Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr bares P100-M Jolo airport development project

2024 July 5

JOLO AIRPORT UPDATE. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announces the government’s plan to upgrade the Jolo Airport, during the distribution of financial assistance to farmers, fisherfolk, and families at the Sulu Provincial Gymnasium in Patikul, Sulu on Friday (July 5, 2024). President Marcos said about PHP100 million has been set aside for the implementation of the project. (RTVM screengrab)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday announced the government’s plan to upgrade the Jolo Airport, the only gateway serving the province of Sulu.

During the distribution of financial assistance to farmers, fisherfolk, and families at the Sulu Provincial Gymnasium in Patikul, Sulu, Marcos said about PHP100 million has been set aside for the implementation of the Jolo Airport Development Project.

“Kasabay ng pagbibigay namin ng ayuda ay ang magandang balita tungkol sa ating pagsusulong para sa Jolo Airport Development Project. Kasalukuyan na po nating binabalangkas ang lahat ng kinakailangan para masimulan na ang proyektong ito at may nakahanda po tayong isandaang milyong piso na para pagsimulan nitong project na ito (In addition to the distribution of financial assistance, there is good news regarding our efforts to advance the Jolo Airport Development Project. We are currently planning out everything to get this project started, and we have prepared about PHP100 million to commence this project),” Marcos said.

The Jolo airport project includes the construction of the airport’s Passenger Terminal Building, perimeter fence, administration building, relocation/construction of fire station building, site acquisition for its runway extension, and correction of runway strip width.

In an interview following the event, Marcos said the government is also working on boosting the satellite connectivity of the island province.

“So we are working very hard on that dahil kung nais natin magdala ng investment, hindi maaaring papasok ng kahit na anong seryoso na negosyo ngayon na walang internet. So hinahanap talaga nila yan (because if we want to bring in more investment, any serious business won’t start one without internet. They are always looking for that),” Marcos said.

President Marcos handed over PHPP10 million to the Provincial Government of Sulu as cash assistance to El Niño-hit farmers and fisherfolk of the province.

The President also distributed cash assistance amounting to PHP10,000 to select farmers and fisherfolk affected by the El Niño phenomenon.

Marcos noted that around 912 farmers in the province incurred agricultural losses reaching PHP5 million due to the dry spell.

Last April, 19 municipalities of the province were placed under a state of calamity (SOC) in response to the weather phenomenon.

“Hindi namin kayo iiwan sa pagharap sa pagsubok na ito, kaya kami ay [magbabahagi] ng ayuda upang makabangon kayong muli at higit pang mapayabong ang inyong pamumuhay (We will not abandon you in the face of this obstacle, that’s why we are [distributing] financial assistance to help you recover and improve your livelihood),” he said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also extended PHP10,000 each to more than 5,000 farmers and fisherfolk through the Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program.

Likewise, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) distributed farm equipment and inputs worth PHP2.05 million to 20 farmers associations.

For its part, the Office of House Speaker Martin Romualdez gave over five kilos of rice to each of the attendees.

Intensified patrols vs. illegal fishing

In his speech during the occasion, the President also reported the Philippine National Police (PNP) has intensified maritime patrols through the Sulu Maritime Police Station to address illegal fishing.

He called on the Sulu local government to support the government’s drive for the safety of fisherfolk.

“Mga kababayan, maka-aasa kayong tutuparin namin ang aming pangakong matulungan kayong lahat, lalung-lalo na ang mga magsasaka, ang mga mangingisda, at ang [inyong mga] pamilya upang masabi naman natin na may pag-asang makamit ninyo ang mas maginhawang pamumuhay (My countrymen, rest assured that we will fulfill our promise to help everyone, especially the farmers, fisherfolk and their families so that we can say that there is hope for you to lead comfortable lives),” he said.

This developed as reports of illegal fishing activities such as the use of dynamite and cyanide are still rampant in Sulu waters.

Many fishing vessels are also operating without necessary permits, the reports added.

The President has been visiting different regions across the country in line with his promise to deliver assistance to every Filipino severely affected by the dry spell during the El Niño months.

Filane Mikee Cervantes (PNA)