Making good to his promise, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade marked a historic milestone by successfully landing at the Bicol International Airport (BIA) in Daraga, Albay from Manila on Friday morning.
Watch me! Tugade to land on Bicol International Airport
Tugade, aboard Gulfstream 150, landed on the BIA runway at past 8:00 a.m.
The flight fulfilled Tugade’s promise to return to the province by end of July and land on the airport’s runway.
The momentous activity also aims to prove that the gateway remains on track for its target completion by September 2021.
Tugade added that he also intends to check the ongoing progress of the airport, which now stands at 90% completion rate.
Shortly after landing, Tugade led a site inspection of the airport together with other transport officials and local government leaders.
Present were Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Capt. Jim Sydiongco, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, AKO BICOL Partylist Representative Alfredo Garbin, Daraga Mayor Victor Perete, and Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal.
Among the facilities inspected were the gateway’s runway lights, arrival area, check-in counters, and pre-departure area.
Meanwhile, during the press briefing that followed the inspection, Tugade expressed optimism that the airport project will be finished on time.
“Alam niyo ‘ho ba kaninang magla-landing kami at pinipilit nila na ipakita sa akin ‘yung runway, nagpalakpakan ‘ho lahat ‘yung mga kasama ko, na kung saan ‘yung palakpak na ‘yun, hindi lang ‘ho tumayo ‘yung balahibo ko – lumuha ako,” Tugade said.
“Alam niyo ‘ho kung bakit? Marami ‘ho kaming dinaanan na problema at difficulties dito. Nagkaroon ng sunog dito – nasunog ‘yung equipment sa construction. Nagkaroon ‘ho ako ng Congressional hearing, alam ni Congressman Garbin ‘yan, na kung saan ako’y pinatawag at pinag-eksplika. Ang lagi ko lang sinasabi: ‘Bayaan niyo lang ‘ho kami magtrabaho – gagawin at gagawin namin ‘yan. 25 years ago pa po ito pinagpaplanuhan at hinihintay ng ating mga kababayang Bicolano. At ngayon, sa wakas ay matatapos na,” he added.