The proposed Philippine Air Force (PAF) base in Balabac, southern Palawan, is expected to begin construction in the first quarter of 2019, a local government official said here Thursday afternoon.
Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta, legal officer of the Palawan provincial government, said in an “Air Power Forum” that the groundwork for the new 300-hectare air base can start as land clearing is almost complete. The forum was held at the provincial capitol here.
The first-ever forum was led by the PAF’s Tactical Operations Wing West (TOWW) to inform the public about how Palawan’s security and safety is maintained using the country’s air assets.
Matta said the area, being unblocked in the site in Barangay Catagupan, mainland Balabac, is for the base’s three-kilometer runway and four-kilometer
“At the moment we are already conducting ground-clearing. The target is that by first quarter of 2019, the area should have been cleared of obstructions and secured,” Matta said.
He noted the site was purchased by the provincial government for said purpose, and its management and possession had already been turned over to the PAF earlier.
Among those present in the forum were Lt. Gen. Rozzano D. Briguez AFP, Commander of WESCOM; Maj. Gen. Restituto F. Padilla Jr., AFP, deputy chief of staff for Plans J-5; and Maj. Gen. Jose Tanjuan Jr., who represented Kintanar.
In July 2018, Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez signed a memorandum of agreement with Lt. General Galileo Gerard Kintanar Jr., the PAF commanding general, for the establishment of the base that would take care of security in the southern border.
Alvarez said the area might also possibly serve as the location of a proposed airport to be constructed in southern Palawan to increase tourism influx. (With reports from Aira Genesa Magdayao/PNA)