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Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez is inclined to have Bataraza as a city and the capital in Southern Palawan.
Alvarez bared the idea during the inauguration of Bataraza District Hospital last Sunday, November 10.
“Sa City of Bataraza, congratulations. By first day of session ng Panlalawigan by January we will file, kasi ang income ng Bataraza ay nasa P200 million na, sa area walang problema, sa population walang problema, kaya first city ito,” Alvarez said.
Bataraza, which has an annual total revenue of more than P200 million, according to Mayor Abraham Ibba, is up for some drastic changes in terms of progress in line with Alvarez’s mission to upgrade the municipality into a city by the start of 2020.
Ibba said that the measure has been favorably accepted by the townsfolk as they are looking into benefits that it may bring economically.
“Ayun nga, nabanggit nang ating mahal na gobernador na ang first city sa south ay ang Bataraza. In fact, sabi niya, ifa-file niya na sa January 2020. ‘Yun ay talagang pabor sa amin sa Bataraza. Unang-una, siyempre lalaki ang era once na maging city,” Ibba said.
The town’s local chief executive also said that Bataraza has strategically met the key components needed in upgrading the municipality into a total city.
“Dito sa atin sa south, tayo ang medyo lamang sa mga requirements para maging component city,” Ibba said.
Asked if Bataraza is ready enough for the major changes the leveled up status may bring, Ibba said that it won’t be a problem while mentioning that once approved, there will be a bigger fund for the town to use in sustaining bigger projects which will be required in the future.
“Actually hindi naman mahirap. Kasi lalaki ‘yung pondo. Mas lalo nating madaling ma-manage kasi may katapat na pondo. Kaya mas lalong madali ang ating pag-manage kung mangyari mang maging city ang Bataraza,” Ibba said.
Presently, according to the mayor, Bataraza exceeds the requirement of just P200 million in order to upgrade a town into a city.
The town also qualified for land area requirement and that the only thing they have been working about is the present population, which they think they will fill up by next year.
Meanwhile, Alvarez also revealed on Sunday, his multi-million dream project of making an international airport in the southern town, an airport which will be a gateway into domestic flights as well as international connecting flights directly into Malaysia, Indonesia and other neighboring Southeast Asian countries.
“Ang pangarap ko, magkaroon kayo ng sarili ninyong direct flights sa Manila, direct flights sa Cebu, sa Mindanao, sa Zamboanga. Ang airport na ‘yan, aayusin ko ‘yan sa lalong madaling panahon,” Alvarez said.
This has been seconded by Ibba himself, stating that plans have been constructed and that they have already allocated a fund which will be used for the first phase of construction by next year.
“Around the province flights muna, ‘yan ang phase one natin. Medyo maliit lang din yung phase one natin pero pinag-usapan namin ni gov, dadagdagan niya raw. ‘Yung inallocate natin para doon lang sa clearing, graveling, fencing, saka small hangar, hindi ko ma-exact kung ilan ang amount noon pero sabi ni gov pati concreting sasagutin niya raw,” Ibba said.
The airport is expected to start offering flights from Bataraza to Puerto Princesa, El Nido, San Vicente, Balabac and other towns around Palawan by March 2020.