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Gov to inspect Bantayan Island airport  
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Bantayan Island’s commercial airport will be opened soon. (Photo: Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority)

Tourists can soon easily visit Cebu’s famous Bantayan Island as its commercial airport is set to open soon.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia will lead the ocular inspection of the island airport located in Santa Fe town on October 16-17. She also invited Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 Director Shahlimar Hofer Tamano to check on the commercial airport, a milestone both for Bantayan Island and the Province of Cebu.

The governor will also meet the tourism stakeholders in the island to prepare for the reopening of its tourism activities.

In a meeting Monday, October 5, Tamano thanked the governor for the invitation and shared the collaboration the Capitol, DOT, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have done in re-opening the tourism activities in Badian, Alegria, Moalboal, and Cordova towns.

“We will be in Bantayan next week. There will be a dialogue between the (provincial tourism) task force and our stakeholders in the three towns (Santa Fe, Bantayan, and Madridejos),” he said.

DOT 7 will also carry out its “Oplan Islas,” a mobile accreditation program partnership between the DOT 7, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) that provides a one-stop shop for the registration and accreditation of water tourist transport operators, boat men and dive operators.

“Here in the region, we make sure that all tourist transports are accredited, including kanang sa island hopping, dili ni parehas sa mass transport ha? Para ni siya sa island hopping, these should be accredited,” Tamano added.

“We are really opening not mainly for leisure but really for employment. Most of our stakeholders should get back their jobs slowly but surely, so mao na atong direction,” the tourism chief further said.

Garcia also praised DOT’s “Wake Up in PH” campaign video and travel safety advisories. 

The “Wake Up in the PH” videos are 16 films that highlight the best tourism spots all over the country. This far-reaching campaign attempts to showcase all the fun one can experience in the Philippines in all of its 16 regions.

Last September 30, the Cebu Provincial Government through Governor Garcia and Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) through its General Manager Atty. Steve Dicdican signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the termination of a previous agreement signed in 2018. The new MOA paves the way for the development of a commercial airport located in Santa Fe.

“Things are looking very, very bright for Bantayan Island,” so said Gov. Garcia during the MOA signing for the development of Bantayan Island’s community airport into a commercial one.

The community airport sits on a 29-hectare government property and can only accommodate aviation and propeller planes and chartered flights then.

Under the new MOA, MCIAA will continue to improve the airport including its P94-million expansion of the runway and improvement of its terminal.

From a 900-meter runway, it is increased to 1.2 kilometers to accommodate bigger planes.

“From a community airport, we are looking forward to growing this into a commercial airport,” Garcia told members of the local press during her two-day visit to the island last year. 

During the first visit to the airport, Garcia took pride in the newly refurbished and fully air-conditioned terminal. (Eleanor Valeros)