NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Gov. Art Yap, this early, has announced that he is ready to run again for governor in the 2022 election.
“I will be seeking re-election whoever is against me,” says the first termer governor during a round table luncheon meeting with the local media at the Capitol last Friday.
This statement came amidst reports that last termer Rep. ArisAumentado will run for governor in the next election.
Quarters closed to Aumentado said the gubernatorial bid was decided after the young solon was picked as one of the provincial pillars of newly installed House Speaker Lord Peter Nograles.
Aumentados are known to hold a command vote in Bohol’s second congressional district. The strength of Aumentado is perceived to be boosted with his close alliance with Rep. Alexi Tutor of the third district, thereby controlling the majority of the electorate in the 2nd and 3rd districts.
“I still have many plans,” a good number of them being “derailed” by the pandemic, Gov. Yap said.
He cited his dream to bring an economic shift towards the establishment of the special economic or export processing zones, among others. (The internet connection, however, remains a grave problem here).
Bohol is to be directed with policies that Yap believes can possibly create significant impact on economy and lives.
THE NEW NORMAL
For one, Yap is unrolling his plan of substantial infrastructure spending as “we stick to activities with higher economic multiplier effects.”
The governor is worried by the stunning disparity in the distribution of the gross value added (GVA) in the major sector of the economy of Bohol. Before being governor, Yap was a three term congressman (nine years).
He on Friday briefed the media on the gaps in the contributions of the major economic sectors which are services, industry and agriculture.
In 2016-2018, as much as 78% of the total contribution to the local economy came from services, with tourism providing the bigger chunk.
Yap noted that agriculture, for which the province is predominant, only accounted for 5% while industry contributed just 17%.
His administration’s financing scheme in 2021 will include aggressive program of farm mechanization and widespread water provision development and improvement.
Infrastructure spending that involves massive waterworks improvement and water source development across the province is imminent next year- a project of high returns, according to Yap.
Yap vowed to assist the local government units (LGUs) in financing their water projects.
To this date, the provincial government itself has already spent much in financial aid for water projects in the barangay and municipalities.
Through the province, banks are willing to assist the LGUs with low interest.
The general state of both the economy, whether industrial or agricultural, and human living condition are wanting in waterless areas.
A shift of economy to create more value for agro-food industry is also in the mind of the governor.
He will connect the hog industry to the enlarging corn producing sector and to food processing groups.
Yap thanked Pres. Rodrigo Duterte for sending P15 million micro-finance fund.
The governor would have the amount used to provide freezers for 600 women groups for their food processing livelihood.
There should be value added in every sector of agriculture, he said.
Yap said COVID-19 prevention is definite to continue, but tourism has to be brought back to life.
Yap challenged the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the country to open bilateral air links with sure, safe foreign tourist markets.
Bohol tourism’s “bubble within a bubble” opening to only MICE visitors from November 15 to December 15 only registered less than 40 tourists.
MICE stands for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.
In just five days since Bohol allowed the entry of frequent domestic individual travellers (FITs) on December 15, nearly 160 tourists were recorded, the governor said.
But Yap also said the number is blurred to insignificance by the fact that Panglao town alone has a carrying capacity of 3,000 tourists daily.
Meanwhile, the government has approved the extension of the repayment grace period for bank-indebted operators of tourist transport units to March 31 next year.
But the governor would want them given 72 months for enough “breathing space” or the DOT and DTI Small Business Corp. to grant, not lend out, sufficient parts of the billions allocated to the agencies under the Bayanihan 2 Law.
What the pandemic-paralized tourist transport sector needs is not another loan but a grant that will tie them over and rise up again, Yap concluded. (with reports from VenArigo)