TAGBILARAN CITY, March 3, (PIA)— For a province that has received over P19 billion for its tourism and infrastructure, Bohol should feel privileged as other provinces get only an average of P2 billion annually from the government.
President Benigno Aquino III, said this in his message to about a little over a thousand people huddled under tents in the early afternoon sun at the site of the new airport in Panglao.
There, at the a steel modular stage overlooking the compacted end of the runway that would serve as Panglao's be newest asset, President Aquino told Boholanos that for public works alone, the government had already allocated P10.45 billion here.
The President came to Bohol officiate the time capsule laying ceremony and inspect the progress of the airport that has been promised, but have not gone past substantial accomplishment after five administrations, until now.
As to public works, the president said the amount had been used for the rehabilitation of roads and bridges, school buildings, health facilities and flood control projects.
He cited as part of the rehabilitation, the Panglao Island Circumferential Road, which was just recently completed.
"Panglao Island Circumferential Road will attract more tourists into your island and will improve the flow of services and commerce of your province," the president in his trademark yellow shirt told the crowd, many of them Panglaoanons who have stated to lose faith in the much delayed airport project.
The amount is not even including the Department of Transportation and Communication's (DOTC) allocated budget for the construction and repair or rehabilitation if airports and ports from 2011 to 2016.
The DOTC has already spent in Bohol some P8.5 billion, he said.
The government is building an airport here, to replace and decommission current airport in Tagbilaran City, which has expansion issues owing to its being in the midst of the city.
Oppositors for the Panglao airport cite fears that the limestone substrate might not hold the heavy construction and succeeding load, Aquino assured people that experts have seen the site and assured the airport feasibility.
With the new aiprot, operational by December of 2017, the President said tourism arrivals in Bohol should triple and hit 1.7 million annually, Aquino said citing Department of Tourism projections.
With the airport bringing in tourist who is spending an average of 1,000 dollars, it also means jobs for a Filipino, income for resorts, the farmers who grow food for the resorts, even tour guides, or weavers who would be crafting souvenir handicrafts, the president noted.
Panglao Airport is just one among the many infrastructure projects we have in Bohol, according to Aquino.
That is wht, by next year, you will have a new airport and I might be a passenger of the new planes landing in your new airport, Aquino quipped.
The airport is one of the fastest the Administration can do so we can open up opportunities that you can afford you chance to better lives, he said. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)