Panglaoâ€™s international airport â€“ two years from now â€“ will create economic miracles in Bohol where tourism and commerce can grow by unprecedented degrees, predicted the lady envoy from the worldâ€™s only island city-state economic power.
Singaporean Ambassador Kok Li Peng expressed to no other than Gov. Edgar Chatto her high optimism of how â€œsignificantlyâ€ Boholâ€™s â€œtourism and business arrivalsâ€ can become once the new airport will be operational after its completion in December of 2017.
The woman diplomat from what is also considered Asiaâ€™s â€“ and the worldâ€™s fourth â€“ most influential city described Bohol in her letter to the governor as a â€œbeautiful provinceâ€ after she had herself visited here late last month.
Pengâ€™s bullish projection of progress rush seconded the bold forecast of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III that the airport will multiply by more than thrice Bohol tourists and visitors from current 500,000 to 1.7 million annually.
Chatto is more hopeful of the airport, which is a â€œgame changerâ€ to open Bohol doors to Singapore and other new foreign partners in various economic and development modes.
Singapore itself can provide models because, like Bohol, itâ€™s very high values for infrastructure and environment far outsize itâ€™s otherwise limited area as an island city-state, the governor said.
Its very own Changi airport is one of Singaporeâ€™s best global brands and among the most-awarded in the industry.
Its greening policy has covered the densely populated island city-republic with tropical floras, parks and gardens.
Singaporeâ€™s aeropolis planning, Chatto said, can help guide the development direction around the new Bohol airport and the rise of a business park in Tagbilaran City, most potentially on the very site of the existing city airport.
The city airport will be gone by the time the Panglao flight facility is fully used.
The amazing development to come will integrate more infrastructure facilities like the third Tagbilaran-Panglao bridge and even a monorail, the governor said.
According to Chatto, Singaporeâ€™s â€œattentionâ€ to where and how high Bohol can go â€œshould further tell us never to stop networking internationally and globally.â€
The new Bohol airport is currently constructed in Panglao and bound to be a landmark legacy of the good networking of the country and the province with Japan, Chatto said.
The Regional Development Council (RDC) chaired by Chatto himself reported, based on Department of Tourism (DOT) data that Japan is fast increasing as a market for Central Visayas tourism.
Koreans have remained at the top, though, in foreign tourist arrivals in Region 7, which have the island provinces of Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor.
Chatto said the Singaporean ambassadorâ€™s best wishes for Boholâ€™s progress is more than inspiring to ensure the preparation for other future demands of development like sustainable sufficient supply of water and energy.
The feasibility study for Boholâ€™s bulk water supply is nearing completion while a major island-based power generation is about to be realized, both new investments to open more investments, the governor said.
This is also true to the heightened effort improving existing roads and developing new ones thruÂ initiatives like tourism road convergence and KALSADA Program, the latter having no known prior equal and patterned from the very experience of the province.
House of Representatives tourism committee chairman and 1stÂ District Rep. Rene Relampagos has strongly supported the convergence program, a â€œbirthchildâ€ of Chattoâ€™s own law, the National Tourism Act of 2009 or Republic Act 9593.
The law is also known as the Chatto-Gordon Law as the governor principally authored it when he was congressman while then Sen. Richard Gordon fathered its version in the Upper House.
â€œAll that we have achieved used to be just dreams, and we donâ€™t laugh at people who dream because we, Boholanos, have proved that even small dreams could transform into big realities,â€ Chatto said.
â€œBoholanos are fortunate indeed to have a governor possessed with your vision and will to bring development about,â€ the Singaporean ambassador could not control but flattered in her letter to the Bohol leader.
Peng said Singapore would love having the Bohol governor attending the World Cities Summit in July this year.
â€œWe hope to have the opportunity to host you and provide a platform for you to share your experiences leading Bohol through an unprecedented period of development as well as recovery from the earthquake,â€ the foreign embassy official told the governor.
Not a dream because the devastating earthquake was a worst nightmare, but it has even then brought so many good and positive things to the Boholanos, Chatto said.
Chatto this early led the RDC in endorsing the modification of the scope of works of the Panglao airport to include passenger boarding bridges and extension of the designed runway by an additional length of 500 meters.
Chatto said the fund for additional airport works will be sourced from the savings resulting from the competitive bidding of the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (NBACSEPP), among others.
The PBBs pursue the provinceâ€™s advocacy for a â€˜barrier-free tourism,â€ allowing passengers, including persons with disabilities and senior citizens, more convenience to and from the aircraft deck even during bad weather conditions.
While Panglao airport is still built, the existing Tagbilaran airport is to be further technically upgraded to be capable to accommodating direct chartered flights from Korea, even also China, and flights from new domestic connections.
At each tourist creating two jobs according to industry estimate, the projected 1.7 million tourists drawn in yearly because of the Panglao airport will, thus, generate 3.4 million jobs for the Boholanos.
The RDC also endorsed for 2017 funding the essential programs, activities and projects (PAPs) for the Tagbilaran airport, Bohol port development, and Philippine Coast Guard in Bohol.
The full-body RDC meeting in Cebu City last March 18 also had Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Asec. Maxine Tanya Hamada.
The powerful council reviewed the priority PAPs of the regional line agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, and state universities and colleges for inclusion in their respective agency budget proposals for 2017.Â (Ven rebo Arigo)