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Friday, April 29, 2011

First plane out of Panglao Airport expected in 2015

Tagbilaran City, Bohol Apr 29, (PIA)----THE first plane out of the new Bohol Airport should have taxied-off from the newly completed facility by 2015, assumes Transportation Secretary Jose de Jesus on Friday.

His assumption was also based on the fact that foreign consultants who visited Bohol this week could have finished the details of the bid documents and settling the issue of the sharing scheme by August this year.

Consultants from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) came in “to study how to structure the public-private partnership and determine how much each party is sharing in the funding scheme,” Sec. de Jesus claimed.  

Speaking at the weekly Kita Ug ang Gobernador at the People’s Mansion, April 29 as guests of honor, Sec. de Jesus was joined by DOTC Assistant Secretary George Esguerra, Undersecretary Ruben Reynoso and Land Transportation Authority Regional director Raul Aguiluz.

The DOTC executives came to Bohol to attend the Asean Transportation Minister’s Conference, and at the weekly forum to personally appraise the Boholanos on the project’s status.

“We are here to launch one of the top priority projects of the government under the private-public partnership (PPP) program,” Sec. de Jesus said.

Earlier launched along with nine other initially identified priorities, the new Bohol Airport which was supposedly funded largely by the Manila International Airport Authority was repackaged and is now offered for funding by public-private partnership (PPP).

De Jesus explained that unlike the traditional way of implementing public projects where the government pays for it through its own national budget, many of these funded through foreign loans or official development assistance, the new Bohol airport would be funded under the PPP.

“Applied specifically to the Bohol airport, it means that instead of the government solely spending for it, we involved the private sector,” the transportation secretary who was also instrumental in laying the ground works for the Bohol Circumferential Road improvement Project as public works secretary then said.

He reasoned that it was repackaged under the new scheme “because of the limitations in government resources amid the need to speed up the development of our infrastructure program.”

Under the new model, the government spends for the land acquisition, civil works including the [installation of] navigational aids and the private sector spends for the land side [development] such as terminal building and other related vertical structures.

He added that “the operation and management would be bid to interested parties.”

PROJECT DELAYS
Then launched by the Arroyo Administration to boost Bohol’s potential as tourism destination, the project was re-bid over insinuations that there were uncovered anomalies.

Amid apprehension that the project was only launched to drum up a perfect administration support for the past elections, many in Bohol also believed that that the project was ill advised.

The failure of the project to go beyond the media blitz also pushed many Boholanos to believe that its was doomed from the very start.

By the change of Administration, the MIAA was placed under Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and technical problems in releasing the promised funds sprang.

Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto however has always been optimistic of the project’s realization when the new Administration picked the project among its priorities.


The resurfacing of the DOTC bigwigs here however stirred anew hopes that the new airport which Bohol badly needs to boost its tourism destination dreams can still rise to reality. (Rey Anthony Chiu)  

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