GMR-Megawide: Proving detractors wrong
FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel Abalos (The Freeman) - July 15, 2019 - 12:00am

A year ago, completed way ahead of schedule, Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) Terminal 2 (T2) started its commercial operations. Then, no less than President Duterte commended the early completion of the world’s only resort-airport in the resort city of Lapu-Lapu.

To think that this P17.5 billion project was originally conceptualized under the government’s public private partnership (PPP) by the previous administration and completed in the present leadership made it more special.

Notably, it is more than just a new terminal, it is a tourist attraction in itself. That is probably why President Duterte was “extra proud to be a citizen in this country” when he toured around the facility during its inauguration a year ago.

Indeed, so much accolades were poured on GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) for the early completion of the MCIA T2 project. Not only that, it earned immeasurable praises for its world-class design being the only resort airport in the entire world. Consequently, in just a year, MCIA T2 snared another international recognition as it won this year’s International Architecture Awards (IAA) for Airports and Transportation Centers category.

Not only that, MCIA T2 (which was designed by world renowned architectural firm, Hong Kong-based Integrated Design Associates and local designers Budji Layug, Royal Pineda and Kenneth Cobonpue), was also “shortlisted for the upcoming World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam.”  According to GMCAC, the private operator of MCIA, it shall “compete with Jewel Changi Airport and the Istanbul Airport during the festival in December 2019.”

Not only is this commendable, it also make all of us Cebuanos proud of GMCAC’s monumental accomplishments. However, lest we might forget, before we shower them with tons of congratulations and praises, let us all be reminded that this operator went through a lot before it even erected the structure’s first post.

Palpably, what they went through was concisely summarized in the comment of President Duterte during the inauguration when he singled out the fact that completing a project like MCIA T2 may take proponents a 100 years to complete. Why? Because, as he pointed out, in undertaking projects of this magnitude “you will run afoul with so many cases and injunctions.”

True enough, as we all knew, even on the day before the project was awarded to GMCAC, then Sen. Serge Osmena questioned the deal before the Supreme Court. Moreover, the Filinvest Group, the second highest bidder, protested the outcome of the bidding. In a letter they sent on January 2, 2014, they questioned the selection of GMCAC as the highest project bidder due to a “conflict of interest”.   Then, Filinvest Development Corp., thru its EVP and COO, Mr. Eleuterio Coronel, said that “we are hoping that they will abide by the rules and if they follow the rules, they will recognize the validity of the issues we are raising.”

Then, on November, 2014, before the officers and employees of GMCAC can warm their seats on their takeover, a new petition was filed by a group of businessmen before the Supreme Court seeking to stop GMCAC from “taking over, rehabilitating and expanding the airport.” The group, named Business for Progress Movement, led by its president Medardo Deacosta Jr., asked the High Court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against GMCAC. In their petition, they alleged that GMCAC “has no financial capacity to undertake the rehabilitation and expansion of the Cebu airport.”

As we often say, the rest is history. As we all now know, because of these remarkable improvements, in just a year, aside from the numerous global awards they’ve been accorded to, new airline companies both here and abroad mounted a good number of flights from Cebu to several lucrative points all over the world. Likewise, existing airline companies have mounted additional flights.

All these achievements and accolades really speak volumes about GMCAC’s then supposed financial incapacity to undertake the construction and operation of the MCIA.

Indeed, the men and women of GMCAC are extremely successful in proving their detractors wrong.

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