Unknown to the Boholanos, laws crafted by Gov. Edgar Chatto while he was in Congress have kept benefiting Bohol in terms of road concreting which has covered a wide area including those in the hinterland parts of the province.
This year alone,Â at least 10 provincial roads in the province have been allocated a total of P526 million under the DPWH-DOT-provincial government convergence program without need of nationalizing the roads, according to the list from the Provincial Engineerâ€™s Office (PEO).
The list is topped by the P150 million concreting of the junction Guindulman-Anda-Badiang-Cogtong road leading to the beaches and resorts in Anda.
At P100 million is the improvement of the road from Catigbian to Canmano leading to Sagbayan Peak, Chocolate Hills and Danao Adventure Park.
There is also a concreting of the Cabulao-Ondol (Mabini)-Union (Ubay) road (access road to national nautical highway) leading to Ubay roro port at P100 mllion.
Other tourism convergence road works involve the Abatan-Agahay-Busao-Toril-Aghao road (Cabawan) in Maribojoc at P80 million; concreting of the Candijay-Cogtong road at P40 million; and junction La Union-Mabini-Cabulao-Ubay road, P40 million.
The rest include the concreting of barangay roads leasduing toÂ tourism sites like in P80 million Cambuhat Oyster Village in BuenavistaÂ town and the P50 million Sinandigan Mangrove and Boardwalk in Ubay town.
One of these Chatto laws has enabled the convergence of two important national agencies for eco- and agri-tourism asset infrastructures now literally making strategic inroads in the province without need of a nationalization law for each road as required before.
Section 34 of Republic Act 9593 or the National Tourism Act of 2009 otherwise known as the chatto-gordon law provides the legal basis for the convergence program between the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Tourism (DOT).
The program enables national government funds for tourism highways, which are not necessarily national roads.
Local roads—whether they are classified as provincial, city, municipal or barangay—that connect or traverse tourism areas can be developed or improved, too, using national funds pursuant to the convergence, which further involves the provincial government.
Former Sen. Richard Gordon authored the Senate version of Chattoâ€™s measure in Congress.
Chatto and Gordon were then chairmen of the tourism committees in the Lower and Upper Houses, respectively.
BoholÂ road improvement works have been supported by theÂ the three Bohol solons, Rep. Rene Relampagos, Rep. Aris Aumentado and Rep. Arthur Yap. Relmapagos is presently the chairman of the House committee on tourism which Chatto chaired during his term.
The provincial government has been engaged in the convergence thru the PEO under Engr. Gabino Redulla.
Plus its regular functions and more tasking rehabilitation and recovery role since the earthquake, the PEO is overworked yet uncomplaining, the governor said as he commended the entire engineering office.
Before the Chatto-Gordon law, even the improvement of provincial roads which are access routes to tourism sites could not be nationally funded.
Then also in Congress, Chatto nationalized thru laws certain vital provincial roads so that they could be improved and maintained by regular national allocations.
Through Republic Act 9345 approved on June 2006, Chatto nationalized the Panglao island circumferential road which was among the very few passed and enacted by Congress out of 300 road nationalization bills filed by congressmen from across the country.
He also nationalized, with the support of Ex-Rep. Roberto Cajes through Republic Act 9992 approved Feb 10, 2010, the Antequera-San Isidro-TubigonÂ via Libertad Road which is now cemented by kilometers while improvement along other sections continues.
Bohol was fortunate that thisÂ law for the said road project was one of only 10 approved by Congress, out of 350 bills of similar nature filed.
With the support of his fellow solon, Ex-Rep Adam Jala, Chatto had the Balilihan-Hanopol-Batuan via Makapiko road nationalized through R.A. 10040 approved on March 18, 2010Â during his final term in Congress.Â This project is nearing completionÂ with vital bridge component.
The province under Chatto as governor has partnered with national and foreign sources for the rehabilitation and improvement of many other roads.
These overseas development supporters include the Australian government thru the AusAID for the Provincial Roads Management Facility (PRMF) and World Bank (WB) thru the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), which involves the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Meanwhile,Â the governor led last Thursday the groundbreaking rites for Baang-Bagtic-Mahayag Norte road project under the PRDP and the reconstruction of the municipal hall, the latter under the P2.3 billion Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA). The groundbreaking was doneÂ during Catigbianâ€™s 66thÂ Foundation Anniversary.
Records at the Capitol said that it is during Chatto’s administration that the province received much external assistance channeled through the provincial government.Â (Ven rebo Arigo