Plans, MOA needed for Bantayan, Camotes airports

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Monday, May 20, 2013

TWO agencies will have to sign an agreement with the Cebu Provincial Government before the construction of airports in San Francisco, Camotes Island and Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island can proceed, an official said.

These agencies are the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

The Capitol had allocated P25 million in the 2012 budget to begin working on each airport, after the projects made it to the Annual Investment Plan.


In a talk with Sun.Star Cebu’s reporters and editors last May 1, Rep. Pablo John Garcia, One Cebu’s gubernatorial candidate, said it was a pity that Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale stopped the construction of the two airports, which could have supported tourism.

Since she took over as acting governor last Dec. 19, 2012, Magpale has also served in the MCIAA board. Her designation began with the six-month suspension of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, over charges filed by the late Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr. Sanchez had accused the governor of bypassing the Provincial Board in appointing Capitol consultants and of taking over the selection of employees that were supposed to be the vice governor’s choice.

Magpale, in a separate interview, said that CAAP has not approved any plan for both airports in Bantayan and Camotes.

MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete confirmed the acting governor’s statement.

MCIAA supervises all airports and airport projects in Cebu, while the governor serves in the MCIAA board and has the power to recommend four private sector representatives.

In 2011, when Governor Garcia was still a member of the MCIAA Board, the MCIAA took up the two airport projects.

Villarete said that the MCIAA updated Magpale on the status of both airports, as far as the MCIAA board discussions were concerned. He said that their letter to Magpale was straightforward, mostly lifted from the minutes of board meetings discussing the two airport projects.

“We have to evaluate that (the project) when the plans are finally submitted to and approved by CAAP. It needs a tripartite MOA among three agencies. But the decision to pursue the project rests with the Province (of Cebu),” Villarete said.

Bantayan and Camotes are among Cebu’s most popular beach attractions, at a time when tourism has become one of the engines of the province’s economy.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 20, 2013.

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