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Airline, courier companies want Iligan airport opened

AIR Philippines is willing to ply the Iligan-Manila route using a modern jet plane via the Iligan Airport.

Another airline company, the Mindanao Express, and the global courier company Federal Express, are also awaiting the reopening of the airport, situated in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

Eddie Reston, executive assistant at the city mayor’s office, said that Air Philippines has expressed willingness to ply the Iligan-Manila route using a Boeing 737-200, one of the most popular air planes for mid-ranged commercial flights.

"The resurgence of confidence of investors in Iligan City have precipitated a move for the reopening of the said airport," said Reston.

The airport at Balo-i, which used to accommodate flights to and from Cebu and Cotabato, was closed for repairs in 1992. Although the runway has been rehabilitated, but the lack of communication equipment have delayed resumption of operations at the airport.

Mayor Franklin M. Quijano, who is also chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Mindanao, is reportedly requesting airport equipment from the Department of Transportation and Communication so the Iligan Airport could resume operations.

Still needed at the airport are a control tower, a navigation radio communications equipment, an all weather lighting system and the airport perimeter fencing.

"Once these equipment are approved for delivery by the DOTC, the Iligan Airport can reopen its doors into a more prosperous future in this area of Mindanao," Reston said.

With the current setup, Manila-bound Iliganons still have to go to the Cagayan de Oro airport, about 100 kilomters away.

A significant number of plane passengers taking off from Cagayan de Oro come from Iligan, Marawi and nearby towns.

A plan to construct a bigger airport for Iligan capable of accommodating commercial jet planes was aborted a few years ago, with the government’s plan to erect an international airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, for Iligan and Cagayan de Oro’s use.
 

City Hospital needs facilities, personnel

OFFICIALS of the Don Gregorio Lluch Memorial Hospital are pushing city officials to endorse plans to alleviate the medical institution’s status into a tertiary hospital so that services could be improved.

Dr. Raides Caga, hospital chief, appeared before the Sanggunian Panlungsod last week to ask councilors to pass a resolution requesting the Department of Health to grant a tertiary status.

Caga said that the plan entails increasing the number of hospital beds from the current 75 to 150, as well as adding more personnel and upgrading of equipment.

Surgeons at the hospital lamented of the poor state of its operating room, which they said lack facilities. For one, the surgeons noted that it does not have an OR lamp, an important tool used during operations.

The OR also lacks forceps, autoclave and other basic equipment, the surgeons said. They added that the OR itself is unsanitary with its obnoxious odor and dirty surroundings.

Caga said they requisitioned for facilities from the city government a while back but has not been acted upon.

Dr. Chonilo Ruiz, chairman of the SP’s health committee, complained of the move by the present city administration to reduce the number of personnel at DGLMH.

Ruiz, a pathologist who used to be a consultant at the hospital, said that the manpower reduction has severely affected services, delaying treatment and leaving the premises dirty.

He noted that during the time of Dr. Alejo Yañez, there were 150 casuals working at the hospital aside from the 130 regular employees. At one point, manpower peaked with the employment of 186 casuals.

But as of last count, the casuals numbered only 75, Ruiz noted.

He said that there used to be 50 casuals at the nursing department aside from the 35 regular employees. But the casuals now number only 32.
 

Tari-tari illegal, says cop chief

TIGBAKAY or tari-tari outside authorized cockpits is illegal, according to Supt. Rogelio Nuņeza, city police director.

The police chief clarified the issue in a meeting last week with barangay officials and city councilor Esperidion Sagrado, president of the Association of Barangay Councils.

Nuņeza said that there have been incessant requests from various barangay captains to legalize cockfighting in their respective places, but he maintained he could not do it because the law prohibits it.

"Only licensed and legitimate cockpit operators are allowed to stage cockfights," the recently appointed police chief said.

Cockfighting is one of the Filipinos’ favorite pastimes.

It is common knowledge in Iligan that cockfights are held secretly in many barangays to the detriment of legal cockpit operators.

During the last fiesta, policemen stopped cockfighting at the Mugna trade fair at Pryce Properties in Tubod, but eventually allowed for the sake of the fiesta. Barangay officials promised to help uphold the law and fight illegal gambling among their constituents.

Last week’s meeting was mainly intended to muster support from barangay official in maintaining peace and order in the city.

Barangay captains agreed to extend their help. One way is by sharing their barangay patrol cars to the nearest police station in time of emergencies.

Police has noted a decrease in the number of complaints filed in precincts in the past few weeks since Nuņeza implemented a program on police visibility in the community.

In Precinct 1, for example, the usual number of cases filed reached 20 cases weekly, but has lately dropped to only 10, said Sr. Insp. Leony Roy Ga.

Most of the cases were reportedly petty crimes like pickpocketting.

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