[OPINION] Completion of projects start

December 4, 2018 at 11:50

Completion of projects start

DEMAND AND SUPPLYBoo Chanco (The Philippine Star) – December 3, 2018 – 12:00am


Congratulations to DOTr for completing the much delayed construction of the Bohol Panglao International airport. Would you believe that the project took all of 18 years, starting with its first feasibility study in 2000?

When Art Tugade inherited it, there wasn’t much by way of physical accomplishment. Originally targeted for completion in 2021, construction began in June 2015, but the process accumulated up to 48 percent slippage due to delays.

To the credit of Secretary Tugade, he placed BPIA’s construction under 24/7 operations to ensure the airport is completed ahead of schedule. Puede naman pala!

The old Tagbilaran Airport is too small with no room for expansion, an embarrassment as well as unsafe.

The new airport has a 2500 m runway and a passenger terminal capable of handling two million people annually, compatible with international safety standards. Japan provided the Philippines with an ODA loan amounting to 15 billion yen (P7 billion to implement the project.

The new airport has the benefit of Japanese design, experience and technology. They call it an “eco airport” because it is equipped with sustainable features such as a solar power generation system, highly-efficient light and air-condition system, as well as the turbid water treatment system.

The Japanese government expressed its confidence that the new airport “will improve the convenience and safety of air transportation and consequently contribute to the sustainable economic development of the region as well as the whole country.”

But why did an ODA-funded project take 18 years to realize? I am sure the problem is not with JICA because those guys are pretty quick with their studies and funding. Several presidents from Erap to GMA, to P-Noy simply failed to deliver.

I had been nagging Sec. Tugade to get going with the left over projects. I imagine he couldn’t give me categorical answers about completion dates because he was unsure of the response down the line.

Now that the Bohol Panglao Airport is done, I hope Sec. Tugade will focus his attention on another important airport in another tourism hot spot for the country. Rep. Joey Salceda sounded exasperated in his Facebook post last week:

 “If there is one airport project that remains problematic, it is the long overdue Daraga International Airport in Albay.

“Started in 2005, the on-and-off construction of the airport continues to be carried in the annual budget, but remains unfinished up to now.

“The airport’s fate has been the beef of Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda who was then the chairman of the House appropriations committee that provided for its funding under the government’s national budget in 2005 before he graduated from Congress on his third and last term.

“Salceda later won and served for three consecutive terms as Albay governor, but the Daraga airport is nowhere near completion. Nine years after and Salceda is back in Congress and running for his second term in his district, the P4.8 billion Daraga airport project is still in limbo.”

Rep. Joey had been saying that they can attract a lot more tourists to admire the Mayon Volcano and Bicol’s other attractions, but the existing airport has serious limitations.

So… how about it, Sec. Art… can you do your Panglao magic on the Daraga airport?

Speaking of airports, if Sec. Art didn’t unbundle the already NEDA-approved PPP modernization of airports in the Visayas and Mindanao two years ago, he would be inaugurating a string of airports by now. Politics intervened and Sec. Art was no match to the former speaker who was acting as if he was still head of the transport department.

Aside from politics, I also appreciate the difficulty of getting projects done fast with our rules and the bureaucracy’s technical deficiency. In the case of LRT 2 extension of four kilometers with no ROW problem, the delay was caused by the wrong decisions of former DOTC sec. Jun Abaya.

Jun left the project with the major superstructure delivered, but no rails, no stations, no electrical and communication facilities. That’s because Jun chop-chopped the contracts instead of bidding it out as one whole project.

Over a year into Tugade’s watch, I received this text message from a concerned observer: “About LRT 2 extention to Masinag. 1) Two stations should be done by  yearend. 2) The rails / electro mechanical had two failed bid. 3) Government budget is half of bid. 4) Bidders had meeting with dotr after the first failed bid to adjust government budget, but no action and used same old budget except increase construction time from 16 to 20 months  5) dotr negotiating with Marubeni to reduce scope to meet present budget.”

A few months later, good news from DOTr: “Despite misgivings in its earlier project structuring and procurement, DOTr’s efforts has now led to the successful award of all of LRT-2 East Extension’s contract packages, and the project is now on track to completion in 1Q2020.”

It is time to extend this rail service all the way to cogeo to benefit government employees and students on tight budgets.

It is good to know Sec. Art is clearing the backlog of uncompleted projects. Now he has to deliver projects he started in his watch. I am thinking of all the rail projects whose construction must be ongoing early next year. And the common station.

Then there is the NAIA… when my son left for Singapore last Wednesday afternoon, the line of passengers trying to enter T3 was so long it took over 20 minutes to get to the check-in counter. For someone catching a flight, that is an eternity.

Do we really need that security inspection just to enter the terminal? I don’t see that in other foreign airports. If we need it, let us open more doors… have more x-ray machines.

And yes, award the unsolicited bids for NAIA modernization and the Bulacan airport. These are big ticket projects that really matter.

Source: https://www.philstar.com/business/2018/12/03/1873590/completion-projects-start?fbclid=IwAR0OycLuMBcJY5FHCvb5TjMCPLsfve0a2iN_iPniyoChQzoYmdS27kUIJ28

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