Wishful thinking

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Sunday, April 6, 2014


THE verdict is in. Or is it “out”?

Either way, the GMR-Megawide consortium has bagged the Mactan airport development and management contract. Or so said two highly placed sources, who asked not to be named.

Michael Cosiquien, chairman and CEO of Megawide Construction Corp., was more forthcoming, though. “We are delighted to be awarded the MCIA project. We firmly believe that the GMR-Megawide consortium has the right credentials and capabilities to undertake this prestigious project and deliver a world-class airport that Cebuanos and Filipinos will be proud of,” Cosiquien said in a press statement.

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That was last Friday night. Yesterday, the airport’s manager, Engr. Nigel Paul Villarete, finally confirmed it, even though he could not be reached
when Sun.Star Cebu tried to call him for confirmation last Friday night.
So does this mean Cebu and the Cebuanos will finally have a decent airport? (I’m not even asking for world-class since I know that’s asking too much.) Granting the Filinvest-Changi consortium will abide by the waiver it signed that it will not file a suit questioning who gets picked then the answer is, yes.

In two or three years, Cebu should have a renovated terminal and a brand new terminal to boot.

But a group of concerned Cebuanos had been placing one-page ads in the three local dailies questioning the credibility of GMR-Megawide. “Can GMR be trusted” or “will we allow GMR to make a mockery of our country’s bidding rules,” the group asked. It also said “Cebuanos should not carry the burden of an inferior airport for the next 25 years.”

The group’s members must be really concerned to shell out, for Sun.
Star Cebu alone, between P30,000 and P60,000 for each ad, depending on what page it came out or if the ad was colored.

To defend itself, GMR-Megawide had also placed one-page ads in the three local dailies. “Should we let vested interests stop Cebu’s progress,” it, too, asked.

So many questions, really, but hardly any answers. It seems both parties are correct. How can that be?

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, perhaps in a last-ditch effort, asked the Supreme
Court last Thursday to stop the Department of Transportation and Communication and the MCIAA from awarding the project to GMR-Megawide.
The senator certainly seemed very concerned. And he is a Cebuano,by virtue that his brother is Tomas Osmeña, former mayor of Cebu City and former Cebu City south district representative (although I’m wondering when was the last time the senator stepped foot on Cebu soil). Ergo, the senator must belong to the group of concerned Cebuanos.

Personally, I wished they would have picked the Filinvest-Changi consortium.

Anyone who has been to Singapore can attest to how friendly Changi airport is to its passengers, whether they’re flying in, flying out or just stopping over. In a pre-Fullybooked Cebu, Changi was the bibliophile’s wet dream. It’s a food lover’s paradise. It’s a shopper’s paradise. Terminal 3 even has a butterfly garden. That’s paradise for the butterflies. How cool is that?

Did you know Changi offers movies of different genres at Terminal 3 or the latest movie screenings on the Fox Movies Premium Channel at Terminal 2 free of charge and 24 hours a day? I didn’t, but that’s what changiairport.com says. And I believe it.

The last time I was there, a friend brought me to a “secret” place in the airport, where the majority of Changi’s 28,000 employees eat. Hundreds of stalls offering Indian food, Chinese, Malay, Thai, you name it, at a much cheaper price.

Maybe all these will have rubbed off on a Filinvest-Changi-managed Mactan airport. I guess now we’ll never know.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 06, 2014.

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