Panglao airport’s agonizing wait is over?

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Panglao airport’s agonizing wait is over?

Topic |  

IT WILL HAVE TO TAKE  assurances out of the horse’s mouth, so to speak, to assure Boholanos that the long, agonizing wait for the full “privatization” of the Panglao international airport will soon be over.

After all, we already thinned out our patience and waited for decades from the time the first governor post-Martial Law the late Nonoy Torralba first spoke of the sparkling benefits of having an international airport in a tourist gem like Bohol. He knew whereof he spoke as Nonoy was the former Department of Transport secretary of the fledgling Cory Aquino era.

Then let us talk of the dramatic burial of a time capsule in Panglao by no less than the then-president of the republic Gloria M. Arroyo beside the beaming-with-pride joy of the late governor Rico Aumentado.

So, Boholanos do not lack patience for the real Mckoys to appear in our midst. So, what’s a little bit more time and the full realization of every Boholano’s dream finally coming true? A true-blue international airport that does what it says. That it is what is advertised- nothing less.


The horse’s mouth is from no less than the soft-spoken and amiable Aboitiz family “man on the airport jobs”- Mr. Raffy- who was oozing with confidence that their corporation will take over a fuzzy government job of running airports. But like a wily businessman, Raffy will not give a definite timetable- fortunes as elusive as they come, many things are never under man’s control.

But Raffy Aboitiz is savvy enough to know- when a deal can be done- as he is also in charge of the other international airports with which Aboitiz has a management contract other than Panglao, When pressed for a definite time, he dodged a bullet and suavely answered “pretty soon” – and it was a pretty enough answer for one so authorized by the powers that be of the Aboitiz empire.

From the words and demeanor of the Aboitiz’ “airport man”- taking over is definitely a “green light” for them and we know what yellow and red colors mean.

Let’s face it, the present operators- – CAAP- Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines – is only in a holding capacity- and temporary responsibility, therefore. Being such, we do not expect them to bend backward and make an authentic business proposition out of the fledgling airport. It does not have a long-term stake in the business.

What do “real deal” operators do?  They put up food and goods concessionaires and other services that make travel pleasant and lovely for passengers- after all, they have to make a reasonable ROI ( return on investment) on their sweat and expertise.

And the airport as a landing and departing platform must also make its fees. The more flights, the better for the manager. Without this incentive, government-owned managers would not be as enthused as private entrepreneurs would be to churn out as many flight turnarounds as possible. That’s only done by traditional, normal capitalists.


Right now, understandably the airport is underutilized – with only two international airlines doing business from one single country (Korea)- Jeju and Royal Airlines. China with its millions of tourists should be a necessary, low-lying fruit of a target. And it’s just 600 miles away from the Philippine shores.


Panglao airport needs to level up to the standards of what an international airport should be. Carousels are fine but we need full electricity, perennially functioning elevators and escalators as well. And my goodness, the comfort rooms must be well-lit and clean at all times. That’s the reason they are called “comfort rooms”.

The airport facilities have the capacity to receive and send off evening flights – so more’s the loss. Every Bohlano dreams to see flights take off in succession- one after the other- as we see in other international airports. But mayors and everyone should do their share in encouraging all types of reunion in the province to rev up the traffic.

Now that a potential game-changer is coming to town- let us all strive to be part and beneficiary of the blessings that come from such. We can hardly wait to see the day – and the night. Of frenetic airport activity.



THE FEELING WOULD BE AWKWARD- to say the least. Why?


Because people will celebrate the EDSA Revolution as the “fall of a dictator”( since 1972) in 1986 under the aegis now of his only son (Ferdinand Junior), the first president to be elected by a majority vote post-EDSA.

Junior got 31 million votes to the Opposition’s  (VP) Leni Robredo’s 15 million, Marcos snaring 56% majority of the total votes cast. Of course, there are still allegations of electoral fraud (how 20 million was posted for BBM on the first hour after the precincts closed), allegations of vote buying, and the relentless social media attack of rewriting history to depict the name of the Marcoses as hallowed and patriotic.

But there are facts and there are facts. After EDSA – what?

The nation turned to democracy from one-man rule. Congress, the Judiciary and Media, crucial institutions in a free country – were all restored. We have given back national elections to the people.

In 1986, no nation or financial institution would lend RP a single dollar due to distrust and plunder issues. Today, our international reserves are over $100-B and our debt/GDP ratio is at borderline 60%. Not bad.

In 1986, 50% of Filipinos lived under the poverty line. Before the pandemic struck, only 21% lived under that dreadful line of want and destitution. True, we are no longer No. 2 in Asia for national wealth as it was during the pre-war years. But we are considered one of the “happiest” people in the world.

Junior has gamely declared February 24, EDSA Day, as a non-working holiday, a day before the actual date of February 25. He has reached out his hand in reconciliation to foes and doubters alike. But they say that reconciliation is fine but where are the “ill-gotten wealth” and the so-called unpaid billions in taxes?

Junior is careful in acting as president. The 15 million Leni supporters are still a strong, united front ever watchful over excesses of the presidency and cohorts. The Military, well-fed and all, are still largely pro-Constitution and will stand by it and disobey unlawful orders.

The country is being courted to join an axis joining the USA, Japan, Korea and Australia ostensibly to contain the aggression of China. That’s respect. We are also an honorable member of the IMF, WHO and the United Nations. Not by any chance an international pariah.

We have come a long way from EDSA 1986 and have many blessings to be thankful for, But our “nation-building” is certainly -currently- a “work in progress” needing the strength and hope of all.

EDSA  was worth fighting for – and living for.

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