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TWO commercial airline plans to launch international flights from the new Iloilo airport, according to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). 

DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza announced the plan during the groundbreaking of the P124-million secondary access road to the new airport in Cabatuan-Sta. Barbara area. The groundbreaking of the access road was held at Brgy. Tabucan, Cabatuan last week. 

“The Iloilo Airport is now complete. Darating na ang international flights,” Mr. Mendoza said. 

Mr. Mendoza said Cebu Pacific airlines is planning to launch its Iloilo-Hongkong flights while Korean Airlines which will mount South Korea-Iloilo flights.       

Mr. Mendoza said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the establishment of an international desk which will be administered by the Customs Immigration and Quarantine. 

He said the influx of direct international flights to Iloilo will bring in more investors to the area. 

“This could be achieved because of the potentials of the area near the airport to become and industrial zone which will eventually becoming an economic zone,” Mr. Mendoza said.

The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Western Visayas had lobbied for international flights to the Iloilo Airport. 

Two Western Visayas airports already accommodate international flights – the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan, Malay, Aklan and the Kalibo International Airport in Kalibo, Aklan.

The RDC’s Regional Project Monitoring Committee of RDC-Western Visayas said the Iloilo airport can generate P280,000 from terminal fee collections daily from international flights.

The airport currently serves 16 outgoing domestic flights daily, with an average volume of 90 passengers per flight.

Iloilo airport began operating June 14, 2007 in lieu of the old Mandurriao airport in Iloilo City which had been in service for over 70 years. 

The new airport is officially designated as a Class 1 principal (major domestic) airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. 

The new Iloilo Airport can accommodate aircraft as large as the Airbus A330 because of its longer runway.

The airport is located along Tomas Confesor Highway, a major highway traversing Panay Island.

The new secondary access road project will serve as an alternative route to the new airport for passengers from northern and central Iloilo and the provinces of Antique, Capiz and Aklan. 

The proposed road is 3.2 kilometers long from the national highway. It will be a two-lane with 5.5 meter width asphalt concrete pavement. 

The project covers an area of 64,944 square meter and will traverse five barangays of Cabatuan: Tabucan, Tiring, Talanghauan, Ga-ub, and Duyan-duyan. 

The new road network is expected to help reduce traffic at the main access road during peak hours. It will save at least 15 minutes travel time for passengers from northern Iloilo.

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has set aside P1.5 million assistance to 100 ambulant vendors in Western Visayas

Aida Estabillo, DoLE director in Western Visayas, said the project is part of their Kabuhayan Program dubbed Negosyo sa Kariton (Nego-Kart).

Mrs. Estabillo said the 100 ambulant vendors will each receive P15,000 to fund the improvement and expansion of their existing businesses.

“We have so many ambulant vendors trading their goods and services in sidewalks, bus terminals and other public places using dilapidated pedicabs or improvised vending cart. We want to help these vendors increase, improve and diversify their products,” Mrs. Estabillo said.

The Nego-Kart project will provide each beneficiary with a vending cart and accessory livelihood tools and working capital for the procurement or production of goods or services.

Mrs. Estabillo said they will also train the beneficiaries on production skills, entrepreneurship and business management, and facilitate the issuance of business permit to operate in designated areas.

She said this project is expected to increase the itinerant vendors’ income at par with minimum wage earners.

DoLE-Western Visayas is set to launch the Nego-Kart Project next month.

The labor department is coordinating with local government units (LGUs) and other Accredited Co-Partners (ACPs) in key cities and capital towns in Western Visayas in selecting the beneficiaries

DoLE will validate and evaluate the beneficiaries selected by the LGUs and ACPs.

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