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Pagadian City airport paralyzed after land owner puts up tent in runway


Commercial airliners have failed to land Thursday at the Pagadian City airport in Zamboanga del Sur province after the owner of a piece of land straddling the runway put up a tent to force the government to pay them for the use of their ancestral domain.

“The owner of the land put up a tent in the middle of the runway and no aircrafts were able to land or take off,” said Ely Dumaboc, Net 25 reporter, who was at the airport, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

Cebu Pacific said it cancelled two flights to Pagadian from Cebu province due to the obstruction at the runway.

“The following Cebu Pacific flights have been cancelled today due to runway obstruction at the Pagadian Airport - 5J 443/444 Cebu-Pagadian-Cebu. We’ve been contacting and re-accommodating affected guests. Passengers’ options include re-booking or rerouting for travel within 30 days with no penalties, as well as full travel fund or full refund,” it said in an advisory to its customers.

It also advised passengers to call the Cebu Pacific hotlines for details on their re-accommodation.

“We hope for your understanding as these cancellations were beyond the airline’s control. Your safety is always our top priority,” it said.

Air Phil Express also cancelled or diverted its flight from Pagadian to Zamboanga City.

There was no immediate statement from the Department of Transportation and Communication or airport authorities on the action of the Taug Botofamily which has been demanding over P8 million in payments for three hectares of land from the government for almost 13 years now.

Commercial operation at the airport started on April 27, 2010 and many of its passengers come from the Zamboanga Peninsula and in nearby Lanao provinces.

By Mindanao Examiner

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