Governor Edgar Chatto in his final State of the Province Address (SOPA) highlighted his administration’s achievements during his nine-year tenure as the highest-ranking government official in the province, brushing off denunciations by his critics from the opposition which bombarded him throughout his governorship.
“I believe that people may destroy your image, stain your personality, but they can’t take away your good deeds, because no matter how they describe you, you will still be admired by those who really know you better,” said Chatto in his speech delivered at the Bohol Cultural Center in Tagbilaran City.
Chatto highlighted the province’s economic progress through growth in the agriculture, tourism, banking, and MSME (micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises) sectors.
The governor noted that growth experienced in the past years was expected to be sustained, if not surpassed, with the opening of the Bohol Panglao International Airport, which has been projected to draw more investments to the province.
According to Chatto, tourist arrivals continuously soared to 1.4 million in 2018 from 389,767 in 2013, the year when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake jolted Bohol, crippling the province’s services sector and various other industries.
A Department of Tourism data presented by Chatto showed that tourist arrivals grew to 438,908 in 2014, to 602,257 in 2015, to 1 million in 2016, and to 1.1. million in 2017.
“At 1.4 million tourist arrivals in 2018, this is a staggering 32 percent increase over the previous years, when we were down to only about 300,000 immediately after the earthquake,” he said.
The steady increase in tourist influx consequently bolstered the growth of the hospitality industry as the number of accommodation facilities and commercial guest rooms grew to 727 and 8,445, respectively in 2018 from 232 and 3,912 in 2013.
“There has been a corresponding increase in the number of accommodation facilities, increase in air passenger traffic and increase in number of flights,” he said.
Chatto also presented figures from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which indicated a decrease in crime incidence and an increase in employment rate, respectively.
A Bohol Provincial Police Office data showed that crime volume steadily dipped from 9,218 in 2015 to 8,214 in 2016, to 7,881 in 2017 and to 6,765 in 2018 while a PSA data indicated that employment rate climbed from 93.6 percent in 2013 to 94.8 in 2014, to 95.6 in 2015 and to 96.3 in October, 2016.
Chatto also noted improvement in the MSME sector with growth in registration from 3,168 in 2013 to 6,020 in 2018. The MSME sector in turn generated employment for 12,569 individuals in the same year.
From P690 million in 2013, investments in the MSME sector ballooned to P2.1 billion in 2018, Chatto said.
Chatto who won the gubernatorial seat in 2010 and was reelected twice in 2013 and 2016 is running for congressman of the First District, a post he previously held for three terms from 2001 to 2010.
He is running against former Tagbilaran City mayor Dan Lim. (R. Tutas)