There is am ambitious, yet possible project to connect the major islands in the Visayas through bridges within the next 10 years.
This was seriously discussed during the meeting of the four various Regional Development Councils (RDC) where the respective council chairmen were bold in their resolve to achieve stronger integration of development.
Gov. Edgar Chatto, RDC-7 chairman together withÂ other RDC chairmen saw the possibility of connecting these major islands of Bohol, Cebu, Negros and Panay.
They pushed harder for the connectivity project of the four Visayan regions during the joint meeting with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) BoardÂ Iloilo City last Friday.
The Bohol governor reported during his weekly media forum the updating of the necessary feasibility studies for the super bridges linking major Visayas islands.
These include the bridges from Bohol to Cebu, Cebu to Negros, and Negros to Panay, which all feasibility studies have to be finally done this year with foreign assistance.
He said that this “dream project” will be materialized since the feasibility studies will commence this year once foreign assistance can be assured.
For Bohol, Gov. Chatto also mentioned the full support of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Sec. Rogelio Singson for the feasibility studies for the third bridge connecting Panglao island to Tagbilaran City and dream bridge between the island town of Pitogo and mainland Bohol via Ubay.
Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor, already a friend of Chatto when they were congressmen, hosted the meeting which was NEDA Board â€“ RDComâ€™s first this year.
Chatto is the alternate head of the RDCom-Visayas, in which sits the chairmen of the RDCs of Central, Eastern and Western Visayas Regions and the new Negros Island Region (NIR).
As such, Chatto, who heads the RDC-7, is heard in the higher or national-level development governing body deliberation of local impact proposals emanating from and endorsed by the RDComs in the country.
Visions can be fulfilled by good planning, according to the second-termer governor who himself believes that the Boholanos must be one with their leaders in dreaming big and together making it come true.
Chatto said the Iloilo meeting led to the creation of the RDCom-Visayas Project Monitoring Office for infrastructure investments and all other major projects, either funded nationally or foreign-aided, that impact on the island provinces or the regions at most.
On socio-economic development, the RDCom updated the engaging programs and activities of the so-called â€œCeLeBoSoLeâ€ Project, which regional technical working groups (TWGs) were earlier created as pushed by Chatto.
The project is envisioned to protect and conserve the wealth of the immense Danajon reef, which span is bounded by Cebu, Leyte, Bohol and Southern Leyte (thus, the project acronym), for a sustainable development that more than provides not just for economic needs.
The common management and sustainability program for the abundant, vast marine resource area has gained momentum with its inclusion in the highlight features of the foreign-assisted Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).
Further, the RDCom identified better strategies to hasten the development of the Visayas tourism circuit.
GOOD PLAN WORKS
Good planning coupled with a leadership that is most importantly credible to the projectâ€™s principal funders, national or overseas, has proved working as made evident in the construction now of the new Bohol airport in Panglao, according to key players in tourism.
While the big airport of international standard is currently built, Chatto is anticipating a major coordination meeting with the main players crucial to the technical and operational demands of the proposed Korea-Bohol direct air links using the existing Tagbilaran City airport.
The new extension facility for emergency romp or urgent parking at the city airport is now used.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) President/Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista and Chatto met and talked about the flag carrierâ€™s bullish plan during the ASEAN Tourism Summit in Metro Manila last mid-January.
PAL has eyed Bohol for one more investment in pioneering new tourist markets as what it has done in operating direct commercial flights from various airports in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China to Kalibo, Cebu, Puerto Princesa and Bacolod.
Rep. Rene Relampagos, who chairs the congressional tourism committee and has himself a key role in the concerted Bohol effort for prosperity, is equally eager to see the plan finally being implemented.Â (Ven rebo Arigo)