Boholâ€™sÂ hosting of ASEAN meetings levered the province at the vantage point in the Asian economic corridors that may inch to global roadmap on commerce.
Gov. Edgar ChattoÂ said the province had to grab the opportunity since the ASEAN hosting â€œbecomes our entry point in our stronger relationships with the nations around the Philippines, especially that on July 22, the Philippine Airlines will open daily direct flights from South Korea to Boholâ€.
In addition, Bohol also expects an additional influx of international tourists and possible direct channel to international development key players when the New Bohol Airport in Panglao starts operation next year.
This is aside from the cruise ship port in Loon that is also expected to open another entry point of tourists when completed, Chatto added.
â€œThe hosting of the ASEAN meeting is significant as Bohol is opening doors and interdependence in the global community starts with ASEAN. In a sense, that is our trajectory,â€ Chatto said.
Â He explained that when the new airport opens next year, the ASEAN will be the direct connections of Bohol.
â€œSo, we are also relating with ASEAN not only on tourism, trade and commerce, but we also relate with them on other components such as socio-cultural economic growth, partnership, and harmonizing our development interest vis-Ã -vis the ASEAN,â€ according to Chatto.
The policy implications of ASEAN agreements, to be clinched later in the Summit, on the economy, trade, and commerce expand to competitiveness of goods and services, among others, he added.
Since international trade and commerce are branches of economics, they are hastened through trade agreements and it is significant that these topics are discussed in the Bohol leg of ASEAN committee-level meetings.
In anticipation of the ASEAN integration, the provincial government undertook long-term preparations for the competitiveness of the skills of Boholanos as workers.
â€œOn our part, we have toÂ develop also the competitiveness in our skills as workers because the comparative advantage of us Pinoys is our skills. We train our people more,â€ Chatto added.
One of the institutionalized preparations that Chatto cited is the implementation of the K-12 which facilitates skills training to make sure high school graduates will be empowered with skills even if they could not still qualify for work.
â€œProviding them with adequate and proper skills training is part of the overall dimension of growth because within the principles of ASEAN, the nations are interdependent and the three pillars of the ASEAN Community- -political-security community, economic community, and socio-cultural community- -include the aim to give opportunities for the poorer sectors of society in the Southeast Asian nations,â€ Chatto explained.
Citing the ASEAN primer, he further said that the ASEAN economic community aims to establish a â€œhighly competitive region competitive region with equitable economic development and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparitiesâ€.
The provincial government also disseminated information materials about ASEAN in schools.
During the synchronized barangay assembly, the ASEAN primer was also discussed and brochures on ASEAN matters were also distributed during separate barangay assemblies so that the people will have better grasp on its significance and impact to the Philippines and Bohol.
Chatto said the Bohol leg of the ASEAN meetings is significant because the delegatesÂ tackled topics on economics where the focus is â€œnot only Bohol but the Philippines as a country and its relation to the ASEANâ€.
Bohol hosts theÂ Intersessional Regional Economic Partnership Trade Negotiating Committee (ISSL-RCEP TNC) meeting of the ASEAN from April 19-21, while Cebu earlier hosted the ASEAN finance deputies meeting.
Other host areas are Laoag, Clark, Metro Manila, Legazpi, Boracay, Iloilo, Bacolod, Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao.