Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia said Saturday that he will continue to work for the installation of the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Processing Center at the Bacolod Silay Airport so international flights could land there.
Leonardia said he hopes to be part of the House Committee on Transportation so he can lobby for the fast installation of the CIQ at the Bacolod-Silay Airport.
He said he intends to see Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilip Abaya to discuss the matter. Western Visayas Tourism Council Chairman, and former City Administrator John Orola, said that once the CIQ is installed at the airport, the 17 chartered flights of Cebu Pacific from Inchon, South Korea will push through in December.
Orola said that if the CIQ is installed, it will also be easier for Negros Occidental to open direct flights from Singapore and Hongkong.
He added that what is needed in the CIQ installation to push through are the passport reader equipment and additional immigration personnel.
During a forum at the Bacolod-Silay Airport last month, Erwin Balane, Chief Tourism Operations Officer, said Bacolod accommodates close to 40,000 Korean tourists every year, and if they do not address the problem of installing a CIQ Processing Center at the Bacolod-Silay Airport, the city could lose about P33 million a year.
Helen Catalbas, regional director of the Department of Tourism VI, said that, next to Boracay, Bacolod is one of the most popular destinations of the Korean market.
The Bacolod City Council passed a resolution Wednesday urging the Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Transportation and Communication to immediately install a customs, immigration and quarantine facility at the Bacolod-Silay Airport.
President Benigno Aquino III had ordered the installation of such a facility in January to allow both regular and chartered international flights to land in Negros.*APN