Capitol, GMCAC to develop San Francisco airport together

INITIAL plans to develop the airport in San Francisco town into a community airport are seen to open tourism opportunities for Camotes Islands.

Officials of the Provincial Government led by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia conducted an ocular inspection at the airport on Monday morning, Nov. 25, 2019.

With Capitol officials were GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) president Louie Ferrer, Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) general manager Steve Dicdican, Rep. Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco (Cebu, 5th district) and San Francisco Mayor Al Arquillano.

The site inspection was seen as the beginning of a partnership between GMCAC, MCIAA and the Province.

Earlier, Garcia said the GMCAC might partner with the Capitol in developing the airports in the islands of Bantayan and Camotes.

“Based on this, we can see that there are a lot of opportunities for Camotes. We can expand the existing airstrip, and in the future, we can also open two runways. But we still have to look at the tourism opportunities and other developments in Camotes,” Ferrer said.

Dicdican, who was in Camotes for the first time, said they are looking into the same direction as the developments for the Bantayan Airport.

On Sept. 30, 2019, Garcia signed a memorandum of agreement with Dicdican at the Bantayan Municipal Hall for the development of the island’s airport.

Although the long-term plan for the facility is to turn it into a commercial airport, the Capitol and the MCIAA had agreed to initially upgrade the Bantayan Airport so it can meet the standards of a community airport.

“The purpose really of our trip here is to see Camotes and appreciate it. I did a flyby months ago to see the contours of Camotes, and it’s a beautiful island. It has a lot of potential, and we’re looking at developing it into a community airport first, similar to Bantayan, and potentially make it into a commercial airport,” Dicdican said.

He said the site inspection was just the start of more discussions to develop the airport. They still have to discuss the type of arrangement the parties will enter into and what kind of civil works will be done, he said.

For the governor, the development of the airport will boost the economies of the towns of San Francisco, Tudela, Poro and Pilar. But before that, she said the towns must first iron out their respective comprehensive land use plans for a more holistic development.

“The good thing about our Camotes airport is that it’s pristine. It is like a blank canvas. You can really plan where to put the terminal and other developments. The possibilities are limitless,” Garcia said.

The airport in Camotes sits on a 27-hectare lot owned by the Provincial Government. (RTF)