Press Release
December 17, 2012

Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority Charter amended

The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill amending the Charter of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) to increase tax revenue and boost tourism in Cebu City.

Sen. Ralph Recto, chair of the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises and sponsor of House Bill 6305, said amending the MCIAA Charter will make it "more attune to the developments since the charter was passed."

According to Recto, one of the amendments deals with the tax exemption enjoyed by the airport uuthority.

Under the proposed legislation, he explained, the exemption of realty tax will be limited to properties such as airport lands and buildings that are directly and exclusively used by the Authority for international and domestic travel and transportation.

"Under the amendment, all airport lands and buildings and other assets or portions owned by the authority which are leased to private parties and used for commercial purposes and other non-airport operations shall be subject to realty and business taxes or other taxes imposed by the Local Government in accordance with the Local Government Code," Recto said.

He said commercial establishments that are located in the properties of the authority and are not presently taxed by the local government include hotels, restaurants, freight forwarders, gift shops, common carrier offices, money changers, insurance companies and other businesses.

Recto said an estimated P1 billion in real property and business taxes could have been collected from these properties from 1992 to 2009. The money, he added, could have been used by the local government for its priority projects such as additional classrooms, nutrition and other social and infrastructure programs and projects.

Recto also proposed amendments to the composition of the MCIAA board membership. Under the proposed measure, the transportation and communications secretary will remain as the chairperson of the board. However, the vice chairperson, who is the general manager of MCIAA, will be replaced by the tourism secretary.

"This amendment is in line with the Tourism Act of 2009, which mandates that the Tourism Secretary shall be the ex officio vice chairperson of the governing boards of all international airports," Recto said, adding:

"It may also be emphasized that among the objectives of the Authority as spelled out in its charter is to encourage, promote and develop international and domestic air traffic to make the region a center of international trade and tourism."

The MCIAA general manager becomes one of the ex officio board members together with the Justice and Finance Secretaries. The director general of the Civil Aviation Authority shall replace the MCIAA assistant secretary.

The Lapu-Lapu city mayor is the newest member of the board while the Cebu Governor will be retained as a member.

Board members from the private sector shall be reduced to three from the original four members. Recommendation of the board members from the private sector for a term of one year shall be upon the recommendation of the Governance Commission for Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs).

"The representation of the city in the board will mean better coordinated planning and implementation of any measure or development plan of the Authority, particularly on safety matters and issues on physical expansion that would directly or indirectly affect the city's strategy development plant and the way of life of the residents," Recto said. (OLIVE CAUNAN)

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