Politics

Land acquisition underway for new Zamboanga City airport site

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THE EXISTING Zamboanga International Airport is planned for conversion into a commercial complex when the new one is built. — CAAP

NEGOTIATIONS are underway for some of the private lots that will have to be acquired for the planned new Zamboanga International Airport, according to the Zamboanga City government.    

Representatives of the City Planning and Development Office and City Assessor’s Office informed Mayor John M. Dalipe in a meeting on Tuesday that state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has so far appraised 44 properties.   

“Out of 44 lots appraised by the Land Bank of the Philippines, 10 lots amounting to P152M are now subjects of negotiation,” the local government said.   

An initial P1-billion fund under the national budgets for 2019 and 2020 have been allocated for land acquisition for the new airport that is estimated to cost P9.9 billion.   

A portion of the allocation was ready for downloading in early 2020, before a state of emergency was declared due to a coronavirus pandemic.   

Reelected Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, the mayor’s brother, initiated the inclusion of the fund in the General Appropriations Act for those two years.   

The city government, under former Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, was planning to put up the project under a public-private partnership scheme.  

The new airport site is located about 17 kilometers outside the congested city center, where the current Zamboanga International Airport is located.   

In Feb. 2018, former Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III expressed support in moving the airport “to a new, more viable location.”    

The existing airport is planned for conversion into a commercial complex. — MSJ