MANILA – Around PHP2.5 billion have been allocated to modernize various airports nationwide and help generate more job opportunities in the country, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Thursday.

Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said giving the Department of Transportation (DOTr) a total of PHP2.5 billion for its Aviation Infrastructure Program in the proposed 2023 national budget is in line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s goal of improving transportation infrastructure in the country.

“We fully support the directive of the President to give high priority to infrastructure development in our drive for growth and employment. Kasama po dito ang airports o mga paliparan sa bansa (These include airports in the country),” Pangandaman said in a press statement.

Under the proposed 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP), the DBM has increased the DOTr’s budget to PHP167.1 billion, higher by 120.4 percent from the PHP75.8 billion the agency received in 2022.

The DOTr’s big-ticket railway and road transport projects will get the largest share of the proposed PHP167.1-billion budget for 2023, while its aviation modernization projects will also receive a significant amount of budget.

The PHP2.48 billion allocated for the implementation of the Aviation Infrastructure Program will be used for the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of various airports across the country.

The airport projects include the modernization of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, Laoag International Airport, Tacloban City Airport, Antique Airport, and Bukidnon Airport.

Pangandaman said the proposed budget will also be used to finance the rehabilitation and improvement of other transport infrastructure projects in the aviation sector.

“With pouring much-needed budget to improve and modernize our airports, we help fulfill President Marcos’ directive to Build, Better, More,” Pangandaman said.

Tacloban City Airport would receive PHP1.42 billion, or bulk of the proposed budget for DOTr’s Aviation Infrastructure Program, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., vice chairperson of House Appropriations Committee, earlier said.

Antique Airport, otherwise known as Evelio Javier Airport, would get PHP500 million, while Laoag International Airport would receive PHP445 million, Campos said.

Campos said Bukidnon Airport and NAIA would get PHP80 million and PHP40 million, respectively.

In the President’s Budget Message, Marcos emphasized the importance of infrastructure development in economic transformation, especially to propel the growth of the agriculture, trade, and tourism sectors. (PNA)