VISION ACHIEVED. Former Gov. ConstancioC. Torralba, on wheelchair, inside the terminal building of the new Bohol airport, which he conceived long ago. He visited the completing airport for the first time on Sunday, Oct. 21. To his right are Gov. Edgar Chatto, who is his nephew, and his wife Genoveva fondly called “Ma’am Babing” and Provincial Administrator AeDamalerio.

The man who conceived 30 years ago the idea of a new Bohol airport of international standard has finally seen his dream concretely fulfilled.

In solid form and size, the grand sight of the completing modern Bohol Panglao International Airport almost made former Gov. Constancio “Nonoy” ChattoTorralba cry. On wheelchair, Torralba was accompanied by his nephew, Gov. Edgar M. Chatto, to the project site in Panglao last Sunday afternoon, October 21.

He could have expressed in words his obvious extreme joy and sense of fulfillment if it were not for his difficulty to verbally communicate at age 89 now.

Torralba had initiated the plan and secured the fund for initial project feasibility study when he was transportation assistant secretary and then governor in 1998-1992.

NEW AIRPORT:

ECONOMIC BOOM

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Reg’l. Dir. Efren Carreon this early congratulated the Boholanos on the foreseen local economic boom because of the big airport.

There will be more flights to Bohol next year, bringing in more passengers and money that will circulate and spur local economic progress, he said.

The top NEDA Central Visayas official on Wednesday attended here the full-body meeting of the Bohol Provincial Development Council, which is chaired by Chatto

Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II temporarily presided the meeting, during which he also gave a brief update on the airport that is expected for inauguration in late November.

The transportation industry is benefitting a lot from the economic performance of the region and the international market, said Carreon in his presentation of the regional economic situationer.

Despite the inflation, the number of domestic flights in Central Visayas has increased by double digit, around 10%, and the international flights by even higher at 22% . “And what does this mean? This means more passengers coming in, more people coming in, more money to spend in our local economy,” the NEDA official said.

“This is also happening in Bohol,” Carreon said, “and will continue to happen, more drastically increasing the flights when the new Panglao international airport will be opened.”

DESPITE CONDITION

Despite his condition that requires him to stay on wheelchair, Torralba travelled along with his wife, Genoviva, and some family members from Cebu City, where he has since retired, to Bohol.

Chatto hosted his uncle’s brief yet purposeful home visit—to see, for the first time, the very build of the airport that was just a fantasy three decades ago.

Torralba was met and also escorted to the airport terminal building by the project’s technical officials led by Engr. Tadashi Aoi of the Japanese Airport Consultants.

From the Panglao airport, Chatto and Damalerio brought Torralba to the imposing new Bohol capitol, which will soon be occupied, overlooking the CPG Park in Tagbilaran City.

Torralba first proceeded to the Governor’s Mansion where some of his family members who stay in Bohol, nephew governor, and several former close capitol aides were awaiting him.

Rep. Rene Relampagos joined them. He was a provincial board member representing the youth sector when Torralba was governor.

Torralba and his wife were joined by two of their children, Fleur de Liz and Constancio, Jr., in-laws, grandchildren and close family friends.

Former close and trusted capitol aides and workers who personally greeted Torralba included RomyTeruel and lawyer DaniloBantugan, who was then an executive assistant. The new Bohol airport was conceptualized when Torralba served as assistant secretary of what is now the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

It was during the presidency of Cory Aquino, who provided the seed fund for the initial project study.

Torralba then became governor and the feasibility study and other preparatory activities gained momentum.

He lost in the 1992 gubernatorial election, but all the governors after him have since worked on his vision until the airport has come to be built in Chatto’s time.

BIRTHDAY GIFT

The airport is expected to be inaugurated in the third week of November, this year, according to the DOtr.

Chatto said Torralba will turn 90 on Nov. 29, with an airport—the country’s first eco-airport and green gateway to the world—for not just a birthday butlifetime gift. Torralba is also regarded as the “father” of Sandugo.

Hetrailblazed Bohol tourism by cultural festivities in holding the first Sandugostreetdancing when he was governor. (VenreboArigo)