PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved the nomination of Cebu businessman Julius “Jayjay” G. Neri Jr. as the new general manager of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA).
The announcement came in a letter dated Wednesday, July 7, 2021 issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea from the Office of the President in Malacañang.
The letter was sent to the MCIAA board of directors, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Chairman Samuel Dagpin Jr. of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (government-owned and -controlled corporations).
The MCIAA Board will have to officially elect Neri at their next board meeting on July 15, Thursday, before he can formally assume the position.
Neri said he will prioritize the safety of passengers and airport employees as well as prepare for the return of more air traffic by continuing to build new infrastructure.
The airport started vaccinating employees earlier this month.
“We have to make sure that while we are operating in the pandemic, we are prioritizing the safety of all the passengers who not only arrive but those who also leave through our airport,” Neri told SunStar Cebu.
Neri said though operating in a pandemic, the airport will not stand still.
“We have to continue to prepare for normalization of the airport and the return of the air traffic. So that means we have to fine-tune our processes and systems and we have to continue our building of infrastructure to make the airport safer and increase capacity in the future,” he said.
Neri said they hope to finish the ongoing construction of the second runway before the President’s term ends in 2022.
Because MCIAA also owns some of the land occupied by the Mactan Economic Zone, Neri said they will also come up with attractive packages to encourage locators to stay in the country.
“We have to make sure also that we are very sensitive to the needs of the locators and make sure to encourage them to stay in the Philippines. Because of the pandemic, there are so many competitors for export companies from Asia, so we have to make sure that we are competitive,” he said.
Neri added the airport authority will become more business friendly.
Asked if there will be any major changes in the airport, Neri said they will strive to come up with new plans but sustain those that are efficient.
“A change of leadership does not mean you have to change everything. So if you look at all the programs being run, all the good ones you continue, and if there are some things you can improve then you try to improve them. But I am not one to change something just because it was initiated by somebody else. That’s not my style at all,”
Neri, president of SunStar Publishing Inc. and general manager of SunStar Cebu, has been with the media company for 30 years.
He has been an active member of the MCIAA board since 2016.
On Dec. 16, 2020, Ombudsman Samuel Martires ordered the preventive suspension of MCIAA general manager Steve Dicdican for six months without pay pending investigation on the charges filed against him by the National Bureau of Investigation for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for allegedly allowing foreigners to run the airport.