In the aftermath of Typhoon “Odette,” the Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) is still using a generator set as power source forcing airport authorities to refrain from turning on the facility’s air-conditioning units and use electric fans instead.
This was the explanation of BPIA manager Angelo Ybañez of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in response to a complaint raised by former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong on the heat inside the P8.9-billion airport whose air-conditioners, at the time the former solon was there, were turned off.
“Diha na daot sa among power plant na mo receive sa commercial power gikan sa BOHECO…Medyo init-init pa g’yud kay genset pa man gud among gigamit. Wa pay commercial power sa pagkakaron. Among consumption sa fuel, limited. Unya ang procurement basig maapsan, basin nigka-ugma na hinuon di na ka operate,” said Ybañez.
According to Ybañez, a transformer at the BPIA exploded in January amid power rationing and fluctuation during the time in which Bohol was cut off from its power source in Leyte after Typhoon “Odette” toppled transmission facilities between the two provinces.
From January to mid-February Bohol depended on limited power supply from the Bohol Diesel Power Plant and Power Barge 104, leaving the province with unstable power connection for over a month.
“Paghuman na sa bagyong Odette. Mao na siya kadtong pagbalik kalit sa commercial [power] ni buto siya [transformer]. Dihay ni brownout unya pagbalik og siga, adtong panahon na diesel barge ang gigamit, hing buto,” he added.
Chong’s video complaint which was posted on Facebook on Saturday last week gained almost 20,000 reactions and over 50,000 views as of Monday afternoon.
The former solon lamented that an international airport such as the BPIA should have functioning air-conditioning units.
He described the situation at the BPIA which was only using electric fans as “embarrassing.”
“It’s an international airport and I address this to thadministration, ‘ang init po ng airport ninyo.’ Nakakahiya na international airport and electric fan ang nandoon. I don’t know kung gumagana yung aircon ninyo pero mainit po talaga,” he said.
According to Ybañez, they constantly issue announcements regarding the power situation at the facility through a PA (public address system).
He said that they were already awaiting the arrival of the replacement for the damaged “potential transformer,” adding that the bidding process has been completed.
“Ongoing pa ang procurement sa pisa nga nadaot na maoy mo dawat sa commercial power…pag-anhi nalang sa supplier [gihuwat] pero nag conduct na sila og virtual site inspection ,” said Ybañez.
The airport official also clarified that the power sourced by the facility from solar energy is “very minimal.”
“Maka hatag siya gamay pero dili siya kasaligan na mo supply og power,” said Ybañez.
During its inauguration, the BPIA was dubbed the country’s “first green international airport” for its sustainable structures, solar panels, motion sensor lighting, and other features.
In the same post, Chong also alleged that a guard at the BPIA was offered a bribe by a passenger allowing her to enter even with carry-on luggage that weighed beyond the allowable weight while they were about to board a Cebu Pacific flight.
“Sinita niya yung isang babae na nagmamakaawa kasi mahal ang bayad so nakita ko may nilabas na pera yung babae tig P100, tatlo yata yun. Inoffer sakanya, or something like that. Kasi malayo siya ng konti pero nakita ko yung pera nasa kamay niya at binigay niya doon gwardya na lalaki,” said Chong.
However, Chong did not indicate if he saw the guard take the alleged bribe money that was offered to him.
“Inalok siya [guard] ng pera tapos pinaalis na niya,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chong and three of his companions were required to only have one carry-on baggage despite the total weight of their luggage was below 28kg, or 7kg each, which was allotted for them by the airline.
“Twenty-five kilos lang kami lahat so we are within the limit. Pero ang ibig sabihin pala sabihin ng gwardya na ‘e-spread yung mga basang damit ninyo sa mga bagahe ninyo para magiging tig-iisa yang mga bagahe ninyo’,” said Chong.
For his part, Ybañez said the guard being referred to by Chong is under the supervision of the airline, not the BPIA under CAAP.
“Airline company to, dili to sa CAAP na gwardya,” said Ybañez.
He added that the airport police conducted a probe on the incident but has yet to come up with findings.
Ybañez also raised the possibility that Chong may have “misinterpreted” the situation, adding that the person allowed by the guard to enter may have paid fee for her excess baggage.
“Polisiya sa airline na og naa kay excess baggage adto pud ang payment,” said Ybañez. “Sa boarding gate timbangan og balik ang ilang bagahe. Basin na mis-interpret to niya.” (A. Doydora)