THE future is looking brighter for economic development in Bulacan as San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) unsolicited proposal to build an international airport in the province was recently approved by the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority.
The project is proposed to be constructed in the coastal area of Bulakan town, one of the municipalities in the first district of Bulacan and may be completed before the President’s term ends in 2022.
First District Rep. Jonathan Alvarado said officials of the province have long been anticipating the approval of the international airport; while the workforce, communities and other industries in his district are already prepared for the countryside development that the project would bring.
He noted the annual flooding in low-lying areas in the municipalities and cities along Manila Bay in Bulacan will be partial, if not totally be solved, when the construction phase for the airport begins.
Alvarado added dredged materials from the silted waterways in the coastal areas of the province will be used primarily as earthen filling material for the reclamation project for the airport, majority of it located along fishpond areas in Bulacan.
Under the proposal, Bulakan Mayor Patrick Meneses has earlier explained that the project proponent has included a road plan that will link the airport through Marilao town to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).
He added the airport itself will be occupying more than 1,000 hectares of land, and a city complex will be built on around 2,000 hectares.
Meneses said the relocation of families living in the coastal areas of the town that will be affected by the construction of the airport will be undertaken by the proponent.
“It will definitely speed up the economic developments of the town, including the province of Bulacan,” the mayor added.
Mayor Ambrocio Cruz, president of the League of Municipalities-Bulacan and chief executive of Guiguinto town, said “the province of Bulacan must come up with holistic plans, especially on road networks that will make the airport more accessible so that it could attract investors in the province”.
He also noted that other facilities like “telecommunication and logistic hubs should be established to attract foreign and local investors in the province thereby, generating job opportunities for the Bulakenyos.”
The Guiguinto mayor has also confirmed that “they are now in the process of consolidating land near Bulakan town exiting in Barangay Ilang-Ilang and the town proper of Guiguinto so that we can take advantage of these mega real estate developments that will cover thousands of hectares of land.”
Cruz added: “We have to be ready to capture whatever opportunities and benefits that will be available to us” and pointed out that the proposed airport is now included in their master development plan.
Meanwhile, Obando Mayor Edwin Santos said part of the airport will pass through their municipality with its runways and airplane hangars.
Currently, a provincial road connects Obando with Bulakan.
However, it is not wide enough to accommodate the projected big volume of motorists, commuters, passengers and cargoes that the airport will be catering to, he noted.
Santos further said the local government unit of Obando is now studying the possibility of having a road network that will pass through either the cities of Meycauayan, or Valenzuela, that will connect the airport through the North Luzon Expressway.
He also told the Philippine News Agency that a Cabinet secretary has informed him that the proposed coastal road along Manila Bay linking Manila to Bataan economic zone will soon be approved.
Santos said the proposed coastal road would drastically cut travel time from Manila to Bataan and will greatly benefit regular motorists, private and commercial, from Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan and even those from Northern Luzon.