A Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Bohol official expressed hope that implementation of the P17-million coconut hub in Balilihan town will start soon as he feared that the election ban on public works construction would lead to the project’s delay or scrapping.
According to PCA Bohol manager Emiliano Romero, he is pushing for the bidding process which will be overseen by the Balilihan local government unit (LGU) to be completed within the year.
“Maningkamot unta ang grupo namo sa technical working group and hasta ang LGU na madali ang processing to the extent na ma award gyud ni before October, 2021,” Romero said.
A P17-million fund has already been downloaded to the Balilihan local government unit but Romero feared that the amount would go to waste if it gets reverted back to the national treasury as it remains unspent.
“Once makasugod na ang election ban, mo undang na pud na tanan—laing delay, dugay na kaayo na unya kini atong gobyerno usahay moingon na ‘all unspent money ipa-uli.’ Basig di magasto unya ipa-uli, naa na ra ba unta ang kwarta,” he said.
Starting March 2022, government agencies cannot start new projects until the elections on May 9, 2022.
The official noted that stakeholders in the coconut industry have long been waiting for the project’s implementation.
“Dugay na kaayo ng gipaabot sa Bohol unya lipay na kaayo ang mga taw na naa na ng kwarta unya basin og nana ang kwarta unya di na pud ma-implement,” he added.
According to Romero, the facility should be able to produce export-quality products as hub is intended to process 10,000 to 15,000 coconuts per day.
“Daghan na kaayong VCO [virgin coconut oil] ana so di na pwede na domestic ra ang consumption so we will be targeting the initial market,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Manila-based company submitted an unsolicited Build-Transfer-Operate proposal for the coco hub project on Wednesday.
Romero said that the company has assured that it is capable to meet the requirements set by the government’s technical working group (TWG).
The firm specializes on the design and construction of processing facilities for virgin coconut oil, coconut water, charcoal and coconut flour.
“Ni present sila sa ilang proposal na design, build, operate and transfer concept then sila being experienced na provider anang coconut processing equipment ni present sila but dili to pasabot na sila na because that will be subject to the approval of the TWG ni Governor Yap,” he said. (A. Doydora)