DAET, Camarines Norte, 19Sept2013 (PNA) – The Bagasbas Airport, the only commercial aviation facility in Camarines Norte located along the world-famous Bagasbas Beach here, is currently inoperative — rendering the growth of the province’s tourism industry snail-paced.
Classified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines as a minor commercial domestic airport, the facility needs repair and upgrading so that its usefulness as a tourist drawer for the province is revived, Governor Edgardo Tallado here told the PNA earlier this week.
This need, he said, is contained in the 2011-2016 Public Investment Program (PIP) for Bicol prepared by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and approved by the Regional Development Council (RDC).
Hopefully, Tallado said funds for this purpose will be provided under the Ten-Point Agenda of President Benigno Aquino III which include the development of the tourism industry for inclusive growth and poverty reduction.
Under the PIP, a total amount of P77 million divided into four installments of release — P40 million this year, P24 million in 2014, P5 million in 2015 and P8 million in 2016 — is assigned to the airport, the governor said.
“We need this airport to be operational so that it is able to cheer up further our tourism industry and it requires this funding from the national government through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for its rehabilitation and upgrading,” he stressed.
Once upgraded, the airport that for now can only accommodate Fokker or light planes will be able to serve bigger aircraft and respond to the needs of the growing number of tourists who want to experience the wonders that the province offers, Tallado said.
Although it is maintained with a Civil Security Force and provided with a terminal building, no scheduled flight operates from and to this airport at present because of its dilapidated runway and other vital facilities.
When upgraded and its operations revived, Bagasbas Airport will also open the doors for more investments in the mineral-rich province that is noted for its gold mines.
The province also boasts of its queen Formosa pineapple, the sweetest in the world that is now being processed and exported by some local manufacturers.
This town, the provincial capital and the province’s center of trade and commerce, was last year adjudged by the National Competitiveness Council as Bicol’s most competitive municipality.
In tourism, this town is a famous surfing and kite-boarding spot as it has a long stretch of beach in Bagasbas.
Because of the attention it has gotten from the world’s surfing community, the Department of Tourism has turned Bagasbas Beach into an accredited surfing spot that, since five years ago, has been the venue of several international surfing and kite-boarding competitions.
The province is also home to Calaguas, an enchanting group of islands considered as an unknown paradise that can rival the beaches of Boracay and the serenity of Pagudpud.
Owning to the reputation of a virgin island, as development is yet to be introduced, Calaguas is gifted with a long stretch of white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and unspoiled natural resources where tourists are raring to visit and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the place being kissed by the waves of the Philippine Sea. (PNA)