ZAMBOANGA CITY –- The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)-Western Mindanao Governor Pedro Rufo Soliven said Friday it is high time the Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA) is transferred to a new location.
Soliven’s statement came after it was announced that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has opened the proposed construction of another airport in Barangay Mercedes for Private-Public Partnership (PPP).
The present location of ZIA is just within the two-kilometer distance from the city proper while the Barangay Mercedes, which has been identified as a secondary growth center and host of the proposed New International Airport under the Master Development Plan, is 12.75 kilometers east of this city.
“It has been long overdue, it is about time that we have to use other ways creatively to bring in funds to fast track this project because that is very relevant in the anticipation of the ASEAN integration,” Soliven said.
“Zamboanga City will play a very vital and strategic role from being the backdoor of the Philippines to the front door to ASEAN,” Soliven added.
He said there will be dispersal of commercial establishments and traffic will be unclogged once the airport is transferred to Barangay Mercedes.
He said there will be also faster movement of goods and “it will be easier for businessmen because there will be more flights.”
However, he said that it must be clarified whether the operations of the new airport will be through PPP or build-operate and transfer (BOT) scheme.
He said the present ZIA property can be converted into a new commercial business district.