City eyes partnership to develop old Bacolod airport

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (center) visits an event of the Philippine Air Force at the old airport during the Masskara Festival in October last year. On Monday (April 3, 2023), Benitez said the old airport is being eyed for redevelopment to become a new economic growth center and spread growth in the southern part of the city. (Photo courtesy of Albee Benitez Facebook)

BACOLOD City – The 40-hectare site of the old Bacolod airport is being eyed for redevelopment to stimulate economic growth in the southern part of the city.

Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said the city government, which has been authorized by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to utilize the government portion of the property, has received a proposal for a joint development program from property giant SM Prime Holdings Inc., which recently acquired the portion of Philippine Airlines (PAL).

“The new owners of the old airport have expressed interest in a joint development program. The city has officially requested the CAAP to allow (it) to use the remaining 50 percent of old airport property,” Benitez said in a press conference Monday.

Situated along Araneta Street, one of the city’s major thoroughfares, the property’s ownership has been divided between PAL and CAAP, each awarded 20 hectares, after the airport was closed when the Bacolod-Silay Airport in Silay City began its operations in January 2008.

PAL’s creditor bank, the Philippine National Bank, bid out its part of the property and sold it to SM Prime.

Benitez said that when the old airport ceased operations, the southern part of the city lost a major economic activity.

“With this, we can expect the southern portion of the city will also have developments. If you can see now, everything is in the north. This (will bring) balance. What kind of development, that’s what is being discussed right now,” he added.

Since 2016, the city government had also been requesting the PAL management to open the old access road in the runway to be used as an alternate route going to the communities in Barangays Singcang-Airport and Tangub. (PNA)