Airport to help discover untapped potentials of Dinagat Islands

By Zaldy De Layola

December 1, 2023, 6:02 pm

MANILA – A lawmaker on Friday said a proposed first airport in Dinagat Islands would help discover the province’s untapped potential as one of the country’s top tourist destinations.

Dinagat Island Rep. Alan Uno B. Ecleo also said an operational airport would foster greater development in Dinagat Islands.

“Through this airport, more tourists from inside and outside the country would discover the untapped potential of pristine natural landscapes comparable to destinations like Siargao, Palawan, and Boracay,” Ecleo said.

He added that during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s visit to the island province last September, the Chief Executive mentioned building an airport.

“[Ang] Dinagat, medyo isolated nang konti kaya’t kailangan natin gawan ng paraan para unang-una maganda ‘yung sa airport, ‘yun ang pinaka-madali (Dinagat is quite isolated and so we need to make a way to build a good airport, which would be most convenient),” Ecleo quoted the President as saying.

Experts from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) embarked on a comprehensive ocular inspection across potential sites within the province of Dinagat Islands last Nov. 28 and 29 as part of a technical study in conjunction with House Bill 3799, establishing an airport in the district of Dinagat Islands filed by Ecleo.

He said another required study from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is already underway.

“We welcome these developments as they would increase accessibility to our Islands by lowering the cost of transportation,” Ecleo said.

“This is good news not just for our local tourism, but also for agriculture, manufacturing, and our overall economy,” he added.

The CAAP saw the potential for the establishment of a single-runway airport tailored to accommodate 70-seater aircraft in four inspected possible areas in the municipalities of Libjo, Basilisa, Cagdianao and Dinagat.

Areas in Libjo and Basilisa showed potential for development despite the nearby mountainous terrain, while areas in Cagdianao and Dinagat within an established Timberland Zone “presented a vast expanse, albeit with considerations regarding ground-level suitability.”

Acting CAAP Aerodrome Operation Manager Francisco P. Alconera and Aerodome Engineer George Churchell A. Roluna, alongside Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Monitoring and Enforcement Chief Dennis Banacia, DENR Forest Technician Leonel Vic Semorlan, and the District Office of Congressman Ecleo, led by Recci C. Bacolor conducted the inspection. (PNA)