WV infra panel calls for swift actions on flyover, airport

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Western Visayas’ lead body on infrastructure development on Monday urged national government agencies to swiftly respond to matters involving the Ungka Flyover and proposals to renovate and privately operate the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan town.

The Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) of the Regional Development Council-VI (RDC-VI) made the call in two resolutions approved during a special meeting on Monday.

Both resolutions were approved upon motion by Economic Development Committee (EDC) chairperson Jobert Peñaflorida after the presentations of the concerned agencies.

IDC Resolution No. 03, Series of 2023, called on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to expedite funding and implementation of engineering solutions to the Ungka Flyover and the development of alternate routes to ease traffic around the structure.

The following measures were mentioned in the resolution:

–          Installation of additional bored piles for Piers 4, 5 and 6 and underpinning by intense jet grouting for the other piers;

–          Installation of a drainage system at the project site; and

–          Concreting and widening of six (6) roads at the following locations to address the traffic congestion (Barangay Tacas, Jaro to Pavia; Ilaya Road, Barangay Tabuc Suba, Jaro; Don Delfin to Tacas NIA Road; San Paulo FMR, Barangay Sambag, Jaro to Pavia; FMR from Barangay Guzman, Jesena to Barangay Hibao an Norte, Mandurriao; and Barangay Simon Ledesma to Sambag Railway).

The installation of additional bored piles and underpinning were two of the three proposed rectifications presented by structural engineer Adam Abinales as a result of the ongoing probe into the structural issues of the flyover.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor told DPWH Undersecretary Roberto Bernardo that he would push for “counterpart legislation”, should it be needed, in relation to the alternate routes.

“[Iloilo City] Mayor Jerry Treñas requested [the DPWH] about [maximizing] the [use of the] other roads. [He] told the DPWH that we can use alternative routes. I said that it might also be salvaged by provincial and barangay roads, [so] we may do counterpart work. Anyway, even without the Ungka Flyover we are aggressive in the construction and development of provincial and barangay roads,” Defensor told reporters on the meeting’s sidelines.

Bernardo told the IDC that the Ungka flyover repairs would most likely start in 2024, as there would be no funding from the 2023 national budget.


The second resolution was Joint Resolution No. 01, Series of 2023, of the IDC and the EDC urging the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to review unsolicited proposals (USPs) from the private sector for the expansion and upgrading of the airport in Cabatuan.

Two USPs were presented to the IDC – the ₱6.89-billion offer from the Villar family-led Prime Asset Ventures, Inc. (PAVI), and the ₱9.95-billion offer of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. (AIC).

“In expediting the evaluation process of both USPs and promptly engaging in negotiations with the proponent/s, it is anticipated that favorable outcomes will be achieved, facilitating the successful financing and subsequent implementation of the project,” the resolution read.

PAVI has multiple subsidiaries, including PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp, Crystal Clear, Inc., First Peak Resources and Technologies, Inc., and Streamtech Systems Technologies, Inc., among others.

Streamtech owns Cavite-based cable company Planet Cable and the Advanced Media Broadcasting System which took over the frequencies of ABS-CBN in 2022.

Aside from the Iloilo airport, PAVI also submitted a USP for the Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan last year and previously expressed interest in the Sangley Airport project in Cavite.

AIC, meanwhile, is owned by the Aboitiz family of Mindanao, and is set to take over operations of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport after acquiring a majority stake in the current operating company, GMR MEGAWIDE Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) for ₱25 billion last year.

AIC also submitted USPs for the upgrading of the Laguindingan, Bohol-Panglao International, and Bicol International airports this year.

DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista said last week that the AIC’s USPs will be included in the Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) meeting on May 29.