airports in the Philippines

CAAP turns over management of 6 airports to BARMM

Ferdinandh Cabrera
CAAP turns over management of 6 airports to BARMM

OUTDOOR BAGGAGE AREA. Passengers wait to get their belongings outside the Awang Airport in Maguindanao del Norte on January 10, 2023.

Ferdinandh Cabrera/Rappler

Under the new setup, the BARMM will manage the Cotabato Airport and five others, but air control will remain under CAAP

COTABATO, Philippines – Bangsamoro officials on Wednesday, January 11, said the regional government would work to upgrade and make all six airports in the region operational, a day after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) turned over these to them.

“Air connectivity is one of our major programs,” said Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim.

BARMM officials said the turnover was significant in that making all the airports functional would be a game changer in terms of efforts to bring in development and boost the economy of the special and predominantly Muslim region.

Of the BARMM’s six airports, only the airport in Maguindanao del Norte, Sanga-Sanga Airport in Bongao in Tawi-Tawi, and Jolo Airport in Sulu are operational.

Ebrahim said the regional government would collaborate with national and local governments to upgrade the functioning airports and work to make three others – in Mapun in Tawi-Tawi, and Wao and Malabang in Lanao del Sur – operational.

He also promised to give the Awang Airport in Maguindanao del Norte – the busiest airport in the BARMM because of its proximity to Cotabato City – a face-lift and improve services there. The airport is also referred to as the Cotabato Airport.

Dionisio Robles, CAAP intelligence and investigation division chief, gave the BARMM a plaque that symbolized the turnover of the six airports to the regional government during a ceremony at the Awang Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat town on Tuesday, January 10.

Under the new setup, the BARMM regional government would manage the airports, but aviation and air control would remain under CAAP, Robles said.

BARMM Transportation and Communications Minister Paisalin Tago said: “A good airport means a good image for any country. If our airports are good, more tourists and investors will come and visit us.”

Tago said the region’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications was also looking at the conversion of the airport in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, into a facility exclusive for BARMM-bound cargo just like the Mapun Airport in Tawi-Tawi.

Ebrahim said Tuesday’s management transfer from CAAP to the BARMM showed that the peace process in the Bangsamoro is on track, and the regional government “is working hand in hand with all stakeholders.”

“It is a by-product and one of the dividends of the Mindanao peace process,” he said. – Rappler.com

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