Northern Mindanao

Marcos announces 5 airport upgrades in Northern Mindanao

Herbie Gomez

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Marcos announces 5 airport upgrades in Northern Mindanao

File photo of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

Noel Pabalate/PPA Pool

Up for expansion and rehabilitation are the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental, Lumbia airport in Cagayan de Oro, Labo airport in Ozamiz, and two others in the provinces of Bukidnon and Camiguin Island

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced on Thursday, May 16, plans to upgrade five airports in Northern Mindanao as part of the government’s efforts to establish the region as the leading agricultural hub and a major industrial, tourism, and trade center in the country’s second-largest island.

Before a packed audience at a university gym in Iligan City, Marcos identified the airports up for expansion and rehabilitation as the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental, Lumbia airport in Cagayan de Oro, Labo airport in Ozamiz, and two others in the provinces of Bukidnon and Camiguin Island.

The Laguindingan airport, which replaced the aging Lumbia airport in Cagayan de Oro, has served as Northern Mindanao’s primary airport, acting as a gateway to the region for over a decade.

Strategically situated about 40 kilometers southwest of Cagayan de Oro and over 60 kilometers northeast of Iligan, the airport has bolstered regional connectivity since its inauguration in 2013.

Laguindingan airport was developed to address the increasing air traffic demands and provide modern facilities for both passengers and cargo. While the airport in Misamis Oriental has the infrastructure to handle international flights, these services are currently limited, with potential for future expansion.

Misamis Oriental 2nd District Representative Yevgeny Vincente Emano, a staunch advocate for its upgrade, has confirmed ongoing initiatives aimed at bolstering Laguindingan airport’s capabilities and services. These endeavors, he said, aim to elevate the airport’s standards to accommodate international flights.

Planned upgrades include extending the runway, expanding passenger and cargo facilities, and improving transportation links to better serve the growing number of travelers and businesses in the region.

Marcos announced that the old Cagayan de Oro airport would also be rehabilitated. Presently, the Lumbia airport is being used by the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

After it was replaced as the region’s primary airport, the Lumbia airport has been identified as one of the airports in the country that the United States could use for refueling and logistical purposes during joint military exercises or in support of regional security operations and humanitarian efforts based on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). 

Under the Philippine-US agreement, these activities are typically temporary and coordinated with Philippine authorities.

Based on Marcos’ announcement, the government would further develop the Labo airport in Ozamiz City to accommodate more flights. The airport currently handles flights to Cebu and Manila and serves people mostly from Misamis Occidental, including Oroquieta and Tangub cities, Zamboanga del Sur, and the two Lanao provinces.

Marcos also said two smaller airports in Bukidnon and the island province of Camiguin would be upgraded under the Northern Mindanao Development Plan from 2023 to 2028.

“The aim is to make the region globally competitive,” Marcos said.

Marcos said the impact of the airports on the local economy, once upgraded, would be profound, driving tourism, facilitating business travel, and boosting economic activities by improving the accessibility of goods and services. –

1 comment

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  1. ET

    I am optimistic about President Marcos Jr.’s decision to upgrade five airports in Northern Mindanao. I hope these projects will be carried out with utmost transparency and remain free from any hint of corruption.

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Herbie Gomez

Herbie Salvosa Gomez is coordinator of Rappler’s bureau in Mindanao, where he has practiced journalism for over three decades. He writes a column called “Pastilan,” after a familiar expression in Cagayan de Oro, tackling issues in the Southern Philippines.