The P8.9 billion Bohol Panglao Intermational Airport will finally be inaugurated on Tuesday, 30 years after its conceptualization.
No less than Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte will be arriving in the province as guest of honor during the historic inauguration together with at least four Cabinet members led by Director General Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) who is a Boholano. The NEDA director was responsible to make representations for the additional budget needed since the original plan had no second floor, no boarding bidges and the runway was only 1,500 meters.
The NEDA director general worked out for the approval for the additional budget needed to make the implement the additional features of the airport which are considered as basic.
The President is expected at the new airport before 3 o ‘clock Tuesday afternoon.
Gov. Edgar Chatto will lead local officials to meet the President.
The airport’s runway is 2,500 meters while it boasts of a 13,884 square meter floor area.
On the second floor are three bridges while the terminal building has three escalators and elevators with separate sections for the international and domestic flights. There are two long conveyors while the rest rooms are of international standards
The modern airport sprawls on a 200 hectare lot acquired by the government.
Manager Ed Manalili told the Chronicle the Bohol Panglao International Airport is the Philippines’ first “eco-airport and green gateway to the world” designed to accommodate two million passengers yearly, including foreign tourists and investors.
He recently gave a briefing to Gov. Chatto where he articulated the concept of the eco-airport:
* Adoption of a solar power – about 30% of the passenger terminal building (PTB) energy requirement at daytime;
* Use of LED lights in all buildings, street/access roads and parking area;
* Use of solar hot water supply system (for administration building only);
* Wastewater treatment facility;
* Approximately 1,700 trees, shrubs and 11 hectares of sodding for its landscaping to regulate carbon dioxide;
* Energy-saving type air-condition system and natural ventilation for short dwelling-time areas (arrival and check-in lobby)
* Rainwater catchment pond for PTB – water collection and storage system to reduce the load on drainage system and collected rainwater to be used for watering and cleaning
* Implementation of biodiversity reforestation where 624,100 seedlings will be planted on Panglao island and Bohol island to compensate the cut trees within the project site (ratio: 100 trees for 1 indigenous tree cut); and
* Installation of wooden louvers and low emissivity coating curtain wall glazing (glass) in the PTB and gangway.
SAVED FROM NOTHING
Still unknown to many, the project had gone literally back to zero following allegations of bidding irregularities and anomalies in Manila before Chatto assumed as governor.
When Pres. Benigno Aquino III assumed, office , he suspended the implementation of the project because of the alleged corruption in the bidding process.
The initial fund allocated for the airport construction was instead used for another national government project.
Chatto, being the new governor, did not waste time in picking up the pieces of what would then be a redesigned plan, but still with no fund allocation yet.
It was really hard for the Bohol leaders, including then new in Congress Rep. Rene Relampagos who also worked a lot, to save the vital project from nothing because the Aquino administration had a different tack .
Aquino would then simply improve the Tagbilaran City airport instead of building a new one in Panglao.
The Local Project Management Team (LPMT) for the new Bohol airport project was created.
Seeking technical and scientific advices, Chatto organized the Bohol – University of the Philippines (UP) Advisory Council originally composed of environmental scientists, economists, geologists, legal luminaries and other experts.
The council was led by Dr. Cesar Saloma, then UP-Diliman chancellor; Dr. Ernesto Pernia, now the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) secretary; and Dr. Jose Abueva, UP president emeritus.
The group, after months-long study and discussion with Chatto, collectively favorably indorsed to Aquino the airport project to proceed, citing varied socio-economic and scientific reasons.
The environmental component was among the prescribed considerations, thus, the project has since been called the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (NBACSEPP).
The project was revived and sealed, with the main funding provided by the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Finally, the airport construction started in the later part of the Aquino administration and completed in Duterte’s time—and in the final years of Chatto’s governorship.
The time capsule was symbolically installed in 2oo7 by then President GMA during the incumbency of the late Governor Rico Aumentado.
The advisory council continued to support Chatto in monitoring the project and other development plans of Bohol until one of its members, Pernia, became the NEDA chief.
Pernia already headed the highly-important agency in the Duterte administration when the original international airport plan was revisited and enhanced with additional works.
The current administration supported the move to finally fully hrlp materialize the country’s first eco-airport and green gateway to the world, Chatto said.
The provincial government took charge of constructing the decent resettlement for the families owning the lots affected by the airport project.
The JICA stood firm against starting the airport construction until the affected people would have been relocated.
Chatto asked the support of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) thru a Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolution to adopt the name “Bohol Panglao International Airport.”
The name of the greenfield airport in a jewel destination considers the value of promoting Bohol as an eco-cultural province destination and Panglao as a beach island resort. (Ven rebo Arigo)