Are we ready for the airport game-changer?

THE NEW PANGLAO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT,.everyone agrees, is Bohol’s  Game-Changer. It is such because Bohol’s economy is connected like with an umbilical cord to the fortunes of Tourism, only secondarily to Agriculture.

Imagine one million new folks trooping down the airplane steps into the province via the island’s new eco-friendly international airport- that’s no-kidding plenty to folks to service satisfactorily. And we wanted to place the word SATISFACTORILY ( in large capital letters) because that is not easy to do when it comes to tourists- one of the most demanding, prone-to-compare visitors who will have some pen- and- pad to record their experience in this island province. 

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But are we really ready for this challenge? It is a germane question to ask since the trumpet- blowers say the airport is just around the corner and the year is a quarter away from ending the year 2018.

Power is still a question mark. The demand for new power source will not just be related to running the airport per se. There are ancillary businesses sprouting within the airport and the peripheries leading to the resorts and the capital city. Anyone who excludes these from the extrapolation of immediate incremental power demand is blind-sided.

Current demand is 85 megawatts versus the power supply of 100 megawatts. Is the 15 megawatts enough buffer? Apparently not, to our estimation. 

Moreover, we are 70% of the time dependent on the far-away geothermal power supply from Leyte connected by submarine cables.  Leyte is always on a direct pathway of ill-tempered weather coming from the Pacific Ocean. Where Leyte goes, so goes Bohol. Why continue this dependency- because our power supply contracts end only in 2022? How much would it hurt – fiscal-wise for the province to have current excess power rather than a scarcity thereof?

Years back, when Yolanda brought Leyte to her knees, we had a month-long blackout- can a tourism-dependent province survive that -without a severe black eye, business-wise? Two weeks ago, we had intermittent brownouts  ( 10 off and on series) when fault lines were discovered. after a nasty storm.  Do we deserve this?

What is all this talk about interconnecting to Cebu in the meantime- will the BEDAG come up with categorical timelines and business plans for this? We do not deserve generic answers and then just grin -and bear it with every frigging brownout come about. This not just causes results inconvenience but also results in high electric cost because people turn to use expensive generators. Who is really in charge here? 

Isn’t that alarming especially with the much-awaited opening of the Bohol Panglao International Airport by November this year or January next year (even that has become an almost laughable moving target to parties outside of Bohol)?  Where can we get the needed power?  Power source- are we prepared or unprepared?

A back-to-back concern with power is water.   Will Panglao be getting enough water when the airport opens? We are yet to hear officially what’s the timetable now of the Richli group which announced a gigantic water project for Panglao and Dauis with September 2018 as a target date.  What is the new time schedule?

Until today, likewise, there seems to be nothing definite about the much-needed wastewater treatment facility.  The increasing number of resorts will surely demand their waste disposal to be in proper compliant with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) requirements. 

There also continues the ignored implementation of the demolition orders as earlier given the imprimatur by DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu who personally came to Bohol to identify the environment violators.   Instead of hearing of what’s to be done next amidst the DENR order, Panglao is now instead besieged with the issue as to who is the rightful mayor between  Pedro Fuertes and Nila Montero seemingly sitting as “two mayors” of Panglao.  This duality can paralyze the implementation of projects- a very dysfunctional situation for any LGU similarly situated.

Could we. therefore, say that perhaps the Number One need of Panglao is the urgent need to elect a much better mayor of Panglao during next year’s election? Maybe, it must be about time for the people of Panglao to be serious in their search for a  more dynamic, forward-looking mayor.

It may not be helpful for the Panglaoanons to be limited in their choices among the same old names like Montero, Fuertes, former Mayor Dodong Alcala or former Mayor Doloreich Dumaloan.  They have been there at the town hall before.  But nothing happened. 

How about to have a new dynamic and not necessarily much of a politically-colored person to be the next mayor of Panglao.   Dumaloan could perhaps be the new kingmaker in Panglao, a title held by his longtime mortal enemy in the person of the late hotelier Anos Fonacier.

For instance, one can conclude a lack of executive foresight with the dark streets of the so-called fabled island of Panglao – it is an obvious problem that does not need a rocket scientist to see.

And what about the other problem of traffic congestion in Tagbilaran, being the gateway and capital of the province?  True, many city roads have been concreted and in much better condition compared to the era of former Mayor Dan Lim.  But we believe that mere road concreting the is not enough as much as creating viable new secondary alternative roads.

People ask about whatever happened to the planned boulevard-like diversion road down Gallares Street.?  The present traffic congestion along Gallares Street and CPG Avenue will worsen in the coming days when there will be more arrivals once the new international airport will be opened.

Mayor Baba Yap whose second term is about to end should double time to have new road openings in the city like those where there is a clogging of vehicles like at Plaza Rizal, the  corner of City Hall/Island City Mall,  and the Bohol Wisdom School where the new provincial capitol will soon be opened and other areas.   Cemented roads cannot solve the congestion.  

We need to see these new alternative roads to be among the next top agenda of Mayor Yap as he will be serving his last 3-year term after the May 2019 polls.

Our LGUs should also take heed of the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry to start the groundwork for a “mass transit system” serving both ends of Panglao and Tagbilaran City.

Many times, progress strides much faster than good governance can match. We need not accept that possibility in our case. We should aim for governance matching progress strides on an even keel. That’s why people elected you to positions of power.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com

 

WELCOME, BONI QUIROG, PH.D.

THE CHRONICLE WELCOMES A NEW COLUMNIST  in the person of Boni Quirog in our Opinion Page. His treatment will be diversified as the title of his column is aptly called: Threefold Society.

He has also shown his positive bias to a globally important topic like the environment by winning as early as 1998 the Director General’s Prize for Essay on the Environment in Tokyo, Japan.

Quirog holds a baccalaureate degree in Sociology from the Ateneo de Davao University, a Ph. D for Human Resources from the University of Bohol and a Bachelor of Laws from the Holy Name University. He is currently the Secretary of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and member of the Bohol Arts and Cultural Heritage Council.

He dabbles in poetry, songwriting, and essay. His research work includes social threefolding, local politics, interfaith peacemaking, training needs, and capability building.  An interesting hodgepodge of disciplines.

Welcome on board, Boni.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com

 



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