Don’t privatize MCIA: mayors

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Sunday, December 29, 2013


CONSOLACION Mayor Teresa Alegado yesterday said privatizing the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is a sign of weakness on the part of the government.

“Instead of allowing a private entity to operate and control a vital government facility, it is high time for us to prove we can expand the airport and manage it efficiently as it was done in the past,” Alegado said.

She said that the facility used to be a ragtag domestic airport but the government was able to elevate it into a world class international airport.

Records showed that when the airport was opened to direct international flights, it only had wooden domestic and international terminals.

In the mid-1990s, Mactan airport was modernized with the construction of new, huge and typhoon-proof domestic and international terminal buildings with billions of pesos in funding during the time of Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) secretary Jesus Garcia Jr.

Alegado said that before DOTC and Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) will turn it over to a private entity, they should take note that past privatization of government facilities resulted to the people’s inconvenience.

She cited the privatization of Petron Corp. as part of the deregulation of the downstream oil industry, which is sometimes blamed for rising fuel prices.

Increases

The privatization of National Power Corp. also resulted in power rate increases.

“The airport facility is already there. All we need is to expand. Why should we turn it over to a private entity which is profit-oriented? I am against airport privatization,” Alegado.

Talisay City Mayor Johhny Delos Reyes said he is against privatization of the airport because by doing so, MCIA will be changed from service-oriented to profit-oriented.

On the contrary, Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy favors privatizing Mactan airport to make it more efficient and secure.

Militant leaders such as Jaime Paglinawan of Bayan Bisayas, Ramie Inopiquez of Kadamay Sugbo, Aaron Pedrosa of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC-Cebu) and Annabelle dela Cerna of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) urged DOTC and MCIAA to conduct public consultations to get the sentiments of the Cebuanos on the matter.

Paglinawan said traveling through the airport is not only for the rich people but also for the poor as it is a necessity rather than luxury, citing Overseas Filipino workers and poor families who are in emergency situations.

Dela Cerna said that privatization will lead to high cost of services.

Government opened two weeks ago the financial proposals of seven private sector groups bidding for the P17.52-billion airport upgrading project.

The winning bidder will have to expand the current terminal, build a new one and operate both for at least 20 years. Government will operate the airside functions and retain ownership of the airport.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 30, 2013.

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