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Peace and prosperity for 2014

/ 03:33 PM December 31, 2013

Allow me to wish one and all a very prosperous, peaceful, joyful and safe new year. I hope 2014 would be a year of hope, fewer calamities and good health for all people.

I also hope that in 2014 more people would become prayerful and place God in the center of their lives.

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And Pit Señor as we prepare for the annual Sinulog festival in Cebu City in January. Pray for its success and peacefulness.

Let us welcome the year with more prayers and fewer firecracker blasts so there are less injuries.

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I am confused by the controversy surrounding the expansion of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

Some sectors now question the privatization of the airport, which didn’t figured in initial discussions on its expansion.

They ask for details about the project especially why it would cost about P 17.5 billion when building a new airport would only cost P7 billion.

They also want to know about the design or specifications that contributed to such a high cost.

Also in question is the record of the consortium that is considering purchasing the airport. This is an Indian corporation whose track record needs close examination.

No doubt, our airport in Mactan needs expansion. It has become too small and congested with the increasing number of domestic and international passengers.

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The proposed expansion should be scrutinized by stakeholders to get the best deal especially since this is a project of the national government that has a spotty record when it comes to implementing infrastructure projects.

For the sake of transparency, the government must explain the high cost of expansion. It cannot continue to ignore legitimate queries from different sectors who fear that the cost may be a source of graft and corruption.

Does the proposed expansion mean that the airport will soon be privatized? If so, under what terms and conditions?

If running the airport is a form of public service, why is the government privatizing it?

Let us listen to the explanation of the national government before we object. Airport privatization may bring some good. But while we keep an open mind, let us continue to be vigilant.

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This new year is also the time for proprietors to pay business and real estate taxes that are necessary sources of revenue for the government.

As a Cebuano and a citizen we should be religious in paying our obligations to the local government units so that we can help them deliver basic services.

They basically depend on tax collections to do their job and be relevant to the community. It’s time to be patriotic.

Let’s pay our dues.

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