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The 2nd runway in MCIA approved but…

Ten days ago, former Cebu governor now Representative Gwen Garcia texted me a report saying, “Hi Bobit, Just wanted to report that HB 1080, entitled “An Act Providing for the Establishment and Construction of a Second Runway at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority with its Concomitant Access Taxiways and Rapid Exit Taxiways (RET), Runway Lighting Systems, and Navigational/Landing Equipment, and Appropriating Funds Therefore” is scheduled for its 3rd reading today.” Honestly, I didn’t write this right away because we have somehow lost faith in this Congress to move forward.

Then later Representative Garcia texted me that this measure was approved by 204 affirmative votes. Thanks for this Representative Gwen. Well, apparently last Tuesday, this was reported in page 2 of The Freeman…. that a copy of House Bill no.1080 sponsored by our good friend, Representative Raul del Mar was not only approved on 3rd and final reading, but also transmitted to the Senate. Now whether this would pass the Senate this year… I have no idea. With the way things are being run in the Senate today where it has become a body for political vengeance is the order of the day, I’m not so optimistic on this.

But at least my good friend Representative Raul del Mar is still consistently supporting his own creation the MCIAA. After all, as I’ve emphasized in so many previous columns, the second runway assures the economic viability of Cebu most especially our tourism industry. But we’re not out of the woods yet in order to secure our second runway. First we have to get Senate approval. Also, why hasn’t Congress issued a resolution questioning the approval of the new rates for MCIA’s terminal fees? Hmmmm.

The other problem lies upon the fact that MCIAA general manager Paul Villarete has made a request to the Department of Transportation & Communications to conduct an alternative study for MCIAA’s future, second runway and all. Come now… do we really need the DOTC?

Also last Tuesday in the inside pages of The Philippine Star, there’s a report that blared, “Bid for NAIA runway project put on hold.” The official reason given was “In order to give prospective offerers ample time to prepare a competitive tender and opening of eligibility documents, technical and financial proposals.” So this project has been postponed until further notice.

In that report, we gathered from DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya who said that there are three companies interested in this project, notably the US-based Mitre Corp., Copenhagen Airport of Germany and NATS Ltd. of the United Kingdom. This brings us to ask the question that if those three companies are raring to go and make a bid for this 3rd runway for NAIA, why was this bidding stopped? If you read closely… that report… it was stopped in order to give “prospective offerers ample time.”

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Methinks that the DOTC has been asked by friends high up in Malacañang Palace to put this project on hold until their “friends” are ready to participate in this bidding. This is why I have no faith in the DOTC. In fact right on the same page in last Tuesday’s Philippine Star was the article of my good friend Babes Romualdez entitled “AirAsia Zest frustrated with CAAP, DPWH” and Sir Babes gave a mouthful against CAAP.

Once more this brings us back to the many issues plaguing the Philippines and if only you read Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson’s bestselling book “Why Nations Fail: The origins of power, prosperity and poverty” you can easily find all the reasons why the Philippines today is still a 3rd world country. My good friend, Joel Mari Yu, former managing director of the Cebu Investment Promotion Center agreed on one major reason why the Philippines continues to fail and it is due to the simple fact that we Filipinos just don’t know how to fix ourselves.

One major flaw is our highly-centralized form of government where all regional directors of national offices are mere postmen who cannot make decisions by themselves because headquarters demands it. Ask yourself, when was the last constitution created by the wide majority of Filipinos working for the good of the nation? The answer is simple…the 1935 Constitution. But we’ve had the 1973 Marcos Constitution, which then president Cory Aquino removed when she had the Freedom Constitution, then she crafted her own 1987 Constitution hammered by 49 pro-Aquino personalities.

MCIAA was created to have an aviation facility that is run by Cebuanos for Cebu. But under the Aquino Regime, the MCIAA board has knelt before the altar of Imperial Manila. Even the bidding for the lease for MCIA was done by DOTC, not MCIAA. This could never happen if I was still in the MCIAA board because we would never surrender to Imperial Manila. Because the MCIAA today surrendered to Imperial Manila… I can understand why Paul Villarete has to ask the DOTC to study MCIA’s second runway.

vsbobita@mozcom.com

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