Taclobanons and the rest of Leyte were ecstatic over the announcement of building a national airport in the city. But soon this delight wore out after delays and no progress in the construction of the facility.
For years, travelers and locals noticed how the supposedly noise of the construction suddenly stopped.
Originally, the contract budget of the project was P699.162 million. Later, it was a staggering P759.030 million which, they contended, was to also accommodate the remaining works of a Control Tower Building.
Started on December 5, 2020 by contractors MAC Builders from Ormoc and ML Builders, Inc. from Davao, through a joint venture, the project had been delayed more than once. From the original target completion on May 31, 2022, it was moved to July 31, 2023. And now, it's May 2025.
Reports from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines as of July 27 revealed a slippage of 38.655 percent which is more than the allowed 15 percent as the difference from the execution price.
Meanwhile, the over 500 days of delay not just affects the project itself but the local economy as well as it suffers a major loss as days pass.
“Other than the San Juanico bridge, this is the biggest multi-billion-peso project this region has ever had in terms of financial cost and potential economic impact. There is a huge cost to the economy each day this Tacloban Airport Development Project is delayed,” Atty. Junie Go-Soco, former National Economic and Development Authority Regional Director and current Regional Development Council Private Sector Representative, said.
By the time of its completion in 2025 or 2026, assuming that is even possible, around P3 billion would have been spent by the national government on the project.
“If the average tourist spends $100 per day of stay and stays for just 3 days, that's $300. If there are 500 tourists arriving per day then that's 15,000 tourists a month spending $300 each per day that amounts to a gross expenditure of a whopping $4.5 million a month or $54 million a year,” Go-Soco added.
Employment set back
Furthermore, if the completion dates had been followed, the airport would have been able to generate additional employment for the region.
Imagine wages for one month of a minimum wage worker in the region at P375 per day times 20 working days in a month or a monthly salary of P7,500. Dividing P1.2 billion of labor by P7,500, we arrive at 160,000 workers who could have been employed in hotels, restaurants, malls, and transportation.
With its effect, the question now lies as to why the CAAP continues to hold on to a clearly problematic contractor who refuses to cooperate, much less explain the delays despite the multiple leeway that has been granted.
This refusal to act had fortunately led the RDC to step-in and issue a resolution to recommend the RDC VIII to urge the CAAP to deny additional requests for extensions to terminate the contract with MAC Builders and ML Builders, Inc. to the neglect and seemingly lack of urgency towards the project.
As of the moment, the resolution is yet to be approved and agreed upon by the council until the votes are in by August 8.
However, this probe on the project may hopefully wake CAAP and the local officials of Tacloban to take action not just on big projects such as the airport, but on all projects whose contractors give little to no care on the contracts they sign up for.
#LongOverdue #Tacloban #OpinYon