MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said Davao City would have to wait until after his term ends before a new airport there will be built.
Duterte said he did not want to be perceived as favoring his hometown.
"Pero noong unang meeting namin sa Cabinet, sinabi ko talaga sa kanila, unahin ninyo 'yung ibang lugar, ipahuli ninyo ang Davao. Kasi taga-riyan ako. Sabihin nila, siyempre si Duterte taga-Davao, unahin niya ang Davao," the President said in a taped speech, adding that some Davaoeños do not agree with his thinking.
(In our first Cabinet meeting, I told them to prioritize other places, not Davao. People might say I'm giving more importance to Davao because I'm from there.)
"So ang Davao, hanggang ngayon 'yun pa rin ang airport niya," the President added, referring to the Francisco Bangoy International Airport.
"Masikip. Lumiliit na. It has become terribly small because of the so many people using it. I don't know how many million ang ma-serve niya per year."
(That is why until now Davao has the same airport. It's cramped, and it has become terribly small because of the so many people using it. I don't know how many million people it can accommodate per year.)
Duterte said Davao residents must be patient and wait for the next administration to build a new airport for them.
"So kayong mga taga-Davao, alam ko masakit ang loob ninyo. Relax lang, baka ang sunod na presidente maawa sa atin, bigyan tayo ng bagong airport. So 'wag masyado ninyong dibdibin kasi that's part of human trait," he said.
(I know you feel bad. Just relax, maybe the next president will take pity and build a new airport for us. Don't take it too seriously because that's part of human trait.)
Duterte on Monday inspected several seaport and airport projects in General Santos City.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier said 84 airport projects will be completed before Duterte's term ends in 2022.
These projects included facilities in Biliran Airport, Hilongos Airport in Leyte, Cuyo Airport and Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan, Lingayen Airport in Pangasinan, Tacloban Airport, and Tuguegarao Airport.
Tugade said 233 airport projects have been finished, as of this month. These include the construction of Bicol International Airport and renovation of airports in Butuan, Siquijor, Catarman, and General Santos City.