TAGBILARAN CITY – Bohol has to diversify its economic activity at this time of the pandemic, instead of concentrating on tourism alone, Governor Arthur Yap said on Monday.
During a video conference with National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Central Visayas regional director Efren Carreon, Yap said diversification is the apt way of managing the economic progress of Bohol now that the region is easing restrictions in fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Carreon called the meeting to give Orient Integrated Development Consultants, Inc. (OIDCI), NEDA’s consultant for the Bohol Provincial Product Accounts (PPA) Project, an opportunity to present the data inventory and the project estimates.
“Right now, what we can focus on is not only on how to reopen our tourism but also food production because this would be the base that we will need, anyway, if we foray into manufacturing activities,” Yap said.
He said the provincial government is willing to invest in building an economic zone to diversify the economic activity of Bohol.
“What is top of mind for me is the issue about the singular focus we seem to have on tourism. And I’m very interested to find what we can do to position Bohol to be able to harvest some of the companies and economic activities coming out of China,” he added.
Yap said he already discussed this matter with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) Assistant Secretary Aster Caberte, citing that for the past two months, there had been reports that “many companies are moving out of China and they would like to relocate in other parts of Southeast Asia”.
He said the DTI has been drumming interest from some investors to come to the Philippines, adding that in Cebu alone, there are also other locators who want to get out of Cebu because of the congestion.
“I feel that’s going to open up opportunities for northern Bohol. We’re looking at Tubigon, Buenavista, Getafe, Talibon. These areas are just across Cebu. They are only about, at its nearest point, 27 kilometers from Getafe. And Tubigon is just a little bit farther than that. In Loon are the islands of Cabilao and Sandingan which are just smacked beside Catagbacan port,” he added.
All these real estate fronting Cebu is open, Yap said, adding the provincial government is willing to invest its funds and resources in building an economic zone that is expected to provide diversity in Bohol’s economic activity.
“We saw what happens when we concentrate on tourism alone and we don’t put enough concentration on food and agriculture. If we cannot diversify into some form of manufacturing, then our economy is always exposed,” Yap said. (PNA)