Duterte solving flight delays
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

If you’re wondering what makes President Duterte popular despite highly questionable accusations by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the war against drugs, it is due to the fact that among all the other presidents, he feels it unto himself that the problems of our people are something he must solve. Just a few days ago, the President went to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to see for himself one of the daily problems in our aviation industry -- the nearly daily delays of flights, which no one has apparently offered solutions to.

After that ocular inspection, President Duterte ordered the immediate start of operations at Sangley Point in Cavite, which was one of the solutions to the problem of over-congestion at NAIA. During the Cabinet meeting last Monday night, Duterte hinted at a possible revamp of the country's main international gateway and added Sangley Point to help decongest NAIA. Hence, the President directed operations at Sangley Point to start immediately. His directive came as Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade discussed the plan to transfer general aviation or domestic flights to Sangley Point.

One of the main reasons why Sangley Point was not used is that the main road going to the airport is just too narrow and traffic makes it very difficult to access, except if you put in a ferry service to link Sangley Point to Roxas Boulevard. With this news, "Secretary Tugade reported that he had already initiated the testing of ferries that can operate from Mall of Asia to Sangley within 18-24 minutes." With Tugade’s report, at least now we know that the airport authorities have been finding ways to solve NAIA’s problem. Of course, as I’ve been pointing out to the aviation industry in the last 15 years, a parallel runway, rather than a new terminal, was needed at NAIA. But those idiots in Manila always tell me that a second runway wasn’t needed. How wrong they are.

According to Transportation Undersecretary Manuel Tamayo, the agency has a budget of P500 million for the rehabilitation of Sangley Point, which is seen to help ease congestion at NAIA and hopefully by the end of the year, Sangley Point will become operational for domestic flights. If indeed there is going to be a ferry service from the Mall of Asia to Sangley, then that means when we fly to Manila and land in Sangley Point, we can go straight to Mall of Asia. That would be a swell idea. Let’s hope that they can fix this problem as soon as possible.

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Still on transportation issues, we read from The FREEMAN that there are a total of 110 hybrid buses that would soon be serving routes from Cebu City to other cities or locations in the province. This was reported by Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-7 Director Eduardo Montealto who revealed that provisional authority to operate has been granted to a total of 110 hybrid buses.

Montealto said that six buses have now started operating and in the next three months, around 20 more buses would be operational. He perceives that around half of the 110 buses should be in the streets in the next six months, and at least 90 percent of the total units within the next nine months.

Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) operations manager Jonathan Tumulak said six buses have started plying the said route since the other day. These six buses will start from CSBT and have designated bus stops at the Ayala Center Cebu, IT Park, SM City Cebu, the North Bus Terminal in Mandaue City, and the Marina Mall in Lapu-Lapu City. These buses traveling from CSBT to Lapu-Lapu City are also equipped with bathrooms. This is one positive development for the economic growth of Cebu.

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Our congratulations to Ms. Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados, a 23-year-old beauty from Talisay City, Cebu who won the Miss Universe Philippines 2019 crown during the Bb. Pilipinas  finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday night. Gazini’s name was picked by ABS-CBN Integrated Events Head Bobby Barreiro. The last Cebuana to wear the Bb. Pilipinas crown was way back in the 1967, when Pilar Pilapil, a Liloan native, bagged the title. Let’s hope Gazini wins a bigger title this year.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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