Governor Edgar Chatto delivered his State of the Province Address to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the people of Bohol on February 17, 2017 with the theme “Boholano Local Governance: A Tradition of Thinking Outside the Box and Institutionalizing Innovations.
He pointed out that in 2000, Bohol was among the country’s Top 20 Poorest Provinces. Reports reveal a decreasing incidence of poverty among Boholano families, going down to an unprecedented level of 21.7%, lower than the regional average.
Tourist arrivals have increased, well beyond pre-earthquake levels, to our highest ever, as of November 2106, of 820,640.
Business registration from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has reached 4,304 marking a 20% increase from the 2015 figures. MSMEs generated 11,850 employment for 2016, higher by 35% from the previous year.
This has resulted in very positive changes in employment, with employment rate at 96.3% in October 2016, posting the highest rate in four years. In fact, Bohol’s employment rate is higher than the national average of 95% and the regional average of 94.95 as of Oct. 2016.
There are recorded increases in inventory levels of hog, goat, carabao and chicken. The reduced inventory of cattle is due to the El Niño phenomenon. However, even with the decrease, sufficiency level of cattle still remains high at 413%.
The volume of municipal and commercial fishery production has gone up by 22% and 77%, respectively.
As a testament to all of this, Bohol has a thriving bank industry. Our number of banks is now at 88 from just 65 in 2011. Total bank accounts have reached 590,103 with total deposits reaching P36.84 Billion.
The number of cooperatives has increased by 12.5%, with total assets reaching P2.71 Billion in 2016.
Overall, there was a 12% reduction in crime volume, and a decrease in crimes against persons and properties.
The number of registered vehicles has increased by 14.5%. This will also have traffic implications that we will need to address together with the city and municipal governments.
In 2005, provincial roads totaled 971.351 kms. Due to nationalization through legislation and administrative approval, provincial roads are now at 832.603 kms. As a result, concrete/asphalt roads increased from 159.947 kms in 2005 to 295.477 kms in 2016.
Governor Chatto then presented the accomplishments per Development Pillar based on the acronym of Bohol’s development agenda – InSPIRED HEAT IT Bohol.
On Infrastructure, he said that the biggest contribution to provincial growth is in our roads. Aside from the upgrading and maintenance of provincial roads and bridges, there is he construction of school buildings provincewide and counterparting for farm to market roads under the Worldbank Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) thru the Department of Agriculture and Provincial Government of Bohol
The New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (NBACSEPP) is now ongoing.
Improvement works are ongoing in Terminal and Base Ports in Tagbilaran, Ubay, Catagbacan, Tubigon, Jagna, Talibon & Getafe.
For the Social Well-being and Shelter, the province continue to sustain its Aid to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) and the whole range of programs for Persons with Disabilities, in partnership with the Bohol Federation of Disabled Persons (BFDP).
Facilities are maintained for the Bohol Stimulation and Therapeutic Activity Center, for children with disabilities and the Bohol Crisis Intervention Center, for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence and abuse.
On Peace and Order, the province continues to have a Dynamic Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC), ready to act at all times. The Bohol Joint Task Force Dagon, which is an ideal example of inter-government and inter-stakeholder collaboration for peace and order.
On Interconnectivity, the province continues its convergence with NGAs, LGUs, CSOs, Private Sector and ODA Organizations continues, exemplified by our Provincial Government of Bohol – Civil Society Organizations Partnership Covenant.
The province spearheaded the creation of the Panglao Island and City of Tagbilaran Executive Committee (PITEC), a collaborative mechanism between Provincial Government, Tagbilaran City, Dauis and Panglao on tourism, environment management and other development initiatives, in collaboration with the Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project funded by the USAID.
Recently the province launched Partnership with LGUs: Bohol – Palawan/ Tagbilaran-Puerto Princesa Tourism and Environmental Programs and Policy Development Exchange for PITEC, under the auspices of USAID-SURGE. Through this partnership, PITEC IS thinking outside the box through inter-LGU collaboration on tourism and environmental management.
There is also an ongoing Partnership with the Bohol UP Advisory Council, who offer their technical expertise pro bono, all for the love of Bohol.
The province continues its Official Development Assistance (ODA) partnerships, such as the Philippine Rural Development Program (WORLD BANK – DA), Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) (USAID), Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (ADB-DENR), our partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for our major infrastructure projects, and the aforementioned (SURGE) Project with USAID.
Under the Reforms in Local Governance, the province is implementing the Strategic Performance Management System (SPMS) and the Participatory Spatial and Development Planning, an approach which was highlighted in the updating of the Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP). This is a legacy plan that we have formulated to guide Bohol’s development for the next 12 years, so that we Boholanos can actively chart our development path and not be overtaken by events.
The province has formulated the Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA) and Updated Development Framework, which was done at the very start of this term. There is also a periodic consultation with LGUs, NGAs, and CSOs on development plan formulation and implementation.
On Revenue-Generation and Fund-Sourcing, the governor reported that Dividend income from the Joint Venture Agreement is the third largest single source of local revenue of the PGBh. This is another unique strategy, a non-traditional source of revenue, which required a lot of risk-taking and brainstorming to go outside the box.
The province received multiple awards validating Bohol’s innovations: Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG); “PAGASA Award” conferred to the governor by the Civil Service Commission; inclusion of the governor in the DILG’s Honor Roll, a list of the 10 Outstanding Governors with relentless efforts in waging war against Illegal Drugs and for exemplary leadership in promoting good governance, transparency, business competitiveness and disaster preparedness; Gawad Tugas Award for Land Patent Issuance; Sustained ISO 14001:2004 Accreditation; Outstanding Project Monitoring Award for our Local Project Monitoring Committee.
For Equitable Economic Growth With Environmental Sustainability, there is the Bohol BOSS Asenso Negosyo Caravans, in partnership with the DTI and other national government partners; launching of 7 Negosyo Centers in 2016; Bohol’s BEST (Basic Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Transformation) Program; Information Communications Technology – Business Process Management (ICT-BPM) Development, with major events such as the Digital Bohol Summit and Geeks on a Beach, and many mre.
For Disaster Risk Reduction & Management/Climate Change Adaptation (DRRRM-CCA), the province institutionalized the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO), strengthened Local DRRMOs and BDRRMCs, conducted community-based information and awareness campaign, upgraded DRRM Services, Facilities and Equipment, especially the Completion of the PDRRMC Operation and Relief Center and procurement of additional ambulances for the expanded TaRSIER 117 stations and Upgrading of Other Rescue Equipment.
The province also strengthened operation of TaRSIER 117, as well as its replication in the strategic Municipalities of Ubay, Jagna and Carmen; launched the TaRSIER 117 Quick Response Mobile Application; continued partnerships with NGAs, Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations, League of LDRRMOs, Business for DRRM-CCA and mainstreamed DRRM-CCA in Local Development Plans.
The PDRRMO was recognized for notable programs encompassing the four thematic areas of disaster management and unparalleled commitment to disaster resilience in the Region.
On Health and Sanitation, the province had sustained the Construction/ rehabilitation/upgrading of Hospital Facilities and Equipment such as the New Cong. Castillo Memorial Hospital in Loon.
The Gov. Celestino Galleres Memorial Regional Hospital is currently being modernized while the human resource augmentation capacity development is ongoing that includes the Master’s Degree program for Hospital Management to enhance the chief doctors’ ability to manage their respective hospitals.
On Education and Skills Development, the province continue to give full support to the President Carlos P. Garcia Scholarship Program, and Bohol Educational Subsidy Program.
Partnership with relevant National Government Agencies and Stakeholders has been strengthened. Just recently, there was the Blessing, turnover and unveiling ceremonies of the Country’s first Senior High School Tourism Learning Facility in Lourdes, Panglao, Bohol, and the Agri-Entrepreneur Senior High School in San Pascual, Ubay, Bohol.
On Agriculture and Food Security, the major programs in Crops Productivity, for rice, corn, high value commercial crops, and of course, our BAHAY KUBO FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY, together with our Gulayan sa Paaralan.
The province continues to support Organic Agriculture Development as well as the production of a Special Rice Variety in Bohol. Farm Mechanization Support is also a major form of assistance together with Enterprise Development, Fishery Resources Development and Management and Development of Livestock Commodity Champions.
The province has sustained its effective Veterinary Health Programs, Canine Rabies Prevention and Elimination Program, the Enforcement and Review of Existing Laws and Policies, for which, once again, the Province of Bohol received a plaque of recognition for the implementation of Rabies Program towards the national goal of a RABIES-FREE PHILIPPINES.
For the Meat Safety and Control Program, Bohol was awarded as the “Best LGU on the implementation of Meat Inspection and Safety”.
On Tourism and Livelihood, the province is going full speed ahead with its Tourism Development Program as well as aggressive Marketing and Promotions. The distinct Bohol brand is very well exemplified by “Behold Bohol” tagline, logo and overall theme.
Bohol was the the only province featured in the coronation night of Miss Universe, thanks to Ms. Pia Wurtzbach, Ms. Ashley Graham and the Miss Universe organizers for visiting the island province of Bohol and helping promote Bohol.
On Information Technology, the province’s IT advancement is largely private sector-driven, and is coordinated closely with the service providers who will give realization to the long-held dream of participating actively in the BPO industry. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Globe Telecom have completed upgrading Bohol’s connectivity to the national fiber optic node into fully-protected submarine cables that go through different routes and are ready for commercial use.
The province continues its development and enhancement of Information Systems, which includes the updating and improvement of PGBh and Department Websites.
There is the Enhanced Tax Revenue Assessment and Collection System (ETRACS) implementation in the municipalities is generating good results for our component LGUs.
Even the ten devolved provincial hospitals are benefiting from Information Technology, through the iHOMIS System.
And the province continues to strongly support the Bohol ICT Council.
On Boholano Culture and Heritage Preservation under its Arts Program, the province has hosted a good number of provincial, national and even international arts and culture events.
Soon to be completed, the province is eagerly awaiting the re-opening of the Old Provincial Capitol as the Bohol Branch of the National Museum.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction of Bohol’s damaged churches and heritage buildings continues at a careful and deliberate pace, with the guidance of heritage experts.
The province also holds its regular arts and culture celebrations – such as the series of events we are currently hosting, in celebration of February as Arts Month.
The first batch of forthcoming projects consists of those which are already in the works, or have been given assured funding, or have been identified as urgent:
• Power Transmission Development (Cebu-Bohol Interconnection Project), with the NGCP Terms of Reference soon to be published
• Power Generation Projects Using Appropriate Technologies in Suitable Areas of the Province
• Bohol Bulk Water Supply Clustering
• Establishment Of Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas – Bohol Branch – the seriousness of intent is reflected by the presence of the bank’s top officials today.
• Bohol Youth Home
• Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Regional Hospital, with NEDA Board-approved funding of P2.2 Billion, thanks to the facilitation by CabSec Evasco and Sec. Pernia
• Integrated Area Development in Cortes
• Construction of resilient evacuation centers compliant to the set standards in each of the 3 districts of Bohol
• Feasibility Study for Other Cluster Sanitary Landfills
• Feasibility Study for Waste Water Treatment Facilities
• Feasibility Study for the Establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZ)
• Establishment of Coco Hubs
• Construction of Footbridge/Overpass Near School Sites with Heavy Foot Traffic
• Road Leveraging Linkages to Investments and Trade (ROLL IT) Project, in convergence with DPWH and DTI
The second batch of projects consists of those which are for implementation over the medium and long term, and which will certainly need the support of future administrations:
• A new Hall Of Justice
• The Bohol Business Park, to be assisted by the PPP Center of the National Government
• A proposed Monorail System Connecting Bohol Business Park to the New Bohol Airport and Nearby Municipalities
• Tagbilaran Waterfront Development Project, to be spearheaded by the Tagbilaran City Government
• Sports Activity Areas and Facilities for a multitude of different sports throughout the province
• Residential, Housing and Retirement Village Development
• Construction of Inter-Island Bridges and Roads through the Highlands of Bohol, which will feature, as a primary component, the proposed Bohol-Cebu Friendship Bridge, as well as other bridges connecting the Visayas Islands, in consonance with the Visayas Spatial Development Framework of Regions 6, 7, 8 and Negros Island Region
• Highlands Park and Recreation Areas, at unique vantage points in the highlands of Bohol
• Highlands Residential Development
• Regional Center for Cultural Training of Artists and Cultural Workers
• Educational Facilities for Marine Sciences
Together with our “Behold Bohol” campaign, Governor Chatto highlighted the Bohol First Policy especially with the advent of the ASEAN Summit, Bohol will soon be having to compete on a global scale. Thus, the province must secure work in an international labor market for Boholanos, assure the best quality of Bohol products and services, and capacitate high-level skills for high-level positions in industries.
To end his State of the Province Address, Governor Chatto dedicated his entire speech to the memory of Atty. Mia Manuelita Mascariñas-Green. Her death has left a hole in his heart and in the hearts of many other Boholanos. She was truly loved by everyone who knew her. The thought of having lost her to a senseless act of killing fills everyone with grief, anger and resolve. Grief because her presence will no longer be felt – full of energy, vitality and the sheer joy of life. Anger that her killers have so easily decided to rid the world of her presence, and resolve that those killers will not go unpunished. A manhunt is ongoing without letup, until justice is served. Justice will be sought for Atty. Mia and all others who lost their lives in similar violent incidents. The governor enjoined everyone to unite and continue the crusade for a non-killing society.
To end on a positive note, the governor said that “every challenge gives us an opportunity to rise higher. Let this be our rallying call to make Bohol a province we can be truly proud of. We saw the lowest point in our history after the earthquake. But we have risen. Let us once again show the world that the spirit of Dagohoy lives on. Padayon Bol-anon, Padayon Bohol!”