Bohol has gained dramatically despite all odds and challenges topped by the tasking rehabilitation, but Gov. Edgar Chatto is rather seeing this as a rallying point for the Boholanos to act like leaders themselves and do their share.
â€œLet us all be leaders for development and growth,â€ the governor inspired and enjoined in his State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Friday, even if investment and livelihood recovery indicates the economy to be fast bouncing back.
Almost P9 billion in new investments have been generated since the epic â€œtwin disasters,â€ the strong earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda, while tourist arrival grew by 24% in the past three years.
Delivered before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) in session at the Bohol Cultural Center, Chattoâ€™s second term final annual SOPA underscored â€œshared leadership and connectivityâ€ in â€œachieving the BIG LEAP in inclusive growth and sustainable development.â€
The BIG LEAP stands for â€œBoholâ€™s Inclusive Growth Leading to Equitable and Accelerated Prosperity.â€
As many as 10,234 business names involving micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have been registered P2.9 billion total investment and 24,579 jobs generated.
Large enterprise investments reached over 6 billion, topped by tourism accommodation facilities put up by Henan Resort, Be Grand Hotel, South Palms resort and expansion of the Amorita Resort at P4.60 billion all.
Housing projects by Camella Homes, Primary Homes and other major subdivision and condotel residential developers have costed P1.04 billion, plus retail business investments thru the Alturas Mall and Galeria Luisa Mall costing P650 million.
Chatto said over the last three years, investments summed up to P6 billion for tourism-related and P8 billion for agri-business, which will be boosted by the improvement of Boholâ€™s biggest irrigation system, the Malinao dam.
Former senator and Presidential Assistant for Agriculture and Fishery Modernization Francisco â€œKikoâ€ Pangilinan announced during the SOPA ceremony, of which he was the honored guest, the approval of the huge fund for the project and other supports to enhance Bohol farm and food programs.
Chatto said that because his administration runs â€œby the philosophy of inclusive growth, we also look at community entrepreneurship through cooperatives,â€ which now number to 299 across the province at a total asset of P2.54 billion.
Tourism is well on its way to full recovery that tourist arrival in the first quarter of 2015 had unbelievably zoomed up by 92% as against the inflow in the same period in 2014.
â€œThis is not an empty boast.Â The direct PAL flights from Korea to Bohol are now in the works as our kick-off to international commercial aviation, which will soar to newer heights once the Panglao will be completed by December 2017,â€ a confident governor said.
Chatto said PAL is now â€œofficially discussingâ€ with the provincial government, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Immigration (BOI) â€œto make these flights a reality as soon as possible,â€ even before the new Bohol airport completion.
What the Bohol leaders do is â€œtotal approachâ€ and â€œwe do help to attain reality,â€ Visayas officials of the flag carrier assured during the Bohol leg of the Visayas roadshow of PALâ€™s upcoming PAL Cebu-San Francisco (California, USA) direct flights at Metro Centre here Friday night.
Apart from the highly-potential non-stop chartered flights between Korea or China and Bohol, PAL is adding domestic flights between Bohol and new areas in the country.
Bohol is â€œfortunate having active leaders,â€ PAL officials said in the roadshow attended by Chatto, Rep. Rene Relampagos and Arthur Yap, PAL Bohol Manager Emma Relampagos-CaseÃ±as, and local business leaders.
Chatto said â€œmaking business is creating jobs,â€ noting the positive statistics in this area and year-on-year increase in annual distributions of total number of customers served by the Bohol Business One-Stop Shop (Bohol BOSS) with corresponding increase in yearly jobs generated.
Other livelihood strategies have included the employment and placement program with an efficient capitol unit, local and overseas job fairs, special recruitments, Bohol Skills Registry System and Phil-Jobnet registration, among others.
Agriculture being its backbone industry, the province has its crops productivity enhancement program for ensured food sufficiency and basic commodities been rated â€œdoing very well.â€
Despite the El NiÃ±o, rice production sufficiency has hit 106%; corn sufficiency, 107%; and rootcrop sufficiency, 622%.
Cloud seedings have been done in Bohol to save farms from the hot spell and keep the increase in yield and sufficiency of major food commodities even as high quality rice seed provision is sustained for greater productivity.
The governorâ€™s SOPA also highlighted both the on-going, upcoming and forthcoming major projects of his administration with Vice Gov. Concepcion Lim.
These are the on-going restoration and conversion of the old capitol into the Bohol National Museum and its associated improvement of Plaza Rizal; continuing hospital modernization, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) Command Center, plus the TaRSIER 117 satellite center in Ubay; and upcoming construction the new, modern provincial government center.
The forthcoming projects include the third bridge linking Tagbilaran City and Panglao island, Ubay-Pres. Garcia bridge and Talibon-Bien Unido bridge, which feasibilities studies have been supported by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); Bohol Heroes Park on Mt. Banat-i; and Bohol Youth Center for juvenile delinquents.
The lot procurement for the new Loon district hospital is processed while Chatto cited the essence of the Relampagos bill to the rise of the new Modern Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) with double capacity, which already has an approved initial fund of P500 million.
Chatto accounted in his SOPA to the people more accomplishmentsÂ related to various major concerns, priorities and extensions encompassed by the so-called HEAT IT Bohol Program—Health and sanitation, Education and technology, Agriculture and food security, Tourism and livelihood, and Information technology.
Twenty-five (25) HEAT-IT caravans have been done in 23 towns covering 571 barangays and serving 264,824 beneficiaries in partnership with the national agencies and private sector.
The Countryside Development Program-Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM) has reached 91 barangays in 34 municipalities, delivering aids, goods and services in agriculture and fishery, primary health care, health and sanitation, capability building activities by prosperity teams, and more.
Agri-based caravans distributed hundreds of livestock like carabaos, cows and swine or piglets and over a thousand native chickens for livelihood; assorted planting materials for vegetables and organic herbs; hand tractors with trailers, other farm tools; organic fertilizers, other farm inputs; tilapia fingerlings and aquaculture and fishing materials and gadgets.
CDP-PPMâ€™s infrastructure interventions involved waterworks projects, including jetmatic pumps, road projects, solar dryers, school buildings, electrification, and livelihood and training centers.
Land titles were distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries while land conflicts have been resolved in pursuit of peace and development.
Health, sanitation and social welfare got priorities by way of hospital modernization, creation of the Bohol Provincial Drug Testing Center, broader Philhealth scope, medical-surgical missions, dental health, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition, family planning program, environmental sanitation, leprosy control, tuberculosis control, HIV/AIDS program, dengue control, rabies prevention and eradication, health emergency management system, water laboratory services, and program for persons with disability.
Mortality rates in infants, maternal and neonatal deaths, and prevalence of under-nutrition have been reduced.
Education got priority thru the bayanihan school construction program between the Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Department of Education (DepEd) that already built 62 school buildings.
The province provided for the library development, Pres. CPG Scholarship and educational subsidies to 3,600 qualified college studentsÂ in 2013-2015 alone, teacher reinforcement program, Madrasah teachers support program assisting the Muslim teachers, and support to the dynamic learning program that has reduced dropout and students failure rate so significantly.
As many as 561 classrooms have been repaired under the DepEd program and765 classrooms rehabilitated under the DPWH, apart from the ongoing construction of 579 senior high school classrooms.
Bohol has become a model in the country thru the partnership between the PGBh, DepEd and other stakeholders on the tourism senior high school in Lourdes, Panglao.
This is while the Bohol Agricultural Training and Research Center is to be established at San Pascual National Agricultural High School in Ubay.
Education got further highlighted in the Bohol Education Convergence Summit and the signing of the provincial executive order creating the government-industry-academe council.
Even while yet schooling, students were granted a way to earn thru the Expanded Special Program for the Employment of Students (E-SPES), which hired 2,723 students last year alone for a 16% increase of beneficiaries.
Chatto himself principally authored the E-SPES Law or Republic Act (RA) 9547 when he was First District congressman.
Topped by the crops productivity enhancement program, agriculture and food security has likewise focused on coconut development program/coco-based agro-industrial hub which is established soon, fisheries productivity enhancement, development of agri-livestock commodity champions,
Bohol native chicken development, dairy development /carabao dairy and milk processing and marketing enterprise project now worked at P9.23 million with Philippine Rural Development Project PRDP support, and Gatas sa Eskwelahan Program.
Tourism and livelihood has been enhanced thru new tourist sites and attractions, inspection of additional 39 potential sites in 23 towns, tourism recovery program, making business and creating jobs thru the business one-stop shop and Negosyo Center, among other industry enabling initiatives.
Tourism and related or enabling investments from 2013 to 2015 cuased the rise of high-end Hennan Resort at P1 billion; Be Resort, P700 million; Vivant resort, P500 million;Â Amoria Resort expansion, P100 million; Alturas Mall, P250million; South Palms, P150 million; Camella Homes, P235 million; and Primary Homes, P112 million, among others.
The steady rise of more accommodation facilities increased the number of rooms from 4,954 in 2013 to 6,370 in 2015.
Infrastructure thru the road convergence program between the PGBh, Department of Tourism (DOT) and DPWH has led to more economic and development opportunities.
The program improved by concreting the Corella-Baclayon road, Tajang-Sandingan road in Loon, Tinago-Dao road in Dauis, Bool (Tagbilaran)-MontaÃ±a (Baclayon) at a total of P390 million in 2014.
In 2015, the program involved the following sections: Â Guindulman-Anda-Badiang-Cogtong (Candijay) road, Candijay-Cogtong road leading to beaches and resorts in Anda, La Union-Mabini-Cabulao-Ubay road leading to the beach areas in Anda and Ubay, Abatan-Agahay-Busao-Toril-Aghao (Cabawan) road in Maribojoc, Catigbian-Canmano road leading to Sagbayan Peak, Chocolate Hills and Danao Adventure Park, and Cabulao-Ondol (Mabini) â€“Union (Ubay) road (access road to nautical highway) leading to Ubay ro-ro port, all at P410 million.
The DOT-DPWH convergence for roads is provided for under RA 9593 or the National Tourism Act, a law principally authored by Chattto while he was congressman and then Sen. Richard Gordon.Â The act is also known as the Chatto-Gordon law.
Himself the incumbent chairman of the congressional tourism committee, Relampagos said the present Congress has supported, as mandated by the Chatto law, the program by annual allocations.
The solon said Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III has truly recognized the essence tourism-enhancing better roads to the economy for inclusive growth and progress of broader impact.
The program also betters other access facilities like seaports and airports in a convergence that this time involves the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
Information technology will continue to be improved as the industry derived from it can reinforce Boholâ€™s competitiveness and, thus, the strengthening of the Bohol ICT Council, development of information system and IT facilities and services.
Infrastructure investments have come in more road works that included longer road network maintained, P464.13 million worth of road works under Australian-assisted Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF), completed Bohol Emergency Road Repair and Rehabilitation Project (BERRRP) amounting to P224 million; PGBH-Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-DPWH road-bridge program partnership; World Bank-funded project thru DAR in partnership with the province; Alburquerque sanitary landfill which management team is on training; small reservoir impounding projects and major irrigation improvement works.
This is also true to the public infrastructure-based P2.3 billion Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA) accomplishment at now almost 60% involving 1,063 projects, 1,050 approved programs of works, and 1,026 checks issued amounting to P1.856 billion.
Responsive governance has been further championed thru the governorâ€™s sub-offices in Ubay, Talibon, Carmen and Jagna where Chatto holds Â Â Â Â Â Â Â respective Peopleâ€™s Days once every month.
The governor underscored, too, in his SOPA the significant accomplishments, some even considered unprecedented, in development administration and financial management reforms.
These have been cascaded thru numerous policies for efficient services, credible governance and socio-economic interventions and benefits.
On peace and order and public safety, the province has maintained, even tightened, close coordination with law enforcement agencies against illegal drugs and other criminalities while sustaining legal assistance to law enforcers, strengthening TaRSIER 117, supporting inmates welfare and development program, and youth and sports development program.
Chatto announced his newest executive order on the Operation Dagon, which creates different strategic â€œoplanâ€ groups to sustain and intensify peace and order drives.
The operation of local special bodies has been ensured with strong participation of the private sector and civil society groups.
Systems have been improved in the monitoring and evaluation of development programs and projects, implementation of strategic performance management, human resource management and development, legal services to LGUs in court action and review of legal documents, disaster risk reduction management which includes preparation of disaster prepared and response plans, capacity building for first responders and LGUs, upgrading of disaster response facilities, and barangay emergency management training.
Chatto would have sustained the institutions of social protection program, enhancement of system for effective delivery of services to those in crisis situation, support to the Bohol Stimulation and Therapeutic Center (STAC) that cares for 713 children with disabilities or special children, and provision of core and emergency shelter.
As it has championed several environmental concerns, the province has intensified the campaign for LGUs to establish pocket forests, coastal law enforcement, ecological solid waste management, mineral resource management and, a new major one which is the foreign-aided Integrated Natural Resources Environmental Management Project (INREMP).
All these and more have explained for the endless recognitions, distinctions and honors to the province under Chatto since 2010 and 2011 when Bohol was ranked first by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) among the countryâ€™s â€œbest governed provinces.â€
Last year, the province earned its first Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) also from the DILG, which recognized Bohol administrationâ€™s competence and integrity.
Its political will has proved that good deeds for peopleâ€™s good can always triumph with the Sandiganbayan dismissal of the 15-year case involving the joint venture, a model public-private partnership project in the country that has solved the age-long water and power problem in Tagbilaran City.Â Â (Ven rebo Arigo)Â