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03/08/1999 - P60M fund from Sen. Osmeña for Panglao airport

Sen. John Osmeña is shifting  some P60 million from the Cebu South Reclaimation Project to the much delayed Panglao Airport. He issued the assurance for the funds to be released within the next three  months during a 15-minute huddle with Gov.  Rene Relampagos and Vice Gov. Edgar

Chatto at the city airport yesterday. Osmeña boarded the same King Air private plane which brought Presidential Assistant on Political Affairs Lito Banayo and Presidential Assistant for Visayas Marcel Fernan.

During an exclusive interview with the CHRONICLE at the airport, he said that the P60 million is part of the P932 million budget for the gigantic Reclaimation project in Cebu City which he scrapped out. He said that Cebuanos have been "all these years greedy" depriving their neigh- boring provinces of development funds. He said that Cebu City has enough, citing that some P20 billion have been poured on such major projects as the Mactan International Airport, two bridges at Mactan, a recalimation project, Metro Cebu Development Project I and II, and South Coastal Road, to mention a few.

The Cebuano Senator said that there should also be an end to this selffishness of the Cebuanos while he wants these funds shared with Bohol and Negros Oriental. Osmeña, who sits as the chairman of the powerful Senate finance committee, told the CHRONICLE during the same interview that he was vehement in his declaration to President Estrada in denouncing the greedi- ness of some Cebu officials who do not want to share the pie with their neighbors in Bohol and Negros Oriental.

The brief visit of Sen. Osmeña was made to officially confirm to Gov. Relampagos, who is the concurrent chairman of the Regional Development Council, regarding the funding intended for Panglao Airport.

Commenting on the senator’s commitment, Gov. Relampagos said that the fund will be used to acquire some 87 hectares for the 120-hectare Panglao Airport. He said that only 32 hectares were purchased during the time of Ex-Governor  David B. Tirol. Relampagos said that knowing the scarcity of funds from the usual sources of funding like the Department of Tourism, other sources have to be tapped. The assurance of the fund came as Bohol leaders almost gave up on the tourism estate project due to the government’s inability to provide the funding.

Samal Island Fails
Amidst reports that the funds originally intended for Panglao Estate were diverted to the Samal Tourism State development, a ranking Estrada official said that Panglao Island should have been given top priority over Samal. General Manager Lito Banayo of the Philippine Tourism Authority, who is also the presidential assistant on political affairs, said that it was "erroneous" for the government to pour funds for Samal Island instead of Panglao. Banayo issued this statement before Gov. Relampagos, Vice Gov. Chatto, and hotelier Anos Fonacier proceeded to the Bohol Beach Club yesterday. Banayo’s statement confirmed earlier reports that occupancy level at resorts in Samal Island is way below the projection. This is due to the economic debacle in Malaysia and Indonesia which could have been the market international flights passing though Davao Airport. A casino has been opened in the area but is almost a white elephant, according to reports.

Rescue PITE
The Panglao Island Tourism Estate should be rescued, according to Rep. Erico Aumentado who filed House Resolution No. 782 resquesting President Estrada to retain the project as part of the administration's flagship projects for implementation. Aumentado, together with Rep. Ernesto Herrera and Rep. Eladio Jala, are working to get the endorsement of House Speaker Manuel Villar as well as House tourism committee chair Rep. Sandy Ocampo (Manila). The Bohol solons are working double time to rescue the project.

- The Bohol Chronicle -
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