Davao International Airport Needs Urgent Attention for the Necessary “Changes”



By Apolinario Villalobos


When Rodrigo Duterte was campaigning for the presidency, the popular caveat is: “change is coming”. Now, that he is in Malacaἧan Palace finally, it has become: “change for the better”. Indeed, there are so many things that need to be changed as part of his “house cleaning”. One of them is the Davao International Airport which is in a very sorry state. Many disappointed visitors to the Davao were heard to have commented on how in the world has such a “dilapidated” terminal become an international airport? For one thing, the decrepit signage announcing “Davao International Airport” has only with four or five lighted letters. The whole terminal building needs a repainting to put it bluntly. One lane that leads to the entrance of the pre-departure is closed forcing passengers alighting from taxis, thereby, forcing them to cross two lanes before finally making it to the unglamorous gate of the pre-dep. And, worst is the constant breakdown of the aircon system making many offices inside the terminal building akin to sauna cubicles!


Davao is supposed to be the premier international airport in Mindanao, but there is not even a 24-hour lounge for passengers who come from neighboring cities and towns, and who are then forced to stay in cheap downtown lodging facilities for a few hours in their desire to be on the first flight the following day. The average taxi fare from the downtown area is Php250, but for humanitarian’s sake, there should be a tip of at least Php20.00 The drivers of taxis queueing outside the airport “fence” are left on their own without, at least mobile toilets. And, to think that they an integral part of the tourism industry. I was told by many drivers that they would have to look for discreet corners every time they heed the call of nature. Aside from the mobile toilet, they should be provided with at least, a sheds of tarp with benches as they patiently wait for the visitors for 24 hours. And, there’s one signage announcing the presence of a government office in the area, but the name is shamefully printed in small letters under the name of the sponsor, a soft drink company which is printed in big letters…now, I think that is wrong because government agencies are not supposed to solicit funds for promo undertakings as they are supposedly budgeted!


The new secretary of the Department of Tourism, Wanda Tulfo Teo should do something about the aforementioned appalling situations. There is no problem with the peace and order of Davao, especially, with the transport service because taxi drivers are generally courteous and honest. But tourism is not all about peace and honest taxi drivers. The industry is more that those, as just like in visiting a house as guest, there is a question, such as, what can a palatable food on a grandly prepared table do if the yard is full of grass, the gate and the door are dilapidated, and the lighting fixtures are out of order?


The international focus has been veered towards Davao where the new president came from, and also due to its reputation as the comparably most peaceful city in the Philippines, thanks to him. It is home to the highest peak in the country, Mt. Apo, at 10,311 feet above sea level: the most exotic fruit, durian: Davao coffee made from coffee beans disposed awkwardly by civets from their innards: and, not to mention the reputation of the city as the biggest in area, in the whole world at 2,444 square kilometers. The new president who is known for his hard-hitting remarks and cuss has trebled the curiosity about this city. Davao is not only about Mindanao…she now stands for the Philippines as Duterte has become synonymous to her.