Cebu News

Bantayan Island mayors thank Duterte, Bong Go

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The three mayors of the municipalities in Bantayan Island are thankful for the support of Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go and President Rodrigo Duterte for the development of the Bantayan Airport in Sta. Fe town.

Go had expressed his support and welcomed the provision of funding assistance requested by the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) for the development of the Bantayan Airport.

"Ipinapahayag ko po ang aking buong suporta sa pagbibigay ng pondo upang i-develop ang Bantayan Airport sa Bantayan Island. Sigurado pong malaki ang maitutulong nito upang mapaunlad pa lalo ang turismo sa lugar na makapagbibigay ng hanapbuhay sa ating mga kababayan doon," said Go.

MCIAA has requested the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Transportation for funding assistance of P154-million for the improvements needed in the said airport.

The project involves the widening of the existing narrow runway to 30 meters from its current width of 24 meters and construction of taxiway and apron areas of the airport.

This will ensure its compliance with established safety standards and will make it equipped for night-time flight operations and commercial aviation.

"I am very thankful to Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go for supporting the request of Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) for funding assistance to be used for the development of the Bantayan Airport in Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. It is more heartening to learn that our beloved President Rodrigo Roa Duterte also supports this project," said Sta. Fe Mayor Ithamar Espinosa.

The mayor is hopeful that with the support of the President himself, the said request will be appropriated accordingly.

"The President’s support will help ensure that MCIAA’s request for funding assistance will be granted. If implemented, the development of the airport would attract more commercial airlines to serve Bantayan Island. This will result in easier access to the Sta. Fe and the rest of the island," he said.

Aside from boosting the tourism industry, the airport development will help attract more investors in tourist facilities, Espinosa added. It will also benefit the agriculture sector as this would create more demand for their products. At the same time, more micro, small and medium enterprises will be encouraged to go into support industries such as souvenir products and logistics, among others.

"Sta. Fe, which is known for its white, powdery beach, has yet to maximize its full potential. While it has been drawing tourists, mostly locals, Sta Fe has long hoped to get its fair share of tourists, local and international, just like the other leading tourist destinations in the country," Espinosa said.

Bantayan Town Mayor Arthur Despi is also thankful to the national government. He is also hoping that direct flights will be available once the airport will be operational.

"The tourists will no longer spend the travel from Manila to (Mactan) Cebu, (Mactan) Cebu to Bantayan, it will be Manila to Bantayan, or Hongkong to Bantayan or wherever. Ang time and expenses for those extra travel sauna, mahimo nilang savings kanang kwartaha magasto nila sa Bantayan, ingon ana kadako ang economic impact niana," said Despi.

According to Despi, the airport will become a legacy of the Duterte Administration, which Bantayanons will treasure forever.

"We really support the Bantayan Airport for the economic development sa Bantayan. Mas mokusog kanang mo-open na gyud ang Bantayan Airport. We definitely welcome the support of the President and Senator Bong Go because it's a very big help to all Bantayanons, sa mga businesses didto. Ang uban ma-employ sab kon unsa man ang mahimo sa Bantayan Airport sa mga Bantayanons,"  Madridejos Mayor Sally dela Fuente also said.

The MCIAA intends to develop the Bantayan Island Airport by expanding its runway to allow efficient 24/7 commercial aviation activities. However, the MCIAA could not implement the said project due to limited funds, while the DOTr has no available savings to cover the same, hence, the request for funding from the Contingent Fund for its timely implementation.

"As a probinsyano, I know that these infrastructure projects will pave the way for the development of the provinces, boost economic opportunities and investment in the countryside," said Go.

He also urged concerned authorities to aim for the completion of the key projects before the end of the term of President Duterte.

"Kilala natin si Pangulong Duterte. Ayaw niya po na mayroong nakatiwangwang I may naiiwan na proyekto na hindi po natatapos,” he said. FPL (FREEMAN)

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