Commentary: New Iloilo Airport augurs well for Panay Island growth

PIA Press Release 2007/06/14

Commentary: New Iloilo Airport augurs well for Panay Island growth

ROXAS CITY (14 June) -- The New Iloilo Airport (NIA) of international standard, which was inaugurated by President Arroyo June 13, will augur well for a higher level of development in the Island of Panay which comprises the provinces of Iloilo, Aklan, Antique and Capiz.

This was the gist of the remarks made by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Ryuichiro Yamazaki at the inauguration of the P8.759-billion new airport facility which the Government of Japan helped build under a special yen loan package agreement.

The loan agreement was signed on August 31, 2000 by the Philippine government and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in the amount of 14.7 billion yen.

In his message, Yamazaki said he was happy to note that with the new airport, which is located in Cabatuan, Iloilo, the island of Panay has acquired a new basis for future growth.

He said airports and air transport are vital to the development of island communities, serving as a gateway for transporting people and goods.

Since it is also used sometimes by people from other provinces in the island as well as those from the island province of Guimaras, the Iloilo Airport, then located at its old site at Mandurriao, Iloilo City, handled the fourth biggest volume of passengers in 2006 next to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the international airports in Cebu and Davao.

The higher passenger volume at Iloilo Airport reflects a 50 percent increase over the last ten years.

Thus, there is a need for a bigger and more efficient airport to meet the growing passenger volume, the ambassador said.

The new Iloilo airport is one of the 31 priority airport projects that the government has lined up to complete under the Medium-Term Public Investment Program as part of President Arroyo's overall development agenda and to support the development of the country's five Super Regions that would spur tourism, investments and agriculture.

Yamazaki said the completion of the new airport is another success story of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) program in the Philippines in cooperation with the Philippine government's efforts towards poverty alleviation and mitigation of regional disparities.

He also vowed that Japan shall continue to help in strengthening the Philippine economic structure towards sustainable growth.

Furthermore, he said the project is one of the examples of the comprehensive partnership between the Philippines and Japan towards promoting our bilateral relationships which are better than ever before. (PIA)

Cabatuan, Iloilo, Philippines - Timeline 2007