Iloilo Airport privatization eyed for 2024 to 2025

The privatization of Iloilo airport might push through later this year or in the first half of 2025. (Francis Allan Angelo photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

The Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan town is on the cusp of privatization, which may come to fruition either this year or the next, according to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas.

Heading the Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC), Treñas shared with Daily Guardian that privatization proposals are currently under review by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center.

The IDC convened its regular meeting on Monday, February 26, to discuss the progress of various regional infrastructure projects.

“The privatization [of the Iloilo Airport] is exciting because then, the airport will really become international. Part of the terms of reference is to extend the runway and expand the passenger terminal. It’s really needed because the [existing] terminal is getting more crowded,” Treñas said during a phone interview.

Initially, the DOTr was handling the review process, but now, under the new Republic Act No. 11966 (PPP Code), all PPP proposals are streamlined through the PPP Center.

In the case of Iloilo Airport, the original proponent, Prime Asset Ventures, Inc. (PAVI), owned by the Villar family and granted original proponent status in 2019, will be accorded time to fulfill the new law’s requirements.

“After determining the completeness of the proposal, the PPP Center is then mandated by the law to endorse it to the DOTr as the implementing agency, which will then carry out subsequent steps, including submitting quarterly reports to the IDC,” the mayor elaborated.

“In the new PPP [Code], the proponents are given time to submit requirements [under the new law] and then it will proceed to negotiations, and after the negotiations there will be a Swiss challenge. There was a timeline submitted to us, in accordance with the PPP law.”

Treñas also noted other interested parties, such as Aboitiz InfraCapital and Megaworld Corporation, the latter having established its presence in the city after purchasing the site of the old Iloilo Airport in the Mandurriao district for P1.2 billion.

Furthermore, a budget of P190 million has been allocated for the airport’s refurbishment under Republic Act No. 11975 (General Appropriations Act of 2024). This funding will cover asphalt overlay and maintenance of air-conditioning units and flight information displays.