Local officials and individuals from various sectors have reacted and posed reservation to a brewing proposal by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to increase the Airport Terminal Fee of the Dumaguete Airport in Sibulan town from P30.00 to P150.00 in the coming weeks. Quoting Airport Manager Veronica Chuang, Sun Star Dumaguete reported that ‘the rate adjustment is proposed to shoulder the increasing expenses to run the airport’. The report added that the airport is spending more than P1 million a month, including the salary of the airport employee and paying up to P300,000 a month for power bills’.
Raul Glorioso, chief of the Aerodrome Development and Management Service of CAAP meanwhile said in a public hearing in Dumaguete recently, that the proposed adjustment is in line with efforts to improve the airport and air navigation facilities.
Business groups led by the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce, however complained that the sudden increase may be too much. Dumaguete councilors Leon and Sayson likewise called upon the CAAP to explain their basis to arrived at such a huge increase. The airport is said to be undergoing projects amounting P75 million to expand the airplane parking area and asphalting of runway and this may need counterpart funding from customers, which is legal according to Republic Act9497.
I myself a user of the airport would find it unreasonable to impose such an increase. The principle cited by CAAP is a case of literal public subsidy or a public-public partnership. A fundamental question there is that, isn’t the whole budget be derived from national government coffers since this is a public infrastructure project? And isn’t this kind of project benefit from the E-VAT collection? So why let the public bear the brunt?
Besides, should this pursue and developments are already in place, can the riding public expect and avail of facilities and convenience experienced by the P200-peso convenience that Mactan and NAIA terminals offer?