GMA visits NAIA 3

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visited the controversial Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 on Thursday, 24 July 2008. (Photograph: Allan Martin Tamayo/PCPO HO-NPPA)

After 6-year wait, Arroyo says NAIA 3 opening shows resolve
Agence France-Presse

President Arroyo said Thursday the opening of a Manila’s new airport terminal after a six-year delay showed the country’s resolve to overcome problems that have deterred investment and slowed economic growth.

The 600 million dollar Terminal 3 opened to limited traffic Tuesday.

Built by a consortium of Philippine and Japanese investors and Germany’s Fraport AG, the facility has been at the centre of bitter legal wrangling since it was completed in 2003.

“This airport is the gateway to our country from the rest of the world. It is our showcase for tourism and economic progress,” a beaming Arroyo told aviation industry officials as she toured the 28-gate building.

“Today’s commercial opening is a result of our resolve and determination to move this nation forward,” she added.

Foreign investors had cited the terminal as a prime example of the infrastructural problems and other constraints to doing business in the Philippines.

Arroyo was joined on the visit by Lucio Tan and Lance Gokongwei, who between them control the country’s three largest carriers Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines.

The building has 140 check-in counters and 188 immigration counters and was designed to handle some 13 million passengers a year.

On completion the terminal was expropriated by the government, which claimed certain provisions in the contract were onerous and that the modern building was sub-standard.

Fraport sued the government for its 425 million-dollar investment, but the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes dismissed the claim, saying it had no jurisdiction.

From limited traffic of five Cebu Pacific domestic flights on Tuesday, the terminal operations will be ramped up to include 28 Cebu Pacific international flights per day by mid-August, said Arroyo aide Michael Defensor.

The terminal would be “fully operational” by February, Defensor added.

Philippine Airlines and sister carrier Air Philippines use another terminal at the airport, while foreign carriers now use a 30-year-old international terminal.

Manila airport now serves 500 flights a day and the Philippines recorded 23 million passengers last year, airport authorities said.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is warmly greeted by Cebu Pacific employees during her visit to the official opening of the NAIA Terminal 3 on Thursday, 24 July 2008. (Photograph: Allan Martin Tamayo/PCPO HO-NPPA)


Philippine Vice President Noli “Kabayan” De Castro yesterday paid tribute to the people of Bohol during the celebration of the province’s 154th Foundation Day at the Bohol Cultural Center in Tagbilaran City. De Castro was the Guest of Honor and Speaker during the province’s commemorative program with the theme, “Panag-dait ug Panag-hiusa sa Mausawagong Bohol” (Working Together for a United and Prosperous Bohol).

Philippine Vice President Noli De Castro carries a big fish being sold at the Dao Public Market in Tagbilaran City, Bohol while Market Supervisor Jose Evardo (wearing orange polo shirt), briefs him on the trend of prices as well as sources of commodities in the city. The market visit was conducted by De Castro on 22 July 2008 in line with his role as Price Monitoring Czar. (Photograph: Edgar Montana/OVP Photo HO-NPPA)

During his message recently (July 22), De Castro congratulated the people of Bohol, led by Governor Erico Aumentado, for putting the Philippines in the world map. He also cited the governance legacies of its native sons and former leaders of the country, like Datu Sikatuna and former President Carlos P. Garcia, who upheld the values of austerity and nationalism through the Filipino First policy.

“In the 154 years of Bohol’s existence, it has contributed much to the country by giving us a rich source of historical pride and world class tourist destinations,” VP Noli said, noting that the Chocolate Hills may soon become one of the wonders of the world.

During the program, De Castro witnessed the conferment of Datu Sikatuna awards to Dr. Lucio Tan, Mr. Lance Gokongwei, Ms. Beatriz Zobel de Ayala and Atty. Oscar Sevilla, distinguished people from different fields who have contributed to the development of the Bohol province.

In his visit to Bohol, De Castro also awarded checks from the Pag-IBIG Fund for the development of three housing projects in the province. These low-cost housing projects – the Bethany Village in Tiptip, Tagbilaran City, GMG Homes Subdivision in Guindulman, and Claraville Subdivision in Ubay – are intended for employees of the local government, teachers and policemen as well as overseas and private employees of the said municipalities and neighboring towns.

Earlier, VP Noli inspected prices of basic commodities at the Dao Public Market as well as in the nearby supermarket of Island City Mall (ICM) in Tagbilaran City.

Finally, in line with the celebration of the Bohol Foundation Day, the Vice President had the first view of the Regional Trade Fair organized by the Department of Trade and Industry under the One Town, One Product or OTOP program. The Fair, which runs from July 23 until July 27 at the ICM, showcases different products of Bohol and other towns and provinces in Central Visayas.

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