“Build first before demolishing.”
This is Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III’s appeal to the contractor tasked to replicate the facilities of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in another area of the Benito Ebuen Air Base.
“I am sure the PAF would also want that,” he told reporters after a closed-door meeting with the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) Board yesterday.
Davide said that there is a need to prod the contractor to construct the replicated structures first before demolishing the existing ones.
Last January 12, MCIAA directed Pamatong Grandby Joint Venture to mobilize its equipment within this month.
The replication project involves the construction of PAF facilities in another part of the base to pave the way for the new MCIA terminal.
PAF facilities to be constructed include a military hospital and offices.
PAF used to own more than 250 hectares of land within the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base.
But when the MCIAA Charter was passed during the administration of then President Fidel V. Ramos, more than 100 hectares were transferred to the MCIAA.
In early 2000, MCIAA allocated P60 million to relocate PAF facilities but the project did not materialize.
Davide said that if the contractor does not dillydally, then the replication project will be completed before the target deadline.
MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete said that instead of 10 months as stipulated in the contract, they are aiming to complete the project within six to eight months.
“We are looking at six months that we can complete the replication, contract is 10 months but we can do it phase-by-phase,” he told reporters in a separate interview after the meeting.
According to Villarete, 17 structures are set to be demolished. There are those more important and crucial than others, he said.
As an interim solution, MCIAA has asked the PAF to use the airport’s Most Important Person (MIP) building as a temporary terminal.
However, PAF officials have not yet given an answer.
He did, however, reveal that he will have a meeting with PAF officials at the Villamor Air Base on Tuesday. Villarete said he hopes they will reach an agreement by Thursday next week.
The airport official said that PAF officials have been cooperative in negotiations in the past.
He said that they want to give them a new facility without sacrificing safety and security.
“They are our defense. You don’t just go to them and tell them, ‘hey, move.’ National security is an integral part of our way of doing things. We can’t just send them away,” said Villarete.
The replication project was estimated to cost P800 million but the contractor submitted a bid of P670 million and won.
The MCIAA, which issued a notice of award to Pamatong Grandby last Dec. 29, will shoulder the cost of the project.