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Bacolod City, PhilippinesThursday, January 17, 2008
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Bacolod mayor snubbed
in airport inauguration?

Police security is up for the inauguration of the P5.6 billion New Bacolod-Silay Airport in Silay City to be attended by Vice President Noli de Castro at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The media noted that Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who has been lobbying for the retention of the Bacolod airport even after the new one opens in Silay, was not among the officials included in the inauguration rites program.

Leonardia said personally he really does not mind that he was not included in the program because he has always been a pro Bacolod airport advocate “ever since and until now”.

“Whether it is a deliberate snub or not, it is not for me to say, however, the name of the airport is Bacolod-Silay and what is apparent is the congressman of Bacolod is listed in the program while the mayor is not,” he said.

“Maybe that is a prize for the congressman because he is one of those who pushed for the transfer of the airport from Bacolod to Silay, so good luck to us in Bacolod ,” he said.

Leonardia said he has an invitation to the inauguration and will be attending as a private citizen.

Meanwhile, he said “I will be one of the passengers of the last flight to arrive at the Bacolod airport, definitely it is going to be a sentimental flight for me and all true-blooded Bacolodnons.”

The new Bacolod airport, that began operations in 1936, will close down today after the last flight.

Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra will lead a mass and blessing of the New Bacolod Silay Airport this afternoon and it will begin operations tomorrow.

At 3:30 p.m. tomorrow De Castro will be the guest speaker at the inauguration rites of the new airport, a program released by the DOTC said.

The program also said de Castro, who will cut the ribbon and unveil the marker, will be assisted by Transportation and Communication Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Minister Akira Sugiyama of the Japanese Embassy, Japan Bank for International Cooperation representative H. Togo, Gov. Joseph Marañon to be represented by Vice Gov. Isidro Zayco, Silay Mayor Jose Montelibano and Representatives Mikey Arroyo (Pampanga, 2 nd District), Monico Puentevella (Bacolod) and Jose Carlos Lacson (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District).

Leonardia was not included in the list of those who will assist de Castro or among those who will deliver messages.

Meanwhile, Edgar Mangalili, airport special projects director of the DOTC, said the lighting along the road leading to the new airport has not been completed yet but the police will provide patrols to ensure security until the evening flights have arrived.

A shuttle service from the SM City Bacolod to the new airport will be available with transport fees at P50 per passenger.*CPG




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