MlangSOON OPERATIONAL. The 1.8-kilometer runway of the M’lang Airport is primarily for transport of agricultural products from Central Mindanao to bigger markets outside the region, but it can also accommodate passenger load because it also has the commercial flight capability. The airport is seen to boost economic growth of the region and neighboring places.

M'lang, North Cotabato – The people of Cotabato will soon benefit the Central Mindanao Airport or the M'lang Airport as President Rodrigo Duterte instructed Senator Lawrence “Bong” Go to oversee its completion during his visit to the earthquake victims here recently.

As the only inland airport in Mindanao, Duterte was briefed on the status of the airport and asked Go to coordinate with the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to source funds for the completion and operation of the said airport.

The senator, whose public statements reflect the sentiments of President Duterte, said the operation of the airport is very critical since it is located in a strategic area.

“The Central Mindanao Airport is a very important facility which could boost the economy of the region because it is located in a strategic area," Go added.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said, “The airport will boost economic growth of Central Mindanao where many agricultural products come from”.

"The airport, which has capability for commercial flights, is primarily intended to support transport of agricultural products from the region," he further said.

The M'lang Airport started its construction in 2004 after the province acquired the 62-hectare property using government funds through the support of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroryo, Senators John Osmeña and Richard Gordon, and Congressmen Bernardo Piñol Jr., Jesus Sacdalan and now Governor Nancy Catamco.

By 2010, the 1.8 kilometer runway and the terminal building were completed under Gov. Sacdalan.

However, the project was mothballed during the nine-year term of then Governor, now Vice-Governor Emmylou Mendoza after citing missing documents as the reason for their failure to turn-over the 62-hectare property to the DoTr.

Governor Catamco, who is currently serving her first term, assured President Duterte and Sen Bong Go that the needed documents for the transfer of the property will be completed.

“I will talk to Sec Art (Tugade) immediately so that work will be resumed,” said Senator Go in response.

“I will also talk to my colleagues in the Senate to help me provide funds for this project” Go said, adding that, he will personally oversee the completion and inauguration of the project before President Duterte leaves office by 2022.

The M'lang Airport Project is the brainchild project of MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

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