Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, along with provincial officials, conducted an ocular inspection of the renovated Bantayan Airport in Sta. Fe town on the island.
Freeman Photo
MOA for Bantayan airport development signed
Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - October 1, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Bantayan Island will soon welcome more tourists with the development of its existing airport into a commercial one.

Yesterday, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, along with provincial officials, conducted an ocular inspection of the renovated Bantayan Airport in Sta. Fe town on the island.

This inspection was followed by the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement entered into by the Province of Cebu and Mactan-Cebu International Airport on the development of airport as a commercial airport.

With the MOA, the MCIA is obligated to meet the standard requirements for Community Airports set by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

This includes the repair of runway, perimeter fence and terminal buildings. A budget of over P94 million had been allocated for the construction of a concrete pavement runway and its surrounding fence.

Currently, the airport has a 900-meter runway that could only hold general aviation planes.

The upgraded runway will now be extended to 1.2 kilometers. This will enable the airport to accommodate short land aircraft.

MCIA has also begun improving the terminal building.

"We wanted to create it in an iconic fashion that could drive some interest from the residents because it's a community airport," said MCIAA general manager Atty. Steve Dicdican.

MCIA will also take charge of the airport's administration, security, operations, maintenance and overall management.

The new MOA is expected to bring in more revenue to the airport and bolster tourism in the island of Bantayan.

It is stipulated in the contract that MCIA will prioritize the residents of Bantayan in the hiring of staff and workers of the airport.

But Dicdican clarified that the improvement to a community airport is just the beginning. Ultimately, MCIA and the province will endeavor towards transforming the airport to a commercial airport.

"We will be developing the airport as a community airport for now but the long-run strategy is really to turn it to a commercial airport and that can only happen with the help of the Cebu Province," he said.

For her part, Garcia also expressed her eagerness in the development of the airport.

"If you build it, they (tourists) will come. Naa na man gyud. Naa na ang terminal ug hapit na sad mahuman puhon ang pagsimento sa runway so things are looking very very bright for Bantayan Island,” she said.

This MOA also serves to nullify the MOA signed in 2018 under the previous administration and MCIA.

This need to engage in a new agreement, as written in the contract, is brought about by "lapse of time and change of conditions" relative to the signing of the previous MOA. (FREEMAN)

GWEN GARCIA
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