each Cotabateño,” Ms. Mendoza said in her report.
Cotabato has several eco-tourism destinations, including an entry point to Mt. Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines.
The Central Mindanao Airport is included in the Mindanao Development Authority’s (MinDA) priority infrastructure projects portfolio.
It is seen to “catalyze inclusive and balanced rural development in Mindanao… complement General Santos and Awang Airports and will boost the economic activities of the area where many agricultural products, including highly-perishable fruits come from,” according to MinDA.
Ms. Mendoza also reported that roads and other vital infrastructure such as water systems in the rural areas are being implemented.
“It (road network) is the key to rural development as it provides access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transport systems for those who need it most… linking our farmers to markets, students to schools, workers to job sites, and patients to hospitals,” she said. — Maya M. Padillo