NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED BY THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Calling Governor Arthur Yap an “estranghero with a “complicit” Vice Governor Rene Relampagos and 1st District Congressman Edgar Chatto, former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Ernesto Pernia vented his bitter disappointment and extreme frustration over the governance of the present administration.
Pernia told the Chronicle that “Bohol’s economy under the present leadership has gone from good to bad” citing the state of affairs of the Boholanos as “miserable.” with Yap as a “weak economist.”
Pernia stressed that “I hope that this coming election, Aris Aumentado will win because he is a Boholano and the son of the late Governor Erico Aumentado in lieu of this stranger (referring to Yap).”
Pernia lamented that the present situation in Bohol does not look good and to begin with, the root cause is we are governed by an “estranghero”
“The best governor should be a Boholano and a real Boholano because we can expect that his heart beats for Bohol, unlike a mercenary whose main pursuit is to make money,” according to Pernia.
“In Cebu, they chose a Cebuano as governor, in Ilocos, an Ilocano, why in Bohol we opted for an “estranghero” with a different orientation and culture.”
Pernia also pointed out the stained reputation of Yap as a public servant facing a string of complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman and cases filed before the Sandiganbayan during his tenure as Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary.
Engineer, Professor and Historian Jess Tirol in his widely read Bohol Chronicle column on July 14, 2019, wrote that after 120 years, Boholanos elected as governor another non-native Boholano, with Yap as the second non-native Boholano elected as governor.
Don Bernabe Reyes was elected in February 1899 and headed the Republic of Bohol when war broke out between the Boholano army and the Americans. Reyes did not join the fight and retreated to Dauis under American protection.
According to Tirol, the Boholanos resented his non-support because Reyes, who did not grow up in Bohol, could not understand the cultural idiosyncrasies of the Boholanos.
Reyes and Yap, both lawyers who hail from Luzon and scions of rich families, were steep in the Tagalog culture and both married Boholanos, Reyes to Bernardina Fortich of Tagbilaran and Yap married Carolyne Varquez Gow of Loboc.
According to Tirol’s article, “I already hear some grumblings from my friends. It is not about the ability or capability of Yap but his insensitivity to Boholano pride.
Tirol concluded in his article that if Yap will not heed the complaints of the Boholanos, his “brilliant accomplishments will go the way of Governor Bernabe Reyes.
With regards to his controversial residency in Loboc, on May 13, 2010, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) 2nd Division dismissed the disqualification case for lack of residency filed by the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) questioning the then former Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Yap’s candidacy for a seat as 3rd District Congressman of Bohol.
Pernia did not mince words when he found unacceptable the acquiescence of both Relampagos and Chatto in giving Yap a free hand in the administration of the affairs of the provincial government.
Recalling his observations, and conversations with persons with full knowledge of the workings of the present administration, Pernia took exception to Relampago’s glaring concurrence to Yap’s prime concerns instead of putting the general welfare of the Boholanos as a top priority.
Pernia, baffled by the marked change in their relationship with Chatto, surmised that the immediate cause was his critical comments against Yap recalling the past close relationship that nurtured the common desire for the upliftment of the Boholanos.
Pernia reminded the Boholanos about the saying “when you sow the wind, you will reap the whirlwind” meaning that when you sell your votes we must expect serious consequences because of our bad actions.
Pernia served as Socioeconomic Planning Secretary under President Duterte from June 30, 2016, to April 16, 2020, and is a Filipino economist, writer, and professor emeritus at the University of the Philippines School of Economics.
His professional career spanned stints with the International Labor Organization, Asian Development Bank as a senior economist, World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization, US Aid, and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. (Chito M. Visarra)