MOST important to the development of tourism are the infrastructure especially designed and constructed to bring in the tourists to their destinations without much hassle.
In this regard, there are two departments of the government which are mainly responsible for the brick-and-mortar component of this effort: the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The DOTr boasts of upgrading existing airports and constructing new ones, which is one of the key accomplishments of outgoing Secretary Art Tugade.
The DPWH, now headed by Secretary Roger G. Mercado, may be credited for continuing the exemplary gains made by Mark Villar in the Duterte administration's centerpiece program called "Build Build Build."
DPWH Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain says the department handles 44 of Duterte's flagship projects while the DOTr is in charge of around 36 others. These flagship projects, taken together, compose 70 percent of all the big-ticket projects of the President, funded both from local as well as foreign sources.
Aside from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the DOTr has made it sure that our international airports are up to standards for the benefit of discriminating foreign tourists. Two cases in point are the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Central Visayas and the Clark International Airport in Central Luzon.
I had the rare opportunity to visit Mactan-Cebu International Airport two times in a week — first, on the invitation of Bluewater Maribago resort in a media familiarization tour sponsored by Cebu that hotel, Cebu Pacific (CEB) and the Department of Tourism Region 7, and second, for coverage of the inauguration by President Duterte of the longest bridge in the country, the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. and the city governments of Cebu and Cordova. On both occasions, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and its personnel proved to render the efficient service.
Much has been happening at the Clark International Airport lately.
Cebu Pacific (CEB) has announced that beginning May 2, 2022, all Cebu Pacific and Cebgo flights to and from Clark will operate at the newly opened Clark International Airport Terminal 2.
CEB currently flies daily between Clark and Cebu. The airline has sent notifications to all affected passengers, it was reported.
Back to the subject of the CCLEX, both secretaries Tugade, Salvador and Mercado joined Duterte, MVP, Executive Secretary Medialdia and Sen. Christopher Bong Go at the inauguration which took all of the afternoon and a big part of the evening.
The bridge is 8.9 kilometers long, connects Cebu City with Cordova, and is known locally as "the third bridge." The first two being the Cebu-Mandaue bridge and the Marcelo Fernan bridge.
With Cebu's bustling population and concomitant traffic congestion, the need for a third bridge is therefor imperative, and it is timely for Manny Pangilinan's MPTC to invest P33 billion to construct the bridge, which became the country's longest.
The challenge for the DPWH Region 7, headed by Regional Director Edgar B. Tabacon, is to upgrade the roads leading to the entrance and exit of the CCLEX. Tabacon's team has already completed the plans for this undertaking.