PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo started pulling the strings to move government agencies to start the construction works on the P4.7 billion (US$115 million) Panglao International Airport in Bohol and bring Bohol on a tougher toehold in the country’s super regions plan.
The presidential action was to build on the momentum of the growing regional travel market in Asia, and thus possibly getting Visayas the share of economic development.
In fact, for Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado, its completion would be Bohol’s biggest gift to the President as she celebrates her birthday in April of 2010.
Earlier, the President issued the order at a Cabinet meeting in Malacanang when they country’s top development thinkers tackled programs and projects for rural development, among which was the approval of the Panglao Airport Development Project by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board.
The President, who chairs the NEDA Board, said the “bid must be out by April this year and work start by July.”
She also was reported as saying that the project would be funded by internal government funds as she ordered in July 2005.
By the arrangement, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) bankrolls 90% of the P4.7 billion project cost while the remaining 10% would be funded by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
According to a feasibility study on the project, the construction of an airport in Panglao Island is economically viable.
It showed that air passenger arrivals in Bohol have been “phenomenal,” brought about by Bohol’s tourism initiatives including preservation and development of world-class Panglao white-sandy beaches.
Settled in a 195 hectare lot, Panglao Airport Development Project would have a 2.5 kilometer runway making it easy for bigger planes to land.
The design, one which could be upgradable to fit international standards allows the airport to be an alternate airport to nearby Mactan Cebu International Airport in Cebu.
The project site which the President has inspected lies in parts of barangays Lourdes, Bolod, Danao and Tawala in Panglao. (rachiu/PIA)