Future and past

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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Saturday, January 18, 2014

THE fury over Laguindingan Airport’s inefficiency has reached a boiling point, dubbed now as the “Dili-Malandingan Airport.”

The headlines of most social media complaints have been cancelled, cancelled flights all over again. Nearly eight months after its opening on June 15, 2013 and without reaching the full year of cycle it’s been plagued with nothing but complaints, from inadequate facilities, to a missing x-ray machine. We need not go nostalgia, but the 50 year old airport of Lumbia which now stands idle has come back to the memories of the citizens of Cagayan de Oro, touted as a historic piece which we had to move away from hurriedly its services have been missed, and despite its old and rustic feel, people look back with pride knowing their flights landed, and at least they landed.

Lumbia received 25 flights maximum per day before it closed down, the reduction that CAAP and DOTC flagged as “tolerable” was under the presumption that the Sunrise–Sunset limitation cooperated under its own perceived flight schedule, but with increasing air-traffic the daylight limitation has proven to be a bane, and a huge economic loss to Northern Mindanao, not just in passenger volume, but also in cargo, as many companies rely on air freight for their supplies and exports. From a booming 25 at its peak, we have now dwindled down to 16 at most, and often the 16 doesn’t even get accomplished.


Months before the DOTC and CAAP ordered the closing of Lumbia and the feared opening of Laguindingan, the city’s business sector rose up to challenge and protest the premature nature of the opening, spinning the agenda for the benefit of pushing Laguindingan. The rhetoric of the defenders of the closing accused the protesters as doom saying, and ill wishing, even went to a tirade of branding them as backward, or selfish, against the interest of the other benefactor of having an airport at the middle of Iligan and CDO, how many of us joyfully welcomed the “niceness” of the new Laguindingan airport, and how many reveled in the newness of the facilities, while gleefully spitting at the Lumbia Airport?

As it stands, Laguindingan may very well still be the future of this region when it comes to flights, there is still huge work to be done, and as it is we’ve yet to even start talking about its own problems with its short runway, and how it cannot accomplish a visionaries dream of having an international hub for Northern Mindanao.

They say the Future holds better promises that are mostly right, but as we look at the two pictures of Lumbia and Laguinidingan, it seems as if the past held more promise that was at least accomplished.

It wasn’t grand, it wasn’t new. But it sure as hell landed.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 18, 2014.


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