LEGAZPI CITY (PIA) - The Department of Transportation (DOTR) assured the operation of the Bicol International Airport (BIA) on December 2021 and the PNR South Long-Haul Project on the third quarter of 2025.
DOTR Secretary Arthur Tugade led yesterday the inspection of these infrastructure projects in the Bicol region, noting the 24-7 construction works at the BIA to finish construction by July this year.
"Tatapusin namin ang Bicol International Airport. Pabaunan nyo kami ng tiwala at dasal. Pursigido kaming matapos ang paliparan na ito (We will finish the BIA. Give us your trust and prayers. We are determined to finish this airport)," Tugade said.
The BIA, known as the "Most Scenic Gateway" of the country, is now at 82.22% overall progress rate after 13 years of delay. Once operational, it is expected to serve a total of two (2) million passengers every year.
In terms of job generation, 755 jobs were created during the airport's construction phase while 1,100 more indirect jobs await locals once the airport becomes operational.
PNR Bicol station
Tugade, together with other DOTR officials, visited the future location of the PNR Bicol depot station or the PNR South Long-Haul Project in Barangay Inarado, Poblacion, Daraga, Albay, which is 4.7 kms away from Daraga and 1.9 kms away from the Bicol International Airport to serve both Daraga and Legazpi City.
The DOTr and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) eye the partial operations of the San Pablo, Candelaria, Lucena, and Pagbilao segments between the first and second quarter of next year. Meanwhile, the full operation of the PNR Bicol Project is slated for the third quarter of 2025.
"DOTr and PNR worked hand in hand to innovate the country's railways. PNR's Manila-Legazpi service last run was in 2006. Through this project, we are also promoting Integrated Transport, as the PNR New Daraga Station is only 2 kilometers from Bicol Airport," PNR General Manager Junn Magno said.
About 560-kilometers long, the PNR Bicol railway line runs from Sucat, Paranaque 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 14-18 hours to just 6 hours with regular commuter trains and 4.5 hours with express trains.
Turnover of Albay Pantao Port
Meanwhile, Tugade announced the turn-over of the Pantao Port in Libon from the Philippine Ports Authority to the provincial government of Albay under Governor Al Francis Bichara.
Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Santiago also committed the turn-over of the administration and operation of the port effective June 1 this year, which is aimed to be utilized to serve the needs of Albayanos and boost local economy and commerce. (PIA5/Albay)