Rename Mactan Airport Lapu-Lapu Airport
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2018 - 12:00am

Last Monday was National Heroes Day, but for Cebuanos, it was an unforgettable day because no less than Pres. Rodrigo Duterte who last June finally gave Chief Lapu-Lapu the recognition he deserves by making his day, April 27 a holiday. But during the observance of National Heroes Day, Pres. Duterte said that he is amenable to the proposal of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to rename the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to Lapu-Lapu International Airport.

There is no question that even during the election campaign of the 2016 Presidential elections, then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte used Lapu-Lapu in his speeches to show that the powers-that-be who are mostly from Luzon would not even recognize the exploits of Lapu-Lapu as a real hero. Their usual reasons was that Lapu-Lapu was not a Filipino as the Philippines was not yet born when he killed Ferdinand Magellan. Also in store is the creation of a National Monument Park after Lapu-Lapu. 

As a private sector representative in MCIAA for 20 years, I fully support this idea of renaming the MCIA as the Lapu-Lapu Cebu International Airport, so that foreigners would get to know who Lapu-Lapu is to us and why we renamed the MCIA to him. More importantly, Lapu-Lapu is part of our history and not a politician, which is why I support this move with gusto!

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Still about the MCIA, I read about the coming closure of the runway of the MCIA not from the newspapers, but from the Facebook page of Ma. Cielo Villaluna, communications head of Philippine Airlines (PAL) who wrote that from Sept. 1 to 21, the Mactan Cebu International Airport’s Runway 04/22 will be closed from 1:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. to pave the way for repair and rehabilitation. PAL has either cancelled or delayed several flights in view of the five-hour daily runway closure within the said three-week period. All other flights outside this window period shall remain operational.

Then I read the news report from Assistant General Manager Glenn Napuli that MCIAA has allocated P240 million for the asphalt overlay of the runway covering the entire length of 3,420 meters and a width of 30 meters. This means work on the runway will start at dawn from 1:30 to end at 6:30 a.m. As there are four contractors working on this runway, MCIAA officials expect this project to be done in 14 days.

 Napuli revealed to the media that the asphalt overlay was supposed to be due in 2012, but the focus was on the construction of Terminal 2. Again, this bolsters my demand for MCIA to have a second runway, a project that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) always told me we don’t need yet.

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Today, SKAL International, a worldwide association of travel and tourism professionals promoting global tourism and friendship will be hosting the SKAL International Tourism Personality Awards at 6 p.m. tonight at the Grand Ballroom of the New World Makati Hotel. It is an award honoring chosen individuals whose achievements and contribution have created a great impact in the Tourism Industry. SKAL International is the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry. It was first founded in 1932 in Paris, France and has some 15,000 members in 400 tourism clubs throughout 90 countries.

Tonight’s event is a double milestone as it is the 28th anniversary of the SKAL Tourism Personality Awards and the 37th founding anniversary of the SKAL International Makati Chapter which was founded in 1981 and the second oldest club as Manila was founded in 1952. The Awardees are: Gov. Houdou Nakamura, international tourism category, Andrea Domingo, gaming tourism category, Akihiro Hosoya, foreign airline category, Deedee Ledonia, MICE category, Joanne Ramirez, print media category, Annalisa Burgos, broadcast media category, Kingson Sian, integrated tourism enterprises, Lawrence Li Tan, tourism marketing category, Capt. Peter Tay, inbound and domestic tours, Eddie Monreal, airport category, Raoul Esperas, airport media category, Richard Masselin, hotel category and lastly a posthumous award for former tourism secretary Jose Aspiras.

If I recall, I too was given a SKAL Award for print media two years ago, but it was my son, 2nd officer Jesus Valeriano Avila who got the award for me as I was indisposed with my kidney transplant and wasn’t allowed to travel. So congratulations awardees for a job well done. Tourism in this country is very dynamic because of people awarded by SKAL International.

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