Interconnected Visayas islands eyed

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Interconnected Visayas islands eyed

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An ambitious 12-year Bohol development plan, with regional counterpart blessings, will link 6 Visayas islands by bridges that will usher unprecedented economic growth.

Governor Edgar Chatto told the CHRONICLE  yesterday that the comprehensive, medium-term plan is pro-active to the goals and aspirations of the province and not” investor-driven” as was in the past.

The islands include Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Leyte, Guimaras and Panay starting out by the estimated P40-B Negros-Panay bridge, followed by the highly well-received Cebu-Bohol Friendship Bridge that also conceived of a barter route for excess Bohol water for excess Cebu electricity.

The plan, which has drawn interest from many including the MVP ( Manny Pangilinan ) group has bright prospects for tolling income for the private sector operators. It will also enhance the tourism and real estate values of both provinces.

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The interconnected bridges was earlier estimated at P114-B (excluding Leyte ) or roughly P1-Billion per kilometer. This is consistent with the “One Visayas Vision and Spatial Development Framework ” approved by the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the NEDA (National Economic Development Authority).

This also has joint approval by the leaderships in Regions 6, 7 and 8 and  Negros Island. . “Economic zones and IT parks in growth areas will be connected by good highways and bridges”with water ,power, transportation and communication support”.

This was bared by PPDO chief and lawyer John Titus Vistal and BPIC head Maria Fe Dominise.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

Private sector participation is key to the take-off of the 12-year plan, according to Chatto, with government providing the infrastructure to make the private sector investment viable.

For one, the banks and private developers are awash with funds and aching to invest in worthwhile, steady investments with promise of high , stable yields.  The province, on the other hand, is set on an infrastructure boom  especially on roads and bridges.

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This could be jointly by the massive Australian road loans and grants , the KALSADA thrust (without local LGU counterparting) and the DOT directed tourism roads executed by the DPWH (department of Public Works and Highways).

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OTHER INDUSTRIES TARGETED

Tourism, the flagship industry, will be aided by the P7.2 Billion New Bohol Panglao Aiport toopen in the first quarter of 2018, the start of  the PAL 320 Airbus at the domestic airport, the Ubay  airport and the new flights of Air Asia for specific holidays for Manila-Tagbilaran as announced on flight yesterday.

Industries will be pulleed away from tourist sites and domiciled  inside special economic zones that will house light, non evasive, non -extractive industries (mining)

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Agriculture which has been traditionally strong in rice, livestock and dairy production -will be moved closer to more vegetable and fruit propagation. Since Mindanao type of banana varieties failed, some new fruits will have to be tried on Bohol’s vast trackof land.

Once the domestic airport closes, the humongous government property can be slated as a huge it hub , out to also attract commercial locators. Transport ancillary routes will lead to the IT hub coming from Panglao and possibly other provinces as well-resulting in a giant terminal in the area.

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The BPO is still the Next Big Thing here and government is closely watching PLDT remove the  technical problems especially in the city area. The former Holy Name University area along the busy CPG avenue as another specialized IT complex has been given studied evaluation and seems like an ideal location to be promoted by the expansive Alturas Group.

The idea of a Metro City, without creating a new entity, to embrace the progressive towns of Panglao , Dauis and others is on the drawing board for  faster socio-economic progress.

ENGAGING VARIOUS SHAREHOLDERS

This  twelve-year Bohol development plan is engaging the Capitol and various sectors to shape what Gov. Edgar Chatto foresees  to be a surer growth and bigger  prosperity of the province.

The aim is to make the “prosperity dozen” become the  “clearer next chapter” of sustained gains and welfare of the Boholanos.

Capitol is now expanding the Bohol Investment Promotions Center (BIPC) in collaboration with the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), other departments, agencies and Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), among others.

One premium factor considered is the next challenge to further create jobs and continuously reduce poverty.

The governor  also shared the province’s strategic direction to the organizers and delegates to the recent Bohol-hosted Open Collaboration of East Asian Nations (OCEAN) 16 Summit held here as Bohol precisely represent a development out of shared partnership. Private national and foreign partners are welcome and necessary.

CREATING THE BEEU

Chatto recently issued an executive order creating the Bohol Economic Enterprise Unit (BEEU) of the provincial government.

It focuses on the areas of agriculture and agri-business, eco-cultural tourism, health care, education and information technology (IT) investments.

But Chatto would also want the “striking balance between equitable growth, sustainable development and environmental dignity in an atmosphere of peace.” SUSTAINED.

This he described as the “foundational value” of the province under his administration shared with the component local government units (LGUs),   the business sector and civil society. ( with a  report from Ven rebo Arigo)

 

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