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Inside Bohol => Bohol News Archive => Topic started by: MIKELIGALIG.com on December 07, 2016, 01:33:14 PM

Title: Development plan to carve tourism niche for Bohol
Post by: MIKELIGALIG.com on December 07, 2016, 01:33:14 PM
Development plan to carve tourism niche for Bohol
By ANGELICA J. SANCHEZ
Published December 9, 2001 by Bohol Sunday Post

IN THE year 2002, development efforts will be directed at carving an eco-cultural tourism niche for Bohol.

The province's development strategy for the coming year would be to establish it "as a major destination for eco-cultural tourism with a strong agro-industrial support through an effective government-private sector collaboration and partnership."

Toward this end, the province has set itself five goals it wants to attain through its development plan. These are: to establish the province's importance and contribution to the nation's socio-cultural and political growth; to establish sustainable eco-cultural tourism and agro-industrial sites in the province to encourage investments and employment opportunities.

To ensure sustainable growth in revenues from major industries; to enrich and continuously develo the dynamic and creative Boholano culture in all municipalities and Tagbilaran City; and to develop a well-informed citizenry in healthy communities are the three other goals.

In coming up with the Annual Development Plan, the Provincial Planning and Development Office has identified six issues and concerns besetting the province, which have become the focus of its framework for development.

Inadequate Support Facilities

Leading the list of development issues is the province's inadequate support facilities - particularly in land transportation facilities and inadequate water for domestic and industrial use.

It has been noted that the rapid increase in population and the number of vehicles has resulted to poor transportation service. Some road sections also experience heavy traffic, especially during peak hours.

Also, some private properties have encroached on the road-right-of-way as a result of the failure of some deputized agents to conduct site inspections before issuing building permits to applicants.

In order the address this concern, the provincial government will implement the infrastructure development and other programs to improve and upgrade roads leading to ecological, cultural and agricultural areas.

Although half of the arterial roads around the province have already been upgraded under the Bohol Circumferential Road Improvement Project, the other half - the Tagbilaran North Road, from Tagbilaran City to Getafe; and the Tagbilaran East Road, from Tagbilaran to Candijay, are mostly paved with old concrete or deteriorated asphalt.

The implementation of the 2nd phase of the BCRIP, beginning this year, is expected to improve these two road stretches and will boost the province's infrastructure support system.

Bohol's nearness to Cebu, Negros, Mindanao and the island of Leyte makes it a potential location for business, thus the urgent need to develop major ports in Tagbilaran, Jagna, Tubigon and Tapal in Ubay.

Toward this end, the province has prepared projects to construct and improve port facilities and terminals to provide comfort to the public and ensure the smooth flow of goods coming in and out of Bohol.

In 2000, the province reported a volume of 613,360.3 metric tons of outgoing cargo compared to the incoming volume of 370,703.58 M.T.
The top five outgoing commodities included limestone, rice, G.I. sheets, salted fish and native products. The top import commodities, on the other hand, were cement, appliances, feeds, manufactured goods and fertilizers.

Although Tagbilaran City has 35 water pumping units operating, its combined water discharge is not enough to meet the standards for domestic and industrial use.

Having no natural bodies of water, the city relies on underground water for its supply, and over pumping has caused water levels to go down, and sea water to seep in.

In order to address this situation, the Capitol is working on strategies toward government-private Entrepreneurship in the water utility, regulating extraction of ground water by the private sector and strengthen the province and city's water supply distribution.

Poor Management of Land Resources

Bohol is facing a serious problem on resource depletion. It is losing about 253 hectares of upland forests and 470 hectares of mangrove area every year.

At the same time, the land area is eroded by 11 percent every year, or an estimated 10 cubic meters per hectare. Erosion has affected eight of the ten watershed areas, with the Inabanga and Pamacsalan already in the critical list.

In order to address this problem, the province is implementing the watershed management/ forestry program. It is an inter/intra LGU partnership to adopt the watershed management concept in development planning.

The Capitol is likewise strictly enforcing the Bohol Environment Code and encouraging the formation of the Bohol Environmental Management Plan.

Likewise, the integrated waste management, a program responding to the waste problem besetting both urban and rural areas, will be set into motion.

The Coastal Resource Management Program, on the other hand, will concentrate on protecting and preserving the province's marine resources, while the Mineral Resources Program seeks to promote the sustainable use of mineral resources.

The province will likewise put up a natural resource center - a one-stop shop information center for the environment.

Prevailing Poverty

The province's population is growing by 2.92 percent yearly, and it will only take 24 years to double it, thus the need to think of ways to accommodate and fulfill the basic needs of a larger population.

A survey among 162,984 families conducted by the Office of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development showed that 22,611 of them are classified as poor, while 110,145 are ultra-poor.

Seventy-five percent of the population reside in the rural areas and derive their income from fishing and farming and are very marginal.
The literacy rate is low, with professionals accounting for only 7.32 percent of the population.

With the prevailing poverty among the population, insurgency remained to be a problem for the government.

To stop the spread of the rebel movement, the Capitol is introducing poverty alleviation programs that could hasten the development in remote barangays.

Livelihood and skills development training programs are also conducted to empower the residents and improve their economic conditions.

Low level of investment

Despite the promise shown by the tourism sector, very little effort has been made toward increasing the attractiveness and appeal of Bohol - such as upgrading tourist services, enhancing promotional activities, or improving support facilities.

Bohol has much to offer in terms of ecological and cultural points of interest. Beyond the white-sand beaches, the Chocolate Hills, unique centuries-old churches, watchtowers, historical landmarks, waterfalls and caves, majority of its natural settings still lay untapped or unexplored.

With the existing major tourist attractions, Bohol has become a magnet for investors in the tourism industry.

The recently completed Bohol Provincial Tourism Sketch Plan, presents and overview of the tourism industry and would serve as basis for the development of a number of thematic and non-thematic itineraries for visitors and excursionists.

Likewise, with its nearness to Cebu City, the provincial government has identified the towns of Loon, Calape and Tubigon as the zone for industrial development.

Nine priority sub-sectors for commercial production have been identified through an agro-industrial planning workshop. These are: cereal, mango tree enterprise, cutflower, livestock, agriculture, rootcrops and vegetables.

LGU's Poor Revenue Generation

The Internal Revenue Allotment remains to be the main source of income - accounting for 80 to 90 percent - among most local government units in the province.

The national government's decision to withhold a certain percentage from the IRA has greatly affected the LGUs' operations, particularly in the delivery of basic services.

Despite the renewed efforts of the Capitol to boost the LGUs' realty tax collections, it has not contributed much because the base on realty taxes is outdated and the last general revision conducted in 1997 yet.

At the Capitol, the provincial government has proposed a P564,692,811 budget for 2002, which is 24.51 percent lower than this year's budget of P748.063 million.

Since the start of the year, the province's maintenance, operating and other expenses has gone down compared to previous years because of the transfer of both the Provincial Electric and Waterworks Systems to the Joint Venture Companies.

It's revenues, however, has consequently gone down too.
For 2002, the provincial government hopes to attain a revenue growth in all its revenue generating activities.

Likewise, it has targeted to provide both management and clientele with fast, timely, accurate and reliable financial information through the Financial Management Information System.

Crime and Insurgency

Although categorized as generally peaceful, the crime volume in Bohol during the first semester of this year has reached 480 cases, bringing the monthly crime rate to an average of 7.2, compared to 7.0 in the same period last year. At the same time, the problem of insurgency has remained an unresolved issue.

The latter situation has affected the tourism industry and the level of investment in the province.

The increase in crime volume, however, has been attributed to the PNP's intensified campaign against illegal drugs, illegal gambling, illegal possession of firearms, wanted persons, illegal fishing and other non-index crimes.

In order to address the issues on peace and order, the provincial government has developed programs for the creation of Citizen's Crime Watch/Street Watch groups in localities and the modernization of the PNP through the use of computers to establish a database linking all municipal police stations.

Building on the gains of the past

Gov. Erico Aumentado, in his message, said the province's thrust contained in the ADP "is in consonance with the policy of the present administration to build on the notable accomplishments of all predecessors and bridge the experience of the past and present to establish a good and honest governance."

He also hopes to balance the requirements of sustainable environment with the province's total development.

Through the ADP, he said, "we will continue to strengthen and concretize our plans in securing the stability of Bohol's economy and sustainability of its multi-sectoral projects that will entice more investments and business activities, increase production and generate employment opportunities and promote livelihood and the general welfare and comfort to our constituents."
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