THIS EDITORIAL PAGE ARGUED last week that Poverty remains to be the No 1 Public Enemy of the province for its impact on criminality, human dignity and ability of people to make independent political, social and economic choices in life.
In this issue, the Bohol Statistics Office came out with a “clarification” that as of the first semester of 2018, the Poverty Incidence among Boholano families was 21% while those of individual Boholanos is 26%.
There is logic in the “disparity” where poverty level among families is lower than that individually since some of the family members are non-income earning but has to be fed, clothed, given medicine and sent to school even, just the same. When all of these are considered- the individual poverty incidence rises to 26%, higher than 21%.for families.
In fact, in that same NAPC (National Anti-Poverty Commission) statistics reported here recently by the NAPC Secretary, such poverty incidence reflects an individual per capita income of Boholanos at about P12,000 per year or about only P 33 per day. What human being can possibly survive on that kind of daily earnings?
We cited that many of these over 300,000 Boholanos who are below the poverty line are farmers and fisherfolks toiling in the rural areas and Agriculture should be given booster shots in the arm for them to become Middle-Class citizens.
In a recent meeting with tourism stakeholders, Governor-elect Arthur Yap envisions a two-prong attack on development: Tourism and Agriculture.
Yap said in Developmental Economics, the face of Tourism is not measured by just the increasing number of tourist arrivals but also by the positive dent it makes on the lives of most Boholanos. We guess he meant not just the Tourism stakeholders.
We, of course, have always been aware of the so-called economic “multiplier” effects of Tourism. It positively enhances the lives of poultry growers, fruits and vegetable farmers, and peddlers, drivers, tour agents, guides, waiters, stevedores, waiters and hotel and restaurant personnel, divers, souvenir shops owners, entertainers, and masseurs.
And the workers in that poultry and farms supplying products to the tourists staying in Bohol. As well as the banking industry for their financial support for the Tourism stakeholders and employees through their various bank services.
We know that we already have a “built-in” set of iconic tourist sites in Carmen, Panglao, Loboc and Dauis in the pristine beaches, riverboat adventures, tarsier viewing, and the irreplaceable Chocolate Hills that always give one an awe-inspiring feeling no matter how often one views them.
Yap sees the need to develop other tourist destinations if we are to spread the goodies of tourism to as many people as possible. We should pursue and monitor what was started as a One Town-One Tourist Spot and a unique town delicacy even. Too, we have often always wondered why there is no major push for a “Religious Tour” of the province what with our centuries-old churches in almost all the towns -each with their own unique story to tell.
The Ubay airport should be pushed for operation and open the floodgates to ignite the flow of interest into the handsome beaches of Anda and other places that side of Bohol. Added to that would be the truly fantastic sandbars near the northeastern basin of Bohol facing Cebu.
The latter can be an added attraction especially to on cruise-ships-tourists who need not worry about lack of rooms and/or expensive rates by doing a day trip to these golden sand-bars which pop and disappear with the ebb and flow of the sparkling Bohol seawaters.
Much would also rest on the inputs of the Provincial Tourism Council to set directions in shaping the future of tourism in the province rather than leave everything to chance and the whims of some profit-oriented private sector businesses. Perhaps a full-time Executive Director may now be necessary with that giant international airport now starting to hum.
But, in sum, tourism development should cover a bigger area of Bohol.
Governor-elect Yap sees the need to push further the frontiers of tourism for immediate impact on the many who are poor. But, of course, Agriculture, as well.
In fact, after his meeting of the tourism stakeholders, he was set to dialogue with the Agri fishery people to get a first-hand assessment of the nagging problem of high prices of fish in Bohol and then perhaps, we pray, address the need to short circuit the many problems facing rice, coconut and vegetable farmers in the province. And always, let us not forget the Environment.
We should push and welcome the return of DENR Sec. Rey Cimatu to pursue what was left unattended as far as the environmental violations are concerned. We need strong LGU leadership to show dedication to Mother Nature and not put politics or vested business interest ahead of the woes that befall Mother Nature and welfare of the constituency they serve.
For after all, in all of these development thrusts, whether Tourism or Agriculture.the incoming administration of Arthur Yap will only be as strong as its weakest LGU link.
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