BARMM, Cotabato airports set for upgrades

BARMM, Cotabato airports set for upgrades

By John Felix M. Unson and Maya M. Padillo, Correspondents

COTABATO CITY — The Bangsamoro region is gearing up for a new era of modern, efficient, and reliable air transport facilities with significant developments in two key airports in the region, along with the Central Mindanao Airport (CMA) in M’lang, Cotabato province.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MoTC) is constructing plush passenger lounges at the Sanga-Sanga and Awang airports in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, and Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte, respectively.

This initiative, complementing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) focuses on essential infrastructure projects, aims to boost investment prospects in this part of the Southern Philippines.

Funded through grants from the Transitional Development Impact Fund, allocated by regional lawmakers Baintan A. Ampatuan, Amilbahar S. Mawallil, and Jose I. Lorena, each passenger lounge building costs at least P5 million.

MoTC Minister Paisalin P. Tago said the completion of the lounges is expected in less than three months from the launching of the twin projects last Dec. 18 and Ronald Halid D. Torres, chairman of the Bangsamoro Business Council, told BusinessWorld on Thursday that his group welcomes the development.

Tawi-Tawi Governor Esmael Sali expressed gratitude to the regional parliament and the MoTC, citing the projects’ positive impact on his province’s status as a new investment hub in the BARMM.

Meanwhile, Cotabato Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza announced that the Central Mindanao Airport in Barangay Tawan-Tawan, M’lang is among the 22 airports funded by the national government in 2024, receiving around P300 million.

The funds will be used for the construction of the administrative building, powerhouse, control tower, water supply system, and rehabilitation of the fire station.

Cotabato Rep. Ma. Alana Samantha T. Santos and Deputy Speaker Raymond D. Mendoza teamed up to secure additional funding for the CMA, which was acknowledged by Ms. Taliño-Mendoza.