Brochures of Bohol tourist spots found their way to the World Travel Mart in London to solicit additional influx of tourists from the world cultural capital and European countries to the province.
Third District Rep. Arthur Yap brought the Bohol tourism brochures himself as he left for London on November 3 with some congressmen and officials of the Department of Tourism for the event.
Yap also espoused further tourism boost for Bohol by passing a Bill proposing the creation ofÂ Bohol Port Commission to operate separate from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
â€œIn order to further the progress of the local economy, to enhance its promotion as a tourist destination, and over all, to advance the development and welfare of the Boholanos, there is a need to drastically alter the systems and management of sea ports of the province. There is a need to establish an autonomous provincial port body similar to that in progressive Cebu Province,â€ Yap explained.
He underlined the significance of a number of ports present in the province in promoting Bohol as a tourist destination.
â€œThe province has consistently been in the top ten tourist destinations in the Philippines.Â As a primary eco-cultural tourism destination, the entire Island Province of Bohol, by virtue of Republic Act No. 9446, has been declared as a national tourism zone,â€ Yap added.
In the proposed measure, Yap proposed to establish the Bohol Ports Authority which shall be separated from the PPA and operates independently in administering and managing all the facilities of the ports in the province.
â€œA Bohol Port Commission shall be established. It is to be composed of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) who shall be the chairman, the provincial governor who shall be the vice-chairman, and five commissioners who shall elect among themselves the general manager,â€ Yap elaborated.
He further explained thatÂ the Bohol port commissioners who are to be appointed by the President of the Philippines shall represent the ship-owners and shipping operators, cargo-handling labor sector and business sector.
The general manager takes charge in directing and controlling the management of the day-to-day business and operations of the ports.
â€œWith the passage of this bill, Bohol Province shall not only enjoy tourism growth, it shall also enjoy a robust economy and progressive society,â€ according to Yap.
He cited that the port of Tagbilaran is the main seaport in the island province of Bohol that serves as the main mode of entry, more so than the airport, for travelers to and from Bohol.
â€œThe port attends to more or less 5,000 passengers daily on board fast crafts and regular ferries coming from Cebu, from Manila and other cities and provinces in the south like Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Dipolog and Dumaguete. The Tagbilaran seaport also caters to cargo ships. It has an average cargo handling capacity of 49,000 tons. It can accommodate 10 to 20 footer vans with container traffic of 5,142 TEUs,â€ Yap noted.
He also cited the Tubigon port about 54 kilometers from Tagbilaran City which has just been newly renovated with newly-completed two roll on-roll off (RORO) terminals.
â€œThere are several and regular shipping companies that service the port with several vessels plying the Tubigon-Cebu City route. Being almost adjacent to Cebu City, the port plays host solely to sea vessels plying the Tubigon-Cebu City route. It is a major choice of travelers bound for Cebu and vice versa because of its numerous boat schedules,â€ Yap added.
He also mentioned Jagna Seaport which is considered as the gateway portal to Mindanao that was once the main hub of maritime activities in Bohol.
â€œHowever, due to the upgrading of other ports of Bohol, the volume of passengers dwindled. Lately however, the Jagna Port was expanded. It is now part of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) system conceptualized by the government to interconnect by land and sea the island provinces of the country through RORO, cargo vessels, ferry boats, and fast crafts,â€ according to Yap.
There are also smaller ports like the one in Talibon that serves travelers hailing from Cebu City; Ubay which is a principal gateway to Leyte, and those coming via bus trips that pass by the Mayon Volcano, Sorsogon, crossing the sea on board a RORO boat to Samar, then to San Juanico Bridge and to Leyte; the port of Loon wherein RORO vessels ply from Argao in Cebu.
Yap also mentioned the port of Getafe, the nearest to Cebu City, and where many large outrigger boats ply.
The other ports include the Asinan Port of Buenavista, the Daet River Quay and Inabanga Port in Inabanga, and the port of Clarin, all primarily designed for smaller vessels such as motorized bancas or outrigger boats and fishing boats.
â€œThese seaports are instrumental in enhancing investment opportunities in the province. They are likewise the keys to agro-industrial development and the flourishing of trade and commerce,â€ according to Yap.