I have been described at the Club 888 media forum on business and tourism as a “one-man army” fighting for the pocket “open skies” policy for the Davao (Bangoy) International Airport.
I have written two Resolutions in the City Council, the first in 2003, and the second, last year; made a lot of noise to win public support; and sent to Malacanang two draft Executive Orders patterned after the air liberalization regime in Clark.
No less than Mayor Rody Duterte has also followed up on this request at the Palace through a letter to the President.
Unfortunately, to no avail.
I stopped posting on my advocacy blog Davao dot come! to please some Davao tourism industry players who requested that lobbying for this policy should be discreet.
Nah, nothing happened either.
In the cabinet, I found an ally in Planning Secretary Romulo Neri. He backed my position that Davao City should establish air links with northeast Asia rather than just be content with BIMP-EAGA.
This ASEAN sub-region, unfortunately, has very low tourist traffic. Davao’s hope for a dramatic rise in its visitor arrival is in the rich markets of Korea, Japan and Greater China composed of the Mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Now, Neri’s former office at the Lower House is also battling for the same policy. This time, they want a law, not a mere EO, to define the “open skies” regime.
This would be a tough fight. I wonder what would be the position of Davao Congress representatives on this issue?