Ex-mayor finds fault with terminal design, says it ‘looks like a poultry’

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Monday, December 23, 2013

IT’S ugly and looks like a poultry farm, said former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, who urged officials behind the new terminal project in the Mactan airport to rethink the design.

“I think they should transfer that to Bantayan because it is where the poultry products are abundant,” said Osmeña, who also used to serve as congressman of Cebu City’s south district and before that, as chairman of the Regional Development Council.

He said that more Cebuanos should have been given a say on the design of the new passenger terminal of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), one of the public-private partnership ventures being pursued by the Aquino administration.

But something can still be done about the design, assured business leader Melanie Ng, one of the directors of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), representing the private sector.

She pointed out that after the awarding, the winning bidder, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and MCIAA will meet on the project.

It is the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center in Manila that has taken charge of the design, Ng also said.

At first, she was reluctant to talk about the project because MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete was the one designated to take questions about it. Villarete, however, was on official business in Cambodia.

Osmeña, in a faxed statement, said the project organizers should have considered the design better.

“The airport will be the first impression of a tourist visiting Cebu, so they should consider how the building looks like,” Osmeña said.

“They can post it on the Internet, it can reach a wide audience,” he suggested, as one way to get more feedback about the proposed terminal design.

The design of the international airport terminal, he said, should be comparable to that of other international airports, and authorities should do more than look for the lowest bidder.

“Cheapest is not always the best and there is no assurance that it will last,” he said.

Ng, for her part, explained that the winner of the public bidding conducted in Manila last Nov. 28 will be chosen based on the financial proposal they submitted, which DOTC opened last week.

The MCIAA Board, which recommended the project, is composed of the DOTC secretary or his alternate as chair, Villarete as vice chair, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, four directors representing the private sector including Ng and Engineer Pericles Dakay, and the representatives of the Department of Budget and Management and Department of Justice.

Davide could not be reached at press time.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 23, 2013.

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