Capitol to buy lots to expand airport

Cebu Capitol
Cebu CapitolPhoto by Yans Baroy

TO REALIZE the extension of the Bantayan Island Airport’s runway, the Cebu Provincial Government has formally asked owners of lots near the airport in Barangay Okoy, Santa Fe town to sell their properties to give way to the project.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia met the 63 lot owners involved on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, and offered to have the Provincial Government buy their properties, which cover a combined 22.5 hectares of land in Barangays Balidbid and Okoy situated north of the airport.

The airport, operated by the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), is located on a lot owned by the Cebu Provincial Government.

During the Wednesday meeting streamed live on the Cebu Provincial Government’s Public Information Office (PIO) Facebook page, Garcia said she had met with representatives of Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines, who told the governor that their air assets can land on runways that are at least 1.5 kilometers long.

The current length of the runway is 1.2 kilometers.

For now, the Bantayan airport caters only to chartered flights.

The Provincial Government plans to extend the runway by purchasing the identified lots to increase its length to three kilometers and width to 150 meters.

It will be the Provincial Government that will fund the construction of the runway extension, Garcia said.

Garcia emphasized the importance of accessible tourism, including the need for a larger airport to accommodate bigger planes on the island.

Other future developments on the local airport are the construction of a fire truck terminal inside the facility, the expansion of terminal capacity from about 40 to 100 passengers, and the construction and installation of a fuel depot, among others.

Traveling via air to the island is better than traveling by land as it cuts down to about half an hour the usual trip that involves a four- to five-hour drive from Cebu City to Hagnaya Port in San Remigio town on the Cebu mainland and then the one-hour ferry ride to the Santa Fe Port on Bantayan Island, Garcia said.

She added that she envisioned transforming the island into a premier tourist destination featuring the beautiful white sand beaches that would attract tourists and bring economic development to the island.

Garcia said if completed the Bantayan airport could accommodate bigger planes that would entice the prominent airlines to offer regular flights to the island from Manila and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

The governor added that the easier it is for tourists to access the island, the more they will visit. According to the Capitol, the island attracts 6,000 tourists on weekends and over 3,000 tourists on weekdays.

Present during the consultative meeting were Provincial Board Member Minuel Carmela Franco (4th district), Santa Fe Mayor Ithamar Espinosa, Madridejos Mayor Romeo Villaceran and Santa Fe Municipal Assessor Rolando Fariolen.

Selling price

When one of the lot owners asked about the appraisal and selling price, Garcia said it would be the Cebu Provincial Appraisal Committee (CPAC) that would determine the lot price per square meter (sqm).

According to CPAC chairperson and Provincial Board Member Franco, the lot appraisal would be based on the comparable prices and opinions from the appraisal team from banks, real estate brokers, and zonal values from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to determine the selling price of the lots.

The selling price of the identified lot will also be contingent upon the land classification based on tax declaration whether it falls under residential or agricultural lot, among others.

“Wala pa mi presyo karon kay first step pa ni. Pagpasabot lang ninyo nga paliton sa gobyerno ang inyong yuta,” Garcia said.

(We don’t have a price now because this is just the first step. This is just to let you understand that the government will buy your land.)

She also stressed that the selling price will be based on the zonal valuation of the BIR, to avoid any discrepancies once the transaction is audited by the Commission on Audit (COA).

Once the selling price is determined, however, if the Provincial Government and the lot owner do not agree on it, then the expropriation process will be used.

Garcia said she does not want to proceed with the expropriation process, in which the Provincial Government will file a case of expropriation under the principle that the project is for public purposes and make a deposit of 15 percent of the determined selling price to the court to take immediate possession of the property.

It will be up to the court to determine whether the expropriation case is for public purposes.

Upon preliminary survey, the majority of the lots that were identified were considered “idle” lots in which there was no existing development, Garcia said.

She reminded owners of “idle” lots to embark on developments on their properties as there is a proposed ordinance from the Provincial Board that undeveloped or unimproved lots will be subject to an additional “ad valorem” tax of

five percent.

“Nanghinaot ko nga dili ta magka-away-away ani. Magsinabtanay ta aron dili na ta mag-abot og korte,” Garcia said.

(I hope we do not fight over this. Let us come to an agreement so that we do not have to go to court.)


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