Press Release
March 16, 2016


MALAYBALAY CITY--Vice-presidential frontrunner Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said it is time to build a domestic airport in Bukidnon province to spur economic development in the so-called "food basket" of Mindanao.

Escudero lamented that Bukidnon still has no airport even if it has greater economic activities than other provinces in the south which have their own airports.

"Karapatan ng mga taga-Bukidnon na magkaroon ng sariling airport. Tinitingnan po namin ang pagkakaroon ng airport sa Don Carlos para naman mas madaling makarating at makapunta rito ang ating mga kababayan, partikular ang mga turista, dayuhan man o Pilipino, at matulungan ang mga magsasaka at negosyante na maiparating ang kanilang mga produkto sa ibang panig ng bansa," Escudero told a radio interview here.

Escudero was referring to an abandoned airstrip in Don Carlos--a first class municipality about 59 kilometers away from the capital city of Malaybalay--as a potential site of the Bukidnon domestic airport. The airstrip is surrounded by sugarcane plantations.

While Bukidnon has a number of public and private airstrips, there are no commercial flights to this landlocked province. The nearest airport is the Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City, about 1.5 hours by land travel from Malaybalay.

According to Escudero, a domestic airport would make it easier for farmers and traders to transport their products to anywhere in the country.

"The proposed Bukidnon domestic airport would also provide additional businesses, investments and employment opportunities," he added.

The veteran lawmaker said an airport is possible under the "Gobyernong may Puso" as he and his presidential running mate, Sen. Grace Poe, plan to allocate 30 percent, or at least P1 trillion, of the national budget to Mindanao to finance development projects in the region.

He said they will also set aside at least P300 billion in the national budget for the agriculture sector, which hosts 60 percent of the country's poor.

Bukidnon is home to several pineapple plantations, notably multinational corporation Del Monte Philippines Inc. The province is also among the country's top producers of sugar, rice, corn, coffee, banana and other fruits and vegetables.

Former senator and congressman Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri, who is one of the senatorial candidates of Partido Galing at Puso of the Poe-Escudero tandem for the May elections, hails from Bukidnon.

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