Sunday, July 6, 2008

Does Bohol Really Need An International Airport?

Published by Bohol Sunday Post

Enough is enough

This is already a closed case. The Arroyo government and its attached agencies have already decided that the Panglao International Airport will be built in Panglao.

But a small minority who is trying to impose its supreme majority of Boholanos still want to have a meeting with Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado, for him to reconsider the building of the airport.

Unfortunately this is no longer legally possible, it is already a done deal and even Governor Aumentado could no longer stop the project. For Dr. Ernie Pernia and his supporters, they are much in a better position to talk to President Gloria Macapagal and the Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza. Pernia's efforts to have an audience with the governor are a pure waste of time, efforts and money.

We should stop this nonsense because the people are already sick and tired of it. Dr. Pernia can you come up with something else that is useful for Boholanos than your idea of stopping the airport project. Is this personal money that you are spending for your trips to Bohol and the ads or somebody else if footing the bill.     

When I was invited to join the Davao trip of my niece, Jane Gaynore Obenza-Fortich Baylosis, who is now a supervisor at the Peninsula Hospital, a suburban teaching facility in New York and is spending her vacation with her husband Romy and son Julian, I did not hesitate a bit.

For three days we stayed in the Queen City of Mindanao. We were graciously accommodated by Boyet Cervera and his beautiful wife, Dr. Gigi dela Cerna who is a psychiatrist by profession. They are part of a family-owned psychiatric facility in Davao.

We were also invited to stay in their plush house by Jessie Fortich, president and general manager of Asia Equip Corp. Fortich father claims direct lineage traceable to the Fortich clan in Inabanga. The businessman is well placed in Davao, with 34 refrigerated trailer trucks, transporting bananas from Del Monte to the wharf for exports. He also has a profitable trucking business besides selling trucks and multicabs.


We had the opportunity to talk with Jessie before we slept. For the night. Over a bottle of Cognac, we discussed very interesting facts and figures about Davao

Is Davao not affected by the recent economic changes like high prices of commodities especially rice?

Jessie answered back. Not a bit. He said. You know in Davao, we have a strong middle class. The farmers before who were beneficiaries of the land reform program are now tremendously earning from the harvests of their farms, mostly planted to bananas. Four companies are buying bananas and pineapples. We call these farm workers as entrepreneurial farmers

In addition, he added, other fruits are also reared here like durian, mangosten, lanzones,  watermelons, and coconuts. We are lucky to have loam soil here so that everything grows, even your finger will grow if you stick them to the soil, one person jokingly said.

One single fruit of durian at P90 per kilo would cost about P400. See how lucrative it is to grow durian. You also have the hito (catfish) farms, the produce are cooked in roadside restaurants. Farmers have a sense of pride, because by planting bananas they earn dollars. 

Jessie added: Most of the success stories in Davao are those of immigrants to the province. They are the people who come here to Davao in search of a better tomorrow. They have nothing to lose, because they own nothing, but they are very aggressive when they come to the land of opportunities..

Antonio Florendo, the banana king used only to be a scaler, one who determines by measurements, if a tree is ready for cutting. Look what he is now.The late  Don Pacu Dizon, forerunner of the so-called Dizon farms, which also owns an entertainment facility called Crocodile Farmers was only a driver when he immigrated to Davao. When he died he was called the Don.

There is a combination of many factors why Davao is progressive. Its rich loamy soil is certainly one of them, Davao is a land of opportunities, with so many industries contributing to its bustling and robust economy. It is such that kidnappers from other provinces spend their rest and recreation days in Davao. However, there is a rice shortage in Davao because of the farms were converted to banana plantations. The plantations have sprinklers which are turned on, once the water is lacking. Spray planes also spray the bananas for insects

Davao will soon overtake Cebu as a major exporter of mangoes. It has afforded the establishment of vapor steam plant which will enable its exports to qualify to enter foreign markets like New Zealand, Australia and Japan since the mangoes will be disinfected and therefore insect-free. 

By the way the talk in Davao is, the kidnappers of Ces Drilon and company received a total of P20 million, five million pesos came from the family of Ces Drilon and P15 million from ABS CBN.