Gov. Edgar Chatto thanked the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board led by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte for approving two projects that sum up to Boholanosâ€™ socio-economic well-being.
These are the variation design for the new Bohol airport, which construction in Panglao is on-going, and modernization of the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH), the latter costing over P2 billion.
Chatto said the airport project adjustment will cause to construct three boarding bridges and additional 500 meters stretching the runway to a total of two and a half kilometers.
Meanwhile, Chatto reported that Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Sec. Mark Villar already authorized the bidding for the P25.885 million feasibility study and advanced engineering design of the â€œthird bridgeâ€ linking Tagbilaran City and Panglao island.
The new offshore bridge connector is in anticipation of the projected development upsurge owing to the modern airport that can cause an unprecedented volume of traffic.
Approved together with the airport design variation by the NEDA Board headed by the president Wednesday night, the GCGMH modernization is expected to revolutionize the government quality health care for the Boholanos.
The GCGMH project will hugely complement Chatto administrationâ€™s own modernization program for the 10 hospitals managed by the provincial government itself.
The GCGM, Boholâ€™s biggest public hospital, is under the national government and supervised by the Department of Health (DOH).
NEDA Director-General Ernesto Pernia called Chatto by phone immediately after the board meeting to relay the good news for Bohol.
The airport and hospital projects were among the nine major national projects approved by the board after their favorable endorsement by the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee (ICC).
Chatto clarified that the approved variation works are very much a part of the airport project, which construction phase is on progress.
While the airport is constructed, its upgrading has been deemed necessary this early and, thus, the variation design proposed to include the three boarding bridges.
The design improvement is consistent with Boholâ€™s advocacy for barrier free tourism and travel, giving convenience to airport terminal users who are persons with disability and the elderly, and the passengers in general.
The extended runway is in preparation for bigger international flights as the demand for foreign air travels to Bohol can surely gradually rise, according to the travel and tour industry.
Including the additional half-kilometer runway length, the variation was endorsed by the provincial government, Regional Development Council under Chatto as chairman, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), NEDA-ICC and, ultimately, NEDA Board chaired by the president.
With the variation works now approved, the Japan Airport Consultants (JAC) and contractor Chiyoda-Mitsubishi Joint Venture (CMJV) reiterated their assurance to complete the project on its new, â€œcatch-upâ€ schedule in March of 2018.
Once put in place, the new GCGMH facility will â€œreallyâ€ address the problems of congestion, waste management and other major and critical concerns, even the lack of oxygen, as it highly improves competence and services, Chatto said.
The modernization plan includes the manufacturing of oxygen not just for the GCGMH but for other hospitals in the province and a mental health facility, which Bohol has none at present.
At the National Health Summit in Pasay City Thursday, the governor personally thanked DOH Sec. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial for strongly supporting Boholâ€™s health agenda.
Chatto thanked for the full support of NEDAâ€™s Pernia, and Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco who are Boholanos in the Duterte cabinet.
â€œThe approval breezed through the NEDA Board. It did not pass through several discussions,â€ the governor said, quoting Pernia.
Rep. Rene Relampagos has strongly lobbied in Congress the upgrading of the Gallares hospital, which existing bed capacity the First District solon wants to even more than double once the hospitalâ€™s category is raised a level higher.
CITY PORT CONNECTOR
In a central office memorandum, DPWH Regional Director Ador Canlas has been authorized to procure local consulting services for the feasibility study and advanced engineering design of the new offshore bridge connector between Tagbilaran City and Panglao island.
The memorandum, dated September 5, this year, was approved by Sec. Villar after Canlas asked the central office to approve the study-design request, which he said was â€œinitiatedâ€ by the governor.
It was also signed by DPWH Director IV for Planning Service Constante Llanes, Jr. and Undersecretary for Planning and Public-Private Partnership Maria Catalina Cabral.
Chatto already secured the P25.885 million fund for the study-design during the time of then DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson.
The bridge connector project was endorsed by the Provincial Development Council (PDC) and Regional Development Council (RDC), both under the chairmanship of Chatto.
The bridge is to meet the projected three-fold growth in the arrivals of visitors bound for various tourist destinations in Bohol and Panglao island by year 2030.
It will provide an efficient intermodal transport connectivity between the new fastcraft terminal at the city port and Panglao airport.
The project can reduce travel time by 45 minutes to and from the tourist spots in mainland Bohol and Panglao by the provision of a bridge to bypass the cityâ€™s central business district.
The cityâ€™s urban traffic will be decongested through the construction of an offshore road directly linking the fastcraft port and new bridge.
The project will enable the execution of the recommendations of the â€œDepartment of Tourism (DOT) â€“Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Sustainable Tourism Management Plan for Central Philippines, Bohol Cluster Destinations.â€Â (Ven rebo Arigo)