TAGBILARAN CITY. – Since the construction of a new airport in Panglao town was floated during the time of then Gov. Constancio “Nonoy” Torralba as part of the so-called Panglao Island Tourism Estate (PITE), there were oppositions against the project. Just as the construction is all set in March next year, the same opposition looms has been revived against it.
Since Torralba’s time as governor, the source of funds for the project was the primary reason for its implementation. In the meantime, former Gov. Torralba has to defend the construction of a new airport in Panglao against the opposition against the project.
Among the top reasons advance by those opposed against it was that the construction of a new airport should not be done in Panglao town where out world-class beaches are located.
The white resorts in Panglao has placed Bohol as part of the tourist destination of the world and to construction a new airport would be tantamount to destroying the tourism industry in the province.
Then came the administration of Gov. David Tirol. The efforts to secure funds for the airport construction started with the Japan Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF). The effort to secure funds was followed up during the time of then Gov. Rene L. Relampagos.
But it was through the efforts of the late Erico B. Aumentado, as second district congressman, that pave the way for the source of funds for an international airport in Panglao. Until such time that Aumentado succeeded as governor of the province.
As the funds were okayed, the bidding for the construction of the new airport started at the third and final term of Aumentado as governor. Unfortunately, the bidding did not materialize as it was already the election time.
Finally, during the second term of Gov. Edgar Chatto, the new airport has been included as among the top priorities of Pres. Benigno Aquino III. However, it is no longer an international airport. It is now called as a new Bohol airport. Its funding source is already the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
In fact, JICA already announced last week that the winning bidder , which is a Japanese construction firm, will be awarded with the project soon. This means that the project can be implemented in March next year.
But again, the opposition against the project has resuscitated. Reports said the grounds cited by the oppositors against the project are the same reasons raised during the time of then Gov. Nonoy Torrralba.
But this time, the oppositors had already an alternative. Instead of constructing a news airport in Panglao, a new convention center must be built in order to expand the operations of the resorts and hotels in the area and thus further improved the tourism industry in the province.
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