To further boost tourist arrival in the islands of Bantayan and Camotes, Cebu Gov. Hilario P. Davide III said the Provincial Government will work on developing the airports in both top island destinations.
“We will develop and fix the runway of these two airports,” Davide told Jose Dorren Sanoria, General Aviation head of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), and other officials of the office, who visited the governor last Nov 14.
Sanoria, Romualda Tamidles and Gabby Acosta of MCIAA business division, and William Sabado of the airport’s international operation, visited the governor to express willingness to operate the airports in Bantayan and Camotes Island.
Davide agreed that the Capitol and the MCIAA will jointly operate these two airports, which arrangement will be formalized in an agreement.
The governor arranged another meeting with Sanoria and the other officials, as well as officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on the fourth week of November.
The CAAP, a regulatory body, sets standards for airports in the country.
Sanoria recalled that CAAP, MCIAA and Capitol used to jointly operate these two airports. When the memorandum of agreement between the parties expired in 2013, CAAP continued operating Bantayan Airport while operation of the Camotes Island Airport was fully halted.
Eventually, CAAP wrote to MCIAA, informing the body that they will stop operating the Bantayan Airport on Nov 15.
Sanoria and other MCIAA officials immediately met with governor and expressed willingness to manage the facility.
In January 2014, Sargaso Construction and Development Corporation, the contractor set to rehabilitate and upgrade the Bantayan and Camotes airports, demanded P146.939 million as payment (P70.9 million for Camotes airport and P76 million for Bantayan Airport project) from the Provincial Government.
When Davide took over in 2013, he decided not to pay the contractor since the projects did not have authority from the previous Provincial Board.
With this present development, Capitol will undertake fresh initiatives to upgrade and finish the rehabilitation of these two airports considering that the islands are two of Cebu’s major tourist destinations.
These two airstrips were opened during the term of Gov. Emilio Osmeña in the 1990s and further developed by succeeding governors that eventually got stalled because of land acquisition problems in Sta. Fe.