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Bicol International Airport over 82% complete, eyes 2021 opening

  • Construction works for Bicol International Airport, to be known as the “Most Scenic Gateway” of the country, is now 82.22% finished and scheduled for completion within the year
  • The airport is expected to serve a total of two million passengers annually
  • Start of partial operations of the San Pablo, Candelaria, Lucena, and Pagbilao segments of Philippine National Railways (PNR) Bicol is eyed sometime in the first and second quarter of next year
  • The contract for the first package of civil works for PNR Bicol is expected to be published in May and the contract awarded in the third quarter of this year

Construction works for the Bicol International Airport (BIA) will be completed within the year, while partial operations of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Bicol are targeted for the second quarter of 2022, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

BIA, to be known as the “Most Scenic Gateway” of the country, is now at 82.22% overall progress rate, with construction works going nonstop to complete the project within the year, DOTr said in a statement.

At present, BIA’s Package 2A, which covers the construction of landside facilities and other buildings, is 94.40% complete and targeted to be completed this month.

Meanwhile, Package 2B, covering the construction of the passenger terminal building and runway extension, as well as the taxiway, drainage, and other site development works, is 68.14% complete and slated to be completed by June this year.

In addition, ongoing works for the embankment and construction of access road and slope protection are now at 52.50% and should be completed by this October.

Once operational, the airport is expected to serve a total of two million passengers annually.

DOTr said 755 jobs were created during the airport’s construction phase, while 1,100 more indirect jobs await locals once the airport starts operations.

DOTr and PNR, meanwhile, are eyeing the partial operations of the San Pablo, Candelaria, Lucena, and Pagbilao segments of PNR Bicol between the first and second quarter of next year.

The basic detailed design for civil works package 1 (Banlic, Laguna to Daraga, Albay) is already finished, following DOTr’s signing of the contract for the project management consultancy in 2018.

The civil works contract package 1, meanwhile, is eyed for publication within May and contract awarding is set for the third quarter of this year.

On-site activities are also ongoing, including a land parcellary survey, preparation of an environmental impact assessment, and acquisition of land, according to DOTr undersecretary for railways Timothy John Batan.

The full operation of PNR Bicol, or the PNR South Long-Haul Project, is slated for the third quarter of 2025.

About 560 kilometers long, PNR Bicol railway line runs from Sucat, Parañaque in Metro Manila to Matnog in Sorsogon, and from Calamba to Batangas.

Once operational, PNR Bicol is expected to reduce travel time between Manila and Legazpi from the current 14 to 18 hours to just six hours with regular commuter trains and to 4.5 hours with express trains.

Around 20,000 jobs were generated during the construction of the rail project and the project is seen to generate 10,000 more local jobs once it becomes operational.

Meanwhile, Tugade and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) general manager Jay Daniel Santiago on May 13 committed to turn over the administration and operation of Pantao Port in Libon to the provincial government of Albay by June 1 this year.

Tugade assured that the transfer of Pantao Port from PPA to the Albay provincial government underwent thorough study.

In November last year, PPA Administrative Order No. 08-2020 was issued which revises the guidelines for the transfer of management and operations of PPA ports to local government units.

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