For the very first time, Bohol has landed among the 14 finalists in the search for the Most Business-Friendly Province in the country conducted by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).
The country has 81 provinces and Bohol, an island-province which new modern airport will operate next year, is in the Central Visayas region.
The PCCI annually awards local government units (LGUs), including cities and municipalities, which have demonstrated outstanding efforts in instituting good governance reforms.
These reforms must have promoted trade and investment, transparency, accountability and efficiency in delivering business services to fuel up inclusive growth in the locality.
At the final judging on Wednesday in Metro Manila, Gov. Edgar Chatto presented in five “snappy” minutes Bohol’s initiatives and accomplishments under the five criteria of the prestigious award.
The criteria were based on trade, investments, and tourism promotions; public-private partnership; micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development; quality management system, innovations, and human resource development; and inter-local government relation.
The final judging was done at the Don Emilio Yap Boardroom of the PCCI at the Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City, Metro Manila.
The PCCI will announce and award the winners in the categories of the province, city and municipality during the 43rd Philippine Business Conference at the Manila Hotel on October 19, Thursday.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte will present the awards to the winners of the yearly search which the PCCI, the country’s largest business organization, has spearheaded for over a decade now.
After his presentation—entitled the “Business-Friendly Bohol: An Economic Development and Growth Story”—and final judging, Chatto received a PCCI plaque of recognition for Bohol as a finalist.
Being a finalist—and a first-time finalist at that, is already an achievement of the province and its people, Chatto said.
The other finalist provinces are Aklan, Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Cebu, Davao del Norte, Isabela, La Union, Negros Occidental, Pangasinan, South Cotabato and Tarlac.
Cebu, also a Central Visayas province, is a past winner while Bulacan is obsessed for a third straight title for the Hall of Fame.
The PCCI officials took turns in congratulating the Bohol governor and his team after the presentation and interview by the competent panel of 12 judges.
Chatto thanked the local business sector, thru the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), and all other development partners for the strong tie-up with the provincial government.
Governance by public-private partnership in pursuit of shared leadership to attain development and growth has helped bring Bohol to where it is today, the governor said.
“Our collaboration in Bohol being nationally highlighted and recognized is already an achievement,” the governor stressed.
Like Bulacan, Tarlac already won for two consecutive years, the last one in 2013 when Bohol was devastated by the mighty earthquake, which hit exactly four years ago today, October 15.
From great ruins, Bohol’s multi-faceted restoration works have been “very encouraging,” although in the case of completing the core shelter program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has yet to fully deliver.
The said national agency is awaited to make true its promise to release the remaining fund to one of the implementing groups, the International Office for Migration (IOM), after the assumption of the new DSWD secretary, to whom the governor already wrote.
The other major shelter package has been implemented by the Habitat for Humanity while the province has highly accomplished its own funded program.
Chatto also considered Bohol’s being a PCCI award finalist as an “instant endorsement” of the province to the investors by the leading business group in the country.
“More investors will find Bohol because the PCCI recognition is a testimony that our collaboration is working,” he said.
The PCCI president, businessman George Barcelon, has been appointed by Duterte as a member of the country’s Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Group (LEDAC).
Investors are encouraged since the PCCI award likewise attests to government effort to institutionalize standards in delivering quality services as mandated by Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.
Award nominees must, thus, pass the qualifying indicators in the areas of investment promotion, compliance to the above law, and fiscal transparency.
The LGUs must have established an investment promotion and generation strategy to advance equitable local economic development.
It is deemed important that the LGUs invest in putting up mechanisms that provide guidance to the stakeholders, including investors and citizenry.
The Anti-Red Tape Act, also known as ARTA, has provided a framework in which transparency and accountability in government offices, including LGUs, could be practiced and instituted.
In the PCCI award, a significant weight is given to the ARTA compliance and initiatives of the LGUs, particularly in business processing and licensing system.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) supports the PCCI search through a memorandum circular encouraging all LGUs to participate.
DILG exempts the PCCI award finalists from the business-friendliness criterion of the department’s Seal of Good Local Governance.
According to the PCCI, its award reflects the slogan “What is good for the citizenry is good for business.”
The PCCI commends LGUs that succeed in creating an environment conducive to business, in partnership that achieves ease of doing business benefiting both the business community and citizenry.
Chatto learned of Bohol advancing to the final judging when PCCI LGU Awards Chairman Jose Alejandro and 43rd Philippine Business Conference Awards Chairman Samie asked him in a joint letter to do a “make or break” presentation in just “five minutes.”
The governor was assisted by Provincial Planning and Development Officer John Titus Vistal, Bohol Investment Promotions Center head Ma. Fe Dominise, consultant Linda Paredes, and BIPC research assistants Emerson Pinos and Gian Lamdagan. (Ven rebo Arigo)