CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia will be leading the inspection of the new commercial airport in Santa Fe town in Bantayan Island this October 16.
A report by Sugbo News, the Capitol-ran media outlet, said that Garcia will be joining other government officials in Cebu during the inspect of the Bantayan Island Airport that is expected to start operations before 2020 ends.
It was first announced that the airport’s inauguration was already set on Oct. 16. However, on Saturday, Oct. 10, the Capitol said that the inauguration plans will not push through because of the need to complete some unfinished works. This will be rescheduled on a still undermined date.
Instead, Garcia will lead an Oct. 16 ocular inspection of the project site, which sits on a 29-hectare government property, on the same date.
Before it was upgraded to accommodate commercial flights, Bantayan Island Airport only catered to propeller planes and chartered flights.
In 2019, the Capitol and the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to improve the airport’s infrastructure and facilities.
Under the MOA, its 900-meter runway was to be expanded to 1.2 kilometers in order to accommodate bigger planes while and its terminal was to be upgraded.
During her Sta. Fe visit from Oct. 16 to 17, Garcia is also expected to meet with Bantayan Island’s tourism stakeholders to discuss preparations for the reopening of the island’s tourism activities.
Bantayan Island is located approximately 140 kilometers northwest of Cebu City. It is composed of three municipalities namely Santa Fe, Bantayan, and Madridejos. The island is one of the top tourism destinations in Cebu because of its pristine white-sand beaches.
Shalimar Tamano, director of Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT -7), was quoted in the same report saying that their agency will be joining the Capitol in a series of meetings with tourism stakeholders. They will also be launching a mobile accreditation program called ‘Oplan Islas’ soon.
Oplan Islas was a joint initiative of DOT, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) in an effort to revive the operation of water tourist transport operators, boatmen, and dive operators in the region.
“We are really opening not mainly for leisure but really for employment. Most of our stakeholders should get back their jobs slowly but surely, so that’s our direction,” said Tamano. / dcb