Monday, 31 August 2009

Construction of airport to Boracay starts soon

By Delon Porcalla
Philippine Star
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=498285

MANILA, Philippines - The construction of the P3-billion modern international airport in a small island near Romblon province – dubbed as the best and nearest alternative to the overcrowded resort island of Boracay – would start soon, local officials said.

Romblon officials led by Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona and Gov. Natalio Beltran III said the groundbreaking of the Carabao Island International Airport (CIIA) would start next month.

Madrona said the construction of the modern international airport, expected to be fully operational by 2012, is a private-sector initiative.

Investors from Europe, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have earlier expressed interest in the island as an alternate site for their investments. The site is located in San Jose town, an island in Romblon that can be reached by a 15-minute boat ride from Boracay.

San Jose, just a 30-minute flight away from Manila, is a carabao-shaped island. The proposed world-class airport project, when completed, can accommodate Airbuses planes [sic] and other similar huge aircraft.

Madrona said the CIIA could be an alternate to the existing airports in Tugdan, Alcantara in Tablas Island in Romblon, Kalibo and Caticlan in Aklan, which foreign and domestic tourists use in going to Boracay.

Caticlan airport has been closed recently for renovation.

San Jose town Mayor Fil Tandog said the island is like Boracay with white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters ideal for diving.

Tandog said the island, popularly known as Isla de Carabao, is four times bigger than Boracay.

Tandog revealed that several foreign investors from Taiwan, Korea, Japan and US have already visited his town and signified their intention to invest in the island to put up hotels, restaurants, golf courses, resorts and other modern amenities.

With the signified investments, prices of prime property in the municipality went up from P150 per square meter to as much as P500.

Beachfront rates, on the other hand, are much higher – ranging from P4,000 to P5,000 per square meter.

Real estate in San Jose is much cheaper compared to Boracay because properties in the virgin island are virtually unoccupied and owned by original settlers who have been residing in the area for years.

Members of the provincial board in Romblon led by Fred Dorado hailed President Arroyo for taking the initiative to put the region in the country’s tourism map.

Dorado assured foreign and local investors that they would enact a measure to lower the taxes in the province.

The construction of the airport is expected to generate entrepreneurial opportunities and new jobs, thereby increasing economic activities for the people of the municipality, including the remaining 14 towns of the province, officials said.

Beltran added the airport in Carabao Island will provide steady jobs and income for all the residents where fishing and farming remain the main sources of livelihood.

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