Thursday, 23 May 2019 02:56 pm Phil. Time

News & Events 3

Bid Invites for Panglao Airport Published Soon

THE proposed Panglao Bohol International Airport (PBIA) has finally hurdled the final requirement for the publication of the invitation to bid for the construction of its runway and allied facilities. Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado said the proposed airport passed through the eye of the needle – referring to the three and a half-hour public consultation at The Pavilion of the Bohol Beach Club in Bolod, Panglao town that provided both oppositors and supporters the time to air their remaining issues and concerns on the P7.542 billion facility. The project originally cost P4.2 billion. With a realignment of the runway by 32 degrees to avoid landing or taking off in the direction of the resort row in Alona Beach, acquiring additional lots for future expansion of the runway, terminal building, cargo and parking areas among others, and the engineering interventions needed to fill cracks and crevices, however, the proposed airport incurred a cost overrun of around 76 percent.

The realignment and adjustments like the 2.5-kilometer runway from 2.1 kms., and 7,000 square meters to 11,000 sq. m. or around 1.2 hectares for the terminal building alone – excluding the areas for cargo, parking and other facilities – plus the engineering interventions are contained in the detailed engineering design that the Philippines Japan Airport Consultants (Phil.JAC) submitted. The 2.1-km. runway can accommodate the Airbus 320s that airlines currently servicing Bohol currently use. The longer runway can already accommodate Airbus 330s or the kind that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her party chartered for her recent official trips to Korea , Europe and Brazil .

In his opening statement, Rafael Tagalog of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region 7 said the airport is aligned with the national and the Central Visayas regional development frameworks that, among others, have identified Bohol to be within the Central Philippines super region that is dedicated to tourism. He said NEDA has evaluated the project feasibility study and finds it economically viable. Assistant General Manager Tirso Serrano of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) provided figures on the airlines, flights and passengers it has served in the past year and the visions for the Panglao airport that is part of the country’s medium term development plan. President Arroyo has designated MIAA as the lead agency in implementing the project that must comply with international standards as contained in her Memorandum Order 210.

Serrano assured the crowd of over 250 persons that MIAA is up to the task in fulfilling its mandate. Phil.JAC’s Dr. Edgar Doña presented highlights of its feasibility study and detailed engineering design. Aumentado had designated lawyer Handel Lagunay, provincial legal officer, to act as floor leader to ensure a smooth activity flow. In the open forum, issues on power and water supply, environment, propriety of the airport location, the master plan conducted by Palafox Associates, livelihood for those whose lands were acquired for the airport, budget, comprehensive land use plan, social acceptability, sharing of tax collected, sustainability and some technical aspects were addressed.

The questions raised – including fears and apprehensions – turned out to be moot as the issues have been thoroughly deliberated on and discussed by the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) Technical Board and Cabinet Group that had required the final consultation in the first place. The healthy exchange concluded with a 100 percent adoption of the decision and declaration to immediately implement the Panglao Bohol International Airport Development Project as moved by lawyer Jose Torralba, chair of the project’s Local Task Force, seconded by lawyer Lucas Nunag, chair of the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council. In waiting for objections or opposition, Aumentado conducted a long count but heard none until he reached 10 – making the approval unanimous. He expects the notice of bidding to be published in a national paper within the month. By JUNE S. BLANCO

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