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Regional Updates (12/17/20)

Mactan airport chief suspended

MACTAN-CEBU International Airport Authority (MCIAA) General Manager Steve Y. Dicdican has been ordered suspended for six months for allegedly violating the Anti-Dummy Law.

Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires barred him from entering his office during his suspension to preserve evidence according to a copy of the order.

Mr. Dicdican was accused of letting foreign officials of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) manage the airport. It is a consortium of Filipino company Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure Limited.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Dec. 4 said it had filed a complaint before the Justice department against Mr. Dicdican, other airport executives, and GMCAC officials for violating the same law.

In 2014, the Transportation department and the airport authority awarded the airport’s management to GMCAC under a 25-year concession for P14.4 billion for the airport’s expansion.

The complainants said GMCAC’s actions went beyond the terms of the concession and the MCIA was operated and managed by foreigners.

MCIAA workers were set to release a manifesto of support for Mr. Dicdican, spokesperson Mary Ann Dimabayao said by telephone.

Mr. Dicdican had questioned the hasty filing of the complaint, saying the concession deal was awarded years before he joined the airport authority. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

Anti-logging teams formed

THE ENVIRONMENT department has ordered one of its officials to set up four teams to boost monitoring of illegal logging operations in Cagayan Valley, Bicol and the Upper Marikina river basin, it said on Thursday.

This comes after lawmakers blamed illegal logging operations for recent floods that submerged many parts of Luzon after it was hit by a typhoon last month.

The government must go after illegal logging agents because transporters and buyers of undocumented forest products are often linked to these unlawful operations, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in a statement.

Each team is made up of representatives from the agency, Interior and Local Government department, Defense department, Armed Forces, and Philippine National Police, the agency said. — Angelica Y. Yang

River dredging to start in January

THE GOVERNMENT will start its dredging project for Cagayan River next month, which will widen the river and prevent heavy floods.

Several areas of the region will be prioritized, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu told a news briefing on Thursday. Mr. Cimatu sought the widening of the river after the Cagayan Valley region experienced heavy floods last month.

Priority areas include Aparri, Camalaniugan, Lallo, Gattaran, Sto. Niño, Alcala, Amulung, Iguig, Solana, Tuguegarao City and Enrile towns. — Gillian M. Cortez

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