NEDA Regional Director Efren Carreon cited good economic Â growth indicators for Bohol Â like the increasing tourist arrivals from 389,000 in 2013 to 455,000 in 2014 and 602,000 in 2015, the latter posting a 32% increase.
The increase percentage last year was â€œa very high tourist arrival growth rate—more than double the regionâ€™s 14% increase—proving a robust industry in Bohol.â€
If sustained, which Carreon believed will be, especially when certain big-ticket projects like the Panglao airport will be completed, then Bohol can hit the one million annual tourist arrival mark in 2019.
This will be â€œvery good for hotels, resorts, restaurants and transport businesses as well as for the graduating students who need jobs since more establishments and facilities will be put up,â€ he said with confidence.
But Bohol has to be more prepared in terms of support infrastructures, reliable power and water supplies to meet the challenges of development, according to the NEDA official.
The provinceâ€™s power consumption, on the other hand, grew significantly from 283,000kwh in 2014 to 313,000kwh in 2015, indicating an around 10.5% increase as against the regionâ€™s 4.9%.
Carreon commended the province for prioritizing power development, which is also a premium concern of the RDC, â€œbecause we know the implication to development when we do not have reliable, sufficient power.â€
Power interconnection between Cebu and Bohol is included in the development plan of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), targeted for 2020,
Bohol needs a â€œback-upâ€ power connection from Cebu to avoid a repeat of the lingering total blackout in Bohol when the Leyte power system was devastated by super typhoon Yolanda.
Further, the NEDA regional chief said that despite the economic expansion here, Bohol enjoyed â€œa very stable inflation rate of 1.5% compared to Cebuâ€™s 1.8% in 2015, which seem to indicate stable prices of goods and services compared to Cebu.
Extending his analysis, Carreon said inflation is expected to rise when there is continuous economic expansion because demand for goods and services do get high.
By NEDAâ€™s assessment, this has fortunately not happened to Bohol because of available goods and services and the efficiency of distribution of goods, both from Bohol and those coming in-implying good logistics.
He challenged the Boholanos to â€œtake good care of our agriculture sector,â€ the major source of food which prices would tend to go up if there are no or less farm products.
The improvement of irrigation dams will boost agricultural productivity, a major economic driver.
In the coming years, these goodÂ figures will even dramatically improve when big projects are fully done, Carreon said.
Carreon cited the recent NEDA Board approval of the design variation works for the P7.7 billion new Bohol airport, which construction is on-going, and P2.2 billion modernization of the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital.
By NEDAâ€™s monitoring, the airport projectâ€™s concrete implementation was already 10% accomplished as of September until its completion in the first quarter of 2018. This is a year late than the original projection, though.
A modern Gallares hospital definitely implies quality facilities and services that will be accessible by the Boholanos, who will no longer go to Cebu or even Manila for treatment.
Carreon likewise cited the upgrading and expansion of the different ports, which are strategic to improving physical and economic connectivity with the rest of the growth centers in the country and spur further economic expansions here.
It was known at the provincial Development Council (PDC) Executive Committee meeting last week that the Tagbilaran City port has grown to P110 million in revenue from P22 million at the start.
The port has averaged 4,500 passengers a day and, just last October 8, passengers reached 9,000, making Bohol number three in port passenger traffic in the country.
â€œIn a few years, Bohol will enter or participate in the information technology-industry and business process management-business process outsourcing (IT-BPM-BPO) industry.
He said the fiber optic network has been installed and areas for potential IT parks identified. People are hoping thatÂ there will be no more road blocks now that these are in place-after several years of discussion.
Carreon estimated that â€œif there are 1,000 call center workers in Bohol, around P15 million fresh money comes in every month,â€ referring to the salaries generated.
The NEDA official imagined the â€œtremendous amount of economic linkagesâ€ to be created.
Cebu has some 100,000 IT-BPM workers whose total salary, he said, easily translates to P2 billion monthly, an amount that creates a lot of economic demands for goods and services.
â€œSooner, I will be seeing Bohol participating in the IT-BPM as the next wave province,â€ Carreon boldly predicted.
SALUTE TO BOHOL
â€œI salute to the Bohol governor, your leaders, for their foresight in proposing impact projects to improve socio-economic cpondition,â€ the NEDA director declared.
He stressed that Boholâ€™s socio-economic standing today is a product of careful planning and projection, drawing constant inspiration from Garcia who is Boholâ€™s most illustrious son.
Chatto said â€œwe know that Garcia dreamt to see one day a Bohol that is so developed and prosperous because he knew that there would be Boholanos after him who could carry on his vision.â€
Carreon wished all the best that the Boholanos deserve as he vowed his agency to keep working for a much better Bohol.
The CPG Day commemoration was also highlighted by the recognition of the capitol-sustained recipients of the CPG Scholarship Program, which was created by a provincial ordinance authored by Chatto while he was vice governor.
There was likewise a ceremonial launching of the playing on-air / broadcasting of original Boholano songs/musical compositions on all radio stations in the province.
As a tradition, this yearâ€™s CPG Awards recipients were named and honored—Dr. Cristeta Tirol in the field of education; Joseph Gara, music; Emma Castillo, community service; Val Anthony Uy, sports; and Arsenio Lagura, Jr., heritage.
Alberto Rodolfo dela Serna, the first Mr. Supranational Philippines 2016, received a special citation.
A special presentation was performed by the Holy Name University (HNU) Chorale, the mixed choir category gold medalist and folklore category silver medalist during the recent 1stÂ Lanna International Choir Competition in Thailand.Â ( with report from Ven rebo Arigo)