Development partners can facilitate Boholâ€™s tread on a blissing path toward more prosperity after the trials.
Third District Rep. Arthur Yap emphasized this in his speech during the commemorative program of the 161st Bohol Foundation Day.
â€œWe have to be very thankful that we have for partners, great development partners, because we cannot do it alone. This is the strength of Bohol. This is what we are known for–our sense of community, our sense of tribalism. But we have to understand and accept that we cannot do it alone. That is why it is important to welcome our development partners,â€ Yap said.
Yap cited Australia as biggest bilateral grant partner of the Philippines and as the countryâ€™s main source of dairy products.
This year, Australia will be providing Philippines with Aus$70 million in development assistance grants.
Yap also mentioned that Philippines imports 2 million metric tons of dairy products every year from Australia and New Zealand.
He also cited the similarities of Australia as an island continent and Bohol as an island province. It could be a basis for Australia to provide Bohol with assistance and grants from Australia to develop the livestock capability of the province.
â€œYears ago, I had a great opportunity to work with Australian officials and we were inspired by their quarantine, their bio-security measures to protect their agriculture. In terms of bio-diversity, we are geographically positioned to be able to do this together with Australia. We are looking forward to become a partner of Australia in this advocacy,â€ according to Yap.
The congressman also asked Australian Ambassador William Bill Tweddel to help increase the livelihood opportunities in agriculture for Bohol, considering the capability of the farmers and livestock people.
â€œWe have the capability, but we need you to bring a possible private sector partner to come join us, not necessarily a grant or a loan, but interest them to come,â€ Yap said.
The government of Australia facilitated the â€œ100 days Rapid Assistance to earthquake damaged roads and bridgesâ€.
During the Bohol Day celebration, Tweddell turned over 14 provincial road sections improved under the Australia-funded Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF) to Governor Edgar Chatto.
Tweddell and Chatto led the ceremonial hand-over of the Bohol Road Repair and Rehabilitation Projects during the commemorative program of Bohol Day celebration while the onsite turn-over followedÂ in Hinawanan, Loay.
The 14 road projects include HInawanan (Loay)-Concepcion-Jct. (Loboc-Sikatuna) Road; Poblacion (Inabanga)-Lawis Road; Candumayao-Cabanugan Road; Pob. (Catigbian-Rizal Kagawasan (San Isidro) Road; Calape-Pangangan Road; Sandingan-Tajang Road; Alegria (Catigbian) Baang-Hagbuaya-Hanopol Road; Abatan-Agahay-Busao-Toril-Aghao Road; Antequera-Balilihan via Dorol Road; Sikatuna-Sevilla via Camboac Road; Dimiao-Oac-Bilar Road; Inabanga-Sagbayan via Lapacan-Magtangtang Road; and Cahayag (Tubigon)-Causwagan Sur (San Isidro) Bohol.
Yap also cited another development partner of Bohol, the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), that provided the municipality of Pilar with a P150-million advanced rice processing center mill years ago, and had been followed up by the Korean Aid Agency for Agriculture.
â€œWe look to the Koreans for what they can offer us as well. Korea is fast becoming one of the most aggressive development grant partners of the Philippines and we thank you for that,â€ Yap said.
There had been challenges that Bohol had hurdled and for the challenges ahead, Boholanos have to stay united and sustain cooperation with development partners.
â€œIf we come together as one and continue to welcome development partners, then there is no question that they will continue to fall in love with our island province, and they will continue to invest, and put in a stake on the 1.2 million-people island province,â€ according to Yap.
He also thanked the Health Executives Society of the Philippines (HESP) for assisting Bohol on improving health services.
As one of the highlights of the Bohol Day celebration, Chatto and the president of the Health Executives Society of the Philippines, Dr. Richard Lirio, signed the Agreement on Hospital Care Services during the commemorative program.
Yap said the Bohol Day celebration had been â€œa great opportunity to look back and look at the challenges that Boholanos had gone throughâ€.
â€œThe 161st Bohol Foundation Day celebration is a great opportunity to at all the resilience that we have shown and our ability to bounce back from all the tragedies and the difficulties that we have confronted. It is a time that we can sit back and we can tap each other in the back because we have gone through a lot in the last few years. We have gone through a lot of change and difficulty. And we have shown our kababayans and we have shown the world that we can do it,â€ according to Yap.
He said it is also â€œa time that to take stock of what Boholanos have and where the people wants to bring the province and to admit to ourselves that we cannot do it aloneâ€.
â€œIt is a time to make hard choices on where we want to go and what we want to achieve, because at the end of the day, even as we are growing, we still have a lot of work to do, especially in the areas of poverty reduction, especially in the area of loweringÂ hunger incidence, most importantly in the area of education and increasing the livelihood opportunities for our kababayansâ€”especially are now more than 1.2 million Boholanos,â€ Yap added.
The Bohol Day celebration manifested Boholâ€™s great sense of achievement as a community and a great sense of promise to achieve more.
â€œWe have been able to show not only our provincemates and our kababayans. We have shown the world that we are a resilient people after the earthquake. Our country is also undergoing a lot of positive changes. We are the darling of investors in Asia. Our economy is growing at more than 6.5 percent every year and our economy continues to expand. Our GDP is expanding, also our personal incoming are expanding,â€ according to Yap.
One point that Bohol can also focus on is the concern on job mismatch.
â€œBohol and the entire country, as we are growing, have also many challenges and one of these is the mismatch that we are experiencing in terms of our expansion in the jobs that we are creating. And so we in Bohol are also confronted with the same issue. And we in Bohol are also challenged that as the economy is getting better here in Bohol and we are creating a great niche for ourselves we also need to address this mismatch and also we need to improve the livelihoods of our fellow Boholanos to give them a better option for the future. Iâ€™m very happy to note that our governor is doing a fantastic job along this area, in creating great opportunities in livelihood and great educational opportunities,â€ Yap added.
He noted on the strength of Boholano tradition of coming together and tribalism as manifested in the Tigum Bol-anon Tibook Kalibutan (TBTK) events, making Bohol known â€œas a province that has loyal sons and daughters who have to come home every year for the fiestaâ€.
Yap noted that the TBTK tradition is unique that there could be no other province where there is worldwide gathering of provincemates who come home once every three years.
â€œWe open the 161st foundation day with so much promise. Let us take stock of where we come from, but more importantly let us tread a blissing path to more prosperity where we can bring Bohol,â€ Yap clinched. (By Angeline Valencia)