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By: Vanessa L. Almeda | Published Wednesday, October 02, 2019
Gov. Gwen Garcia, former 4th district representative and now Capitol consultant Benhur Salimbangon and MCIAA General Manager Steve Dicdican inspect the Sta. Fe airport.

“THINGS are looking very, very bright for Bantayan Island.”

So said Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia as the province enters into an agreement with the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) for the development of Bantayan island’s community airport into a commercial one.

Garcia and MCIAA thru its general manager, Atty. Steve Dicdican signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Monday, September 30, for the termination of a previous agreement signed on Nov. 27, 2018 and to make way for the development of a commercial airport that is located in the town of Sta. Fe.

Presently, the Sta. Fe airport, which sits on a 29-hectare government property, can only accommodate aviation and propeller planes and chartered flights.

Under the agreement, MCIAA will continue to improve the airport including its P94 million expansion of the runway and the ongoing improvement of its terminal.

From a 900-meter runway, it will be increased to 1.2 kilometer to accommodate bigger planes.

“From a community airport we are looking forward to growing this into a commercial airport,” Garcia told members of the local press during her 2-day visit in the island.

Garcia is optimistic that Bantayan’s economic growth will increase with the new development.

“If you build it, they will come. Naa naman gyud ang terminal ug hapit na sad mahuman puhon ang pagsemento sa runway so things are looking very, very bright for Bantayan Island.”

Currently, MCIAA is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the existing terminal building and construction of the perimeter fence. Under the terms of the MOA, MCIAA will finance the administration, security, operations and overall management of the community airport.

The provincial government will, on one hand, fund the commercial development of the airport.

Further, another agreement will be crafted that will carry terms that are mutually beneficial and acceptable to the parties.

Dicdican said this will include a net profit-sharing agreement that it still to be finalized by both parties and shall take effect once the airport “becomes operational as a commercial airport.”

Dicdican said this is actually just a start.

“We wanted to create it with an iconic fashion to drive interest from the residents because it’s a community airport. For now, we come up with temporary arrangement so operations will not cease,” Dicdican said.

For a commercial airport, it will need the widening of the runway and redoing the terminal so it could sustain the level similar to Boracay.

During the ocular visit to the airport, Garcia took pride with the newly refurbished and fully air-conditioned terminal.

“You see kadaghan sa atong mahimo kung magtinabangay ta,” Garcia said. (Vanessa Almeda)