Thursday, March 3, 2016

Salceda clarifies misread statement on Bicol airport delay
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, March 2 (PNA) – Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda on Wednesday clarified that his statement on the delay in the construction of the Bicol International Airport was grossly picked up and misinterpreted by certain sectors.

He said that during the recent visit of senatorial aspirant Francis Tolentino, the latter claimed that he contributed to the approval of the Bicol International Airport.

When Mar Arguelles, Philippine Daily Inquirer Albay correspondent, asked about the status of the airport, Tolentino, Salceda said, obviously could not answer.

“So, I rescued him and my direct quote is ‘The Bicol International Airport is a legitimate issue. Kun madaog si Roxas, basulon si Abaya (If Roxas loses, blame Abaya).’ Nothing more and nothing else; anything less or anything more is pure malice,” the governor said.

The published misinterpreted statement made it appear that Salceda warned of the possibility that the province may dump Roxas for the failure of the administration to finish as promised the Php3.5-billion Bicol International Airport whose construction at Barangay Alobo, Daraga, Albay is now stalled.

This created a stir among certain sectors which came out with various interpretations that tended to discredit Salceda from being a sincere and staunch Liberal Party and Roxas leader.

The construction of the Php1.7-billion terminals of the project was held in abeyance by the Department of Transportation and Communication for unexplained ground despite a winning bidder and even as President Benigno S. Aquino III had stated in previous announcements that the airport would be completed this year.

The project was started more than 10 years ago and the national government had already spent around Php2.1 billion for the access road construction, right-of-way acquisition and runway construction, among others from 2007 to 2012.

In 2014, the Department of Budget and Management released Php150 million from the General Appropriation Act to the project.(PNA) RMA/FGS/CBD/EDS