MANILA, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines has set aside a total of 2.1 billion pesos (roughly 39.5 million U.S. dollars) in a fresh fund to modernize the infrastructure of six airports in the central and southern Philippines, a lawmaker said Saturday.
Congressman Luis Campos, an ex-officio member of the appropriations committee of the House of Representatives, said the six airports are New Bohol or Panglao International Airport, Siargao Airport in Surigao del Norte, Catbalogan Airport in Samar province, Davao International Airport, Central Mindanao M'lang Airport in North Cotabato and Tacloban Airport in Leyte province.
Campos said the 2.1 billion pesos is on top of the 10.2 billion pesos (roughly 191.7 million U.S. dollars) that the Philippine Department of Transportation is spending this year to upgrade 40 airports across this archipelagic country.
"The government is investing heavily to build up aviation facilities and services, amid the growing number of Filipinos traveling by air domestically as well as the surge in foreign tourists, many of whom go on island-hopping tours," Campos said.
Citing data from the Department of Tourism, Campos said a total of 3.706 million foreigners visited the Philippines from January to June this year, up 10.4 percent from 3.357 million in the same six-month period in 2017.
Some 25 million Filipinos, or nearly one-fourth of the national population, now rely on local air travel every year, Campos said, citing the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
Among the six airports, the new Bohol International Airport is getting the biggest slice of the aviation infrastructure program budget.
"The new Bohol airport is getting an extra 754 million pesos (14.2 million U.S. dollars) next year," Campos said in a statement.
The new Bohol airport is the gateway to the central Philippine province famous for pristine beaches, century-old Roman Catholic churches and a geographical formation called chocolate hills, an extraordinary landscape of more than 1,000 limestone hills scattered in a 50 square km area.
Bohol, a famous resort in the central Philippines, is also home to the tarsiers, considered as the world's smallest primate endemic to the Philippines that measures four to five inches.