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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

2nd runway project a ‘go’

THE Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) passed a resolution approving the proposal to start the construction of a second runway.

This, after Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City, North) suggested to the MCIAA that the construction of the second runway be funded using P4.9- billion sourced from the P14.4 billion premium given by the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) when it won the bid to develop and manage the MCIA terminal.

But even though the MCIAA now has funds for the second runway, a board member said there are other issues that need to be addressed before they could start construction, such as acquiring new properties for the runway.

In a statement, Del Mar said he has been lobbying for the use of GMCAC’s premium by having it retained for MCIAA.

The National Government, earlier, claimed that the P14.4 billion paid by GMCAC just before they started developing the MCIA terminal belongs to the treasury.

Eventually, the amount was awarded to MCIAA after the Department of Transportation and Communication, now the Department of Transportation; and the DOF finally agreed in November 2015 that the premium payment shall become part of the airport’s income.

But existing laws required MCIAA to deduct GMCAC’s premium to pay income taxes of P4.2 billion to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and dividends to the national treasury worth P4.9 billion.

Aside from the P4.9 billion, the MCIAA will use P2 billion of its retained earnings to help fund the construction of the second runway.

But in a separate interview, MCIAA board member Julius Neri Jr. said that while they now have the funds, further study is needed before they could start construction of the new runway.

Neri, who sits on the MCIAA Board as a representative of the private sector, said the airport needs to acquire properties adjacent to the first runway to make way for the second one.

Neri disclosed that the airport needs 80 to 100 hectares of land for the first and second runways at MCIA.

“We can build the second runway without buying more land, but we can’t space both runways far enough from each other to be used simultaneously. To be able to build a second runway that we can use simultaneously with the first one, we need to buy 80-100 more hectares of land. There are regulations on how far runways must be from each other so they can be used simultaneously,” he said.

MCIAA also needs to conduct a feasibility study to determine what needs to be addressed before the second runway is constructed, Neri said.

Neri added that hopefully, results of a planned feasibility study on the proposal will be presented before the end of the year.

Neri is also the president of SunStar Publishing Inc. and general manager of SunStar Cebu.

Del Mar, in an interview with SunStar Cebu, said that he is now coordinating with the MCIAA board to conduct a feasibility study on the proposed second runway.

He explained that the study has to be expedited so that the board can proceed with the bidding process for the project sooner.

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