Thank you ,too, to most major provincial candidates who took time to enlighten the public about what Bohol should look like -at least the next three years- the Â targeted subject of this year’s elections.
To our mind Poverty and the Drug Problem are Â still the main bottlenecks ahead.
Whatever the gains made, the poverty incidence in Bohol is Â still higher than the national average – and Â therefore, much rolling of the sleeves have to be done still.Â And the Drug situation – almost daily killings (mostly drug related) Â is no joke- whether they are vigilante inspired, drug war results or legitimate government operations.
The drug menace is real- it is a tragedy waiting at the doorstep of every family. Drug problem is a black eye to this province. It has been -it still is.Â The HNU poll rating rate said the public thinks that the PNP response to the drug problem is poor(see story this issue). We did not invent those statistics.
At the rate the killings are done- the drug menace should Â have been dissipated greatly by now. A dent has been made-but not enough, it seems. There is a nagging feeling for some skeptics still Â that whoever are protected by authorities- PNP, PDEA, NBI and civilian government officials must be exposed and brought to justice soon- otherwise it will just be the low and middle level drug personalities embalmed in their graves.
Meantime, the planned Rehabilitation Center is today facing major snags- people asking one another who is in charge and where will the budget and technical manpower come from.(see story)
Poverty, on the other hand, can only be licked by job creation and profitable entrepreneurship.
No major businessman will risk his money here if power rates are high Â and Â its consistency remains absent. They have been a problem and they still Â are. Bohol has one of the most expensive Â power rates hereabouts. It is also risk-dependent as it is largely from geothermal sources from far away Leyte.Â The 30-day blackout after Yolanda is a bitter memory that lingers.
The fact is that after almost a decade since 2007 when Â the Leyte-Bohol power source was interconnected, no single kilowatt power has been added.Â We talk ceaselessly of solar, wind and hydro-fine, such projects have gestation periods of 3-4 years still Â and 67 signatures needed from government, according to insiders. Can we afford a power shortage?
Thousands of our coconut farmers (40%) are living below the poverty line and our poor fisher folks had been bringing in only 4 kilos of fish a day from 20 kilos in the 1990s. Someone should keep pushing hard that the national government resolve the P70-B Coconut Levy issue pronto.Â It has been in limbo Â for years- depriving coconut farmers of righteous benefits and has instead Â just been making the banks who house the funds obscenely fat.
Over-fished and dynamited are our seas within the 15 kilometer radius from land. There are Â also some sectors in Bohol considered “waterless” Â still as defined by the NAPSI (government anti-poverty department).Has the Panglao water problem really been resolved?
Tourism continues to “grin and bear” it with some setbacks in our city airport and our major land transportation corporation has a long history of accidents.Â Tourism outfits also need to have to be more realistic view -that with cyber communication and Â fast promotion- sharp tourists can distinguish right away what “value for money ” means. We need to review our tourism rates.
Negros Oriental is now part of One Negros and if we don’t watch out they could grab away tourists from Bohol. Dumaguete City for one is Â already one flourishing city mainly because of the BPO call centers proliferating there.
Bohol only has a press release of PLDT stating it had invested P600-M in fiber optics but to this day businessman and tourists complain of slow internet service. How can Bohol be a rising BPO capital? And that’s one major source of livelihood-our antidote for poverty, remember?
We bask in tourism accolades- but if we don’t watch the environmental degradation of Panglao by illegal waste disposal there- ours is Paradise Lost. We cannot even get our act together and make operational that one sanitary landfill in Albur as Â required by law for all LGUs to have.Â We are good in lip service to environmental protection.
We need to already spend out the P2.2- Billion BEA funds in the next 365 days so we can bring back the victims of the earthquake to normalcy.Â The Â destroyed churches- once our pride of historical and cultural grounds and spiritual haven – how many of them have specific time lines for upgrade and are Â they up to par by today’s reckoning. ?
Many classrooms have been built- and public education is free- but who is attending to the non-tuition related problems of students that prevent them from going to school?
The HNU Polls also indicated that Boholanos rated the government a (-) negative rating for the control of graft and corruption. This means that on the ground – many of Boholanos still feel the bites of the many-headed hydra monster called Graft.
To be fair, the same HNU polls had given excellent ratings to the major provincial officials (see separate story) for the management of the multifarious problems of Bohol. And the fact that almost all of them are on route to a landslide victory in May means they Â must have done something right. Or their opponents did not propose anything better than what they already did.
The Editorial is simply meant to emphasize that whoever wins the polls in May must realize that the easier part of the battle is winning the elections. The bigger, harder war is licking the problems of Poverty and Drugs.
After Â raising and Â drinking the goblets of wine for Â victory at the polls- they should be ready to hit the ground running. Another three years of hard work and sacrifice. Â But that is just being true to the fresh mandate that will be given onÂ May 9.