NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
Bohol government, private and church leaders pay tribute to the late former Tourism Secretary Mon Jimenez who passed away last week in Manila at the age of 64.
Among those who conveyed their fitting tribute to the former DOT secretary were Rep. Edgar Chatto, Mayor Baba Yap, Bishop Leonardo Medroso and former Prov’l Tourism Council chair Peter Dejaresco
Former Governor and now First District Cong. Chatto said Jimenez contributed so much to help Bohol’s tourism recovery program in line with the Provincial Government’s Post Earthquake Recovery Plan.
Sec. Jimenez was very accommodating, facilitative and helpful during our trying times, Chatto said.
When Bohol’s heritage churches were damaged by the earthquake, Sec. Jimenez hosted the first meeting at his DOT Makati Office of the official discussion about the possibility of government funding the restoration, Chatto added.
Present in that meeting with then Gov. Chatto were former DBM Sec. Butch Abad, Bishop Leo Medroso and heads of TIEZA, NHI and MN.
It was then decided to task NHI and NM in implementing the project with an allocation of more than a billion pesos from National Government with Jimenez as DOT Sec, he facilitated with USAID Compete the visit to Bohol of Chatto’s friend while still Chair of the Hose Committee on Tourism UNWTO Sec. Gen. Khalid Rafai together with CNN Consultant Anita Maderiata which resulted in the “Behold Bohol” slogan and the Tourism Development Recovery Plan, Chatto explained.
Sec. Jimenez was personally present in Bohol’s launching of “Behold Bohol” at Glorietta Mall in Makati which signalled aggressive tourism promotions and marketing of the province.
This resulted in the fast rebound of the province’s tourism industry, Cong. Chatto said.
The late Sec Jimenez manifests strong affection for Bohol and treasures recollection of his younger years in the province when his father worked here before as provincial treasurer.
For his part, Bishop Medroso said he remembers the late Sec. Jimenez as a very unassuming person, yet sincere and sensitive. He expressed sadness on the demise of the national official to whom he attributed the rehabilatation work of the damaged churches during the strong earthquake.
The late tourism secretary will forever be remembered as the Cabinet member responsible for the start of the Bohol Friendship Park in barangay Bo-ol this city, according to City Mayor Baba Yap.
Sec. Jimenez was the first DOT secretary who supported the need for Tagbilaran City to have a landmark destination, said former Provl Tourism Council chair Peter Dejaresco who worked closely for the approval of the Friendship Park project. Aside from realizing the need for Tagbilaran to become part of the tourism route in Bohol, Sec, Jimenez likewise appreciated the historical significance of the Blood Compact which is the first international treaty of friendship. After he got a birds eye view of the project, he personally worked with TIEZA, the infrastructure arm of the DOT for the immediate release of the initial appropriation of P15 million.