NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
First District Congressman Edgar Chatto is filing a House Bill to establish economic zones in the municipalities of Loon, Calape and Tubigon.
The move aims to enhance investments in the province and open more job opportunities for Boholanos.
This will form part of development priorities to support the province’s agro industrialization and sustained economic growth. It will support the provincial government’s development plan that will diversify economic development strategies aside from tourism, agriculture and Information and Communications Technology.
Consultations are ongoing with the Provincial Government and the concerned municipalities.
There is potential seen in Loon, Calape, Tubigon with its deep natural harbor along Bohol strait, conducive for a port bulk transport terminal and container yard.
With the increase in the manufacturing industry and trade activities in Central Visayas in general and in the Cebu-Bohol Economic Basin in particular, the proposed ecozone which are in the northwestern part of Bohol facing Cebu is potential for investments particularly in coast-oriented or port-related industries.
“Further, the development of many tourism sites in the area will definitely complement purpose of the ecozone,” Cong. Chatto says.
The areas are poised to be a tourism enterprise zone with the development of Cabilao and Sandingan Islands in Loon and Pangangan Island in Calape, as well as further growth in Tubigon.
There is also the ongoing development of the Catagbacan Loon International Cruise Ship Port.
Roads connecting to the proposed economic zone to major tourism sites had also been upgraded in anticipation of economic activities in the economic zone.
The establishment of an economic zone will contribute to dispersal of development of Central Visayas and the country.
Fiscal and non fiscal incentives are planned to attract investments in the zone.
“This comes more important as we have seen in this pandemic,” he continues referring to the spike in Covid cases in the province when Boholanos came home from Manila, nearby provinces and overseas at the height of the pandemic.
“If we have our own ecozone, more investment and employment opportunities will be opened in the province. Hopefully, this will encourage Boholanos to stay.”
He underscores that the economic contribution of the ecozone will not only accrue to the province but to the entire country’s development. It is in line with the administration’s program to generate employment opportunities and reduce, minimize, if not to totally eradicate, poverty especially those living in the rural areas or countryside.