President Rodrigo Duterte slammed the New People’s Army (NPA) for attempting to block or stall government infrastructure projects that would bring development to the countryside.
Duterte, in his speech on Thursday afternoon during the formal opening of the Bicol International Airport (BIA) here, said atrocities by the communist rebel movement delayed the completion of the project.
Construction of the BIA, which started in 2009, took 11 years to finish.
“This NPA has been overtaken now by modernization, those that they burned here only showed the bankruptcy in their minds,” Duterte said, referring to the construction equipment torched by the NPA during the previous years.
The President led the inaugural ceremony of the BIA, the first international airport to be built in Southern Luzon, along with Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, top officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and local officials led by Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara.
He said the completion of the world-class, state-of-the-art government infrastructure project, brings pride and joy as it will give better transportation service to the people traveling to and from the Bicol region.
“The completion of the BIA was now a reality after 11 years of delay. This inauguration is another milestone of the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program with a vision of improving the lives of Filipinos,” Duterte said.
He said the airport, dubbed as the country’s “most scenic gateway”, would provide unforgettable travel experiences and stories from visitors and many Bicolanos.
He urged the management and staff of the BIA to ensure that passengers would get the best quality service and confidence that they deserve. “Let us look forward to a stronger and more vibrant future of the entire Bicol region and its surrounding provinces,” he added.
Duterte witnessed the demonstration of the features of the new contactless, self-service check-in kiosk led by Tugade and CAAP Director General Captain Jim Sydiongco.
The BIA is projected to serve a total of two million passengers every year, resulting in a boost in air traffic and tourist arrivals in the region.
With the iconic Mayon Volcano as its backdrop, the BIA is envisioned to be a key infrastructure that will transform Albay province and the Bicol Region into a thriving economic powerhouse, with many livelihoods and tourism opportunities.