Iloilo airport upgrade ‘snub’: Marcos Jr.’s way of showing who’s the boss?

By Alex P. Vidal

“I reward loyalty with loyalty. I reward disloyalty with distance.”—Anonymous

IF President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. “intentionally” missed out Iloilo Airport for upgrade in the 2024 budget for infrastructure development of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), he could be sending a curt message to Ilonggos, who preferred former Vice President Leni Robredo over him during the May 9, 2022 presidential election.

It must still be difficult for Mr. Marcos Jr. to move on and forgive the Ilonggos who gave Robredo 1,940,183 votes or 47.90 percent against Marcos Jr.’s 1,516,464 votes or 37.44 percent in Western Visayas.

Other than this election humiliation, we don’t see any other reason or reasons why the Marcos Jr. administration would continue to give the Ilonggos a cold shoulder treatment.

Other than politics, we don’t remember people in Iloilo, or Western Visayas for that matter, having offended Mr. Marcos Jr. that would make him “retaliate” via the non-sharing of a piece of major infrastructure pie to the Ilonggos.

While other lesser-known airports in the country stand to benefit from the Marcos Jr. administration’s repair and upgrade largesse in 2024, Iloilo Airport, the fifth busiest airport in the Philippines in 2022, will get zero.

President Marcos Jr. mentioned the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island (PGN) Bridges Project in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) to be included in his administration’s P8.3 trillion “Build Better More” Program, but the bridges project had been conceptualized a long time ago—starting in the three previous administrations.

But the Iloilo Airport is already in existence and only needs upgrading as an international standard.


To add insult, it was only in March 2023, as reported by #DailyGuardian, that Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas raised to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) the exclusion of the Iloilo airport from the list of key projects of the current administration.

Treñas reportedly asked NEDA to include the Iloilo airport in the list of priority projects because of its growing flight and passenger numbers.

According to #DailyGuardian, Treñas stressed the need to continue pushing for the upgrading and development of the airport, which is classified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) as an international facility.

“We need to continue pushing for the development of our international airport since it is now overcrowded. If it is expanded, we can accommodate more flights and more visitors,” the city mayor was quoted as saying.

#DailyGuardian reported further: “Apart from the P2.8 billion in fresh funding for the upgrading of Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s (NAIA) aviation infrastructure, the following airports were included in the DOTr’s proposed budget for the construction of various airports and navigational facilities: Kalibo International Airport (P581 million); Laoag International Airport (P500 million); Tacloban Airport (P500 million); New Dumaguete Airport (P500 million); Busuanga Airport (P405 million); New Zamboanga International Airport (P300 million); New Manila International Airport (P200 million); Bukidnon Airport (P120 million); ands New Bohol Airport (P97 million).”

Did Treñas’ appeal fall on deaf ears, again, because of politics?


AS we feared earlier, the death toll from the Maui wildfires has climbed to 93, as authorities work to identify victims of the deadliest US wildfire in more than 100 years. Hawaii has a robust emergency siren warning system, but it sat silent as people fled for their lives, CNN has reported.

How did the fires start? It’s still unclear exactly what triggered the wildfires across the islands, but the spread of flammable nonnative grasses combined with hurricane-stoked winds could have been factors.

Fires were burning across multiple Hawaiian Islands. The town of Lahaina on the island of Maui has suffered widespread damage, and historic landmarks across the island are in danger.

Thousands of residents and visitors have been forced to evacuate. Many organizations were accepting donations to help those affected by the wildfires, while airlines have started offering fares as low as $19 to get people off the island.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)