A Cebu Pacific flight lands in Tuguegarao City Airport. Photo screengrab from Tuguegarao City Government's Tourism Video.

New int’l airport site seen in eastern Tuguegarao

Gerard Josef Lucena


TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Local officials and members of different sectors from Cagayan province have agreed to consider looking for an alternate area in this city for a new international airport.

This came after the city government of Tuguegarao hosted a multi-sectoral consultative forum regarding “relocation of Tuguegarao airport”

The original plan of Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba was to create an international airport in the tri-boundary area of Tuao, Piat, and Solana towns in the province as a response to the Regional Development Council’s (RDC) intent to put up an international airport that will serve Cagayan Valley.

Mamba earlier told The Northern Forum that there was no plan to transfer the airport but is only seen as “consequence” once the international airport becomes operational.

“Napakaganda na nagkaroon kami ng common stand [with the city government] on a regional airport [located] in Cagayan,” Mamba said during the forum.

Public forum

In the forum, former City Mayor Attorney Jefferson Soriano said that many locals “ do not want [this proposal of transferring the airport to the said tri-boundary area].

He said that the airport has been a part of the city ever since World War II.

“They want the airport to be in Tuguegarao…[because] from the beginning, the airport has helped Tuguegarao grow,” Soriano said.

The former mayor suggested another possible site in the city, particularly the eastern part, to be considered as site of the proposed international airport.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bienvenido De Guzman II said that they are eyeing a possible site somewhere in barangays Dadda or Tagga.

Mamba eventually agreed to the idea of finding another area within the city’s vicinity.

“This is what the city needs…so napaka-importante that we’ll have a new site to develop within the city,” Mamba said.

Former City Councilor and current Executive Assistant Etelita “Mimi” Dayag said that it would be a shame if future generations will find out that an airport once existed in the city and would wonder why the people let it be closed.

City Vice-Mayor Danny Baccay also expressed his concern on the traffic along Buntun highway and the increased congestion of vehicles in Buntun Bridge.

Some netizens also expressed their opposition to what was said to be a transfer of the city’s domestic airport, even questioning the governor for his plan to relocate the airport near Tuao, his home town. Some said it was unnecessary for the airport to be relocated.

Not presented well

The governor also admitted that he may not have presented the supposed plan well.

“Initially, hindi napresent ng husto. I was referring to a transfer [but] I should have referred to a proposal of an international airport,” he said.

The governor clarified this today and in a statement to The Northern Forum on Monday, August 21, saying that the relocation of the city airport to Tuao-Piat-Solana area is not the main plan.

Mamba explained in the public forum that he only looked at the possible consequence of the proposal as the domestic airport will ultimately be closed to make way for the international airport.

He also cited the potential boom of high rise buildings and businesses in the area near the current airport should it be transferred.

Mamba, who also chairs the Infrastructure Development Committee of the RDC, added that it would be advantageous for Cagayan if the airport would be located in the province instead of Cauayan City, a heavy competitor for the site of the airport.

Mayor De Guzman also noted this, saying, “Iba kasi ang presentation na para bang tatanggalin ang airport sa Tuguegarao City nang hindi nag-eexplain.”

De Guzman said the airport will be an advantage to the city, other towns, and nearby provinces if the airport will be located in Tuguegarao.

The city’s domestic airport was planned to be developed into an international airport but its space failed to meet the 300-hectare requirement of CAAP, prompting Mamba to look for another site within Cagayan..

All for development

De Guzman said that they are all for the development of the city in connection to the building of the international airport.

The mayor also thanked the governor for now including the city as a possible site for the international airport. ‘

““Walang nag-ooppose sa international airport. Ang napag-uusapan na lang ay yung site…Ang maganda rito [sa forum], narinig ang sentiments ng bawat isa,” he said.

“Very welcome po sa ating lahat ang progreso. If ever na hindi po pwede sa eastern part, hindi na po kami mag-ooppose kung saan ilalagay,” he added.

The open forum was attended by over 200 people including members of the religious sector, local businessmen/women, barangay officials, and non-government organizations. Northernforum.net