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Mati Airport `landowners’ eyeing to settle issue

Landowners where the airport in Mati City, Davao Oriental is located have started discussing the way to settle the issue on the donation for the airport to resume operating.

Based on the information from the information office of Mati City, the meeting, facilitated by Davao Oriental Gov. Nelson L. Dayanghirang, was intended to settle the issue particularly on the part of the Rocamora family on whether they would eventually sell their portion of the land so that the airport runway can be expanded to accommodate bigger aircraft.

The Rocamora family is one of the landowners together with the Rabat family as Mayor Mary Michelle Denise N. Rabat was among those who attended.

In a statement, Rabat said that she is supporting the reopening of the airport because the facility is close to her heart as it was built when her father, Francisco who was a private citizen at that time, allowed the airport to be built in the 1970s.

“(Mr. Rabat allowed the airport to be built) because his belief then, you built it (airport), they will come,” she said as her father, the close to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, eventually became the governor of the province after Mr. Marcos appointed him in the 1970s and that the airport was named after the President’s wife Imelda.

The airport has 1,625 meters in runway and Rabat said there is a need to extend the runway to accommodate a flight between the city and Cebu or any other parts of the country. The airport is a three-hour car ride between itself and the Davao International Airport.

Then senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito even caused the setting aside of P200 million for the expansion of the runway, the city government said.

Dayanghirang earlier formed a body that will help facilitate the reopening of the airport as he said the Department of Tourism also set aside P200 million for its rehabilitation, although it was not known whether the fund was the same as the one that was set aside through the intervention of Ejercito.

“Both the provincial and the city government believe that the reopening of the airport will bring more opportunities for the growth of Mati and the province,” said Dayanghirang in an electronic mail sent to TIMES by the provincial government.

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