LAOAG CITY – The Ilocos Norte government has started the acquisition of around 150 hectares needed for the expansion of the Laoag International Airport this year.
Lawyer Athena Nicolette Pilar, acting general manager of the Metro Ilocos Norte Council (MINC), confirmed this on Monday following the approval by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council) of Resolution Number 2024-01-245, which granted Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc the authority to enter into a deed of absolute sale for land structures or improvements.
"These lots are located in Barangays Apaya, Calayab, and Araniw,” Pilar said, noting that landowners have expressed willingness to sell the land.
Pilar said "at least 50 percent of the total amount will be paid to the landowner upon signing of the deed of sale and the remaining balance will be paid in full once the property is transferred under the name of the Republic of the Philippines."
Earlier, officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Ilocos Norte government inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to facilitate the land acquisition, with a funding of over PHP1 billion.
Under the agreement, DOTr will provide the financing for the payment of the affected properties and the improvements in the area, as well as administrative costs, disturbance compensation, assistance to displaced people, and transfer and registration of land titles.
The provincial government will also be in charge of the procurement of the services of an independent property appraiser.
To enhance Ilocos Region’s connectivity and mobility, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has vowed to make basic developments such as road improvements for easier access to tourism spots, upgrading of airports, and creation of more international airports to help decongest the bottlenecks at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila.
With the expansion project, Manotoc expressed hopes to revive international and regional flights at the airport, including direct flights between Laoag City and Honolulu, Hawaii.
To date, only Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines are flying regularly at the Laoag International Airport, connecting passengers to Manila and Cebu. The Laoag airport can accommodate 440 passengers, so far. (PNA)