MALAYBALAY CITY--Some 50 Indigenous People (IP) families affected by the airport project in Don Carlos town will soon be relocated following the provincial government's approval of their request for financial assistance.

The Unified Ancestral Domain of Manobo Kirenteken in Barangay San Nicolas, Don Carlos town has earlier requested for relocation and livelihood funds from Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr.

Headed by Datu Teodoro Andil, the group has asked the provincial government for a financial assistance amounting to PHP5 million to cover relocation expenses as well as livelihood projects. The amount represents PHP100,000 in financial assistance for each family.

Responding to the request, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) on Tuesday granted Zubiri the authority to extend relocation and livelihood assistance to the group.

Early this month, Zubiri noted the necessity to relocate the affected families for their safety and well-being.

For its part, the IP group said they will use the financial assistance to purchase a 50-hectare relocation site in Pangantucan town, where they plan to erect 50 housing units

Located in Barangay Maraymaray, an adjacent village in San Nicolas, Don Carlos town, the Bukidnon Airport Project is a flagship project of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri earlier said the airport has 2.65-kilometer runway and capable of handling Airbus 320 and 330, and Boeing 727 and 737 planes.

Zubiri said lot acquisition for the airport is expected to be completed this year and a total of PHP54 million has been allocated for it. He added that another PHP625 million is already available for site development that includes earth works and site preparation which is expected to start this year.

The construction period for the project is two to three years.

Once completed, Zubiri said the airport will be serving the entire province of Bukidnon and the nearby provinces of north-central Mindanao such as North Cotabato, Davao del Norte, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and even Davao del Sur. (Mel B. Madera/PNA)