The 12-year ambitious spatial development framework for the province was approved by the Provincial Development Council (PDC) paving the way for the next administration to sustain the progress seen in this island province
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Director Efren Carreon congratulated Gov. Edgar Chatto and the Provincial Development Council (PDC) for the “continuous socio-economic transformation” of the province.
Richard Año II, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) consultant, disclosed Bohol is in the top list of the country’s next special economic zones which will be submitted to the president in January.
Both Carreon and Año witnessed the presentation, adoption and approval of the 2017-2028 Bohol Spatial Development Framework and Map (BSDFM) during the PDC full-council meeting led by Chatto at Bohol Tropics on Wednesday.
The PDC cited one learning from the development of Region 7 that economic growth is necessary but not sufficient for poverty reduction.
Thus, more need to be done to achieve inclusivity and growth strategies need to have spatial or locational and sectoral dimensions to ensure inclusivity.
“The next coming years will be very exciting” once the big-ticket projects shall have been completed, making Bohol an “envy” to other provinces, Carreon said.
Surer strategies have been identified to attain livable communities, competitive business environment, increased connectivity and productivity, development of human capital, and good governance for a high-trust society.
Flagship projects under the infrastructure development sector include the Cebu-Bohol power interconnection by February of 2021 or earlier and Panglao airport by the first quarter of 2018.
A day before the PDC meeting, Chatto led another crucial conference attended by the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG), officials of the Department of Energy (DOE), University of the Philippines (UP) Advisory Council, and power developers who are keen on investing.
The establishment of a major power plant right in Bohol, specifically either in Ubay, Alicia or Jagna, was among the top agenda items of the BEDAG meeting.
There are other potential sites for power supply development like Danao, Antequera, Garcia-Hernandez, San Isidro and Duero.
The spatial development plan for the next dozen of years likewise includes the Cebu-Bohol Friendship Bridge project which implementation is hoped to start in 2026 until completed in 2035.
The project is yet to undergo a feasibility study and not yet approved by the NEDA Board, which is headed by the president himself.
This was clarified by Carreon who, in effect, reiterated an earlier statement from Boholano NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia.
The construction of inter-island bridges—which include the bridges from Ubay to Pres. Garcia, Bohol to Leyte via Pres. Garcia and Maasin, Cebu to Negros, and Negros to Panay—forms part of the long-term Visayas spatial development framework.
Two more major bridges are to connect Tagbilaran City and Panglao island and Talibon and Bien Unido.
There will be new roads cutting across the scenic highlands of Getafe, Talibon and Trinidad where investments in real property development and socio-economic services have a great potential.
These areas and some interior parts of Bohol have potential for the developments of botanical gardens, public parks, golf course, and many more.
Like power, water supply will be ensured through the three phases of the Bohol bulk water supply and sanitation project.
Until 2025, Bohol will see more improvements of major seaport facilities.
A monorail system with stations at the proposed Bohol business park in Tagbilaran City will connect to the Panglao airport and nearby localities.
There will be foot bridges or overpasses near city school sites with heavy foot traffic.
The Tagbilaran waterfront development is another most anticipated project that involves a boulevard, parks, water treatment facility, etcetera.
Infrastructure development further involves the upgrading of roads, including bridges, to tourist sites, and agricultural area to stimulate the rural economy.
Other major socio-economic infrastructure projects to enhance productivity are the proposed Bohol northeast basin multi-purpose dam, Malinao dam improvement, small reservoir impounding and irrigation systems.
The PDC reported the completed upgrading of 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.
Under the economic development sector is the Bohol integrated and comprehensive support program for agro-industrial development.
It supports the province’s strategy of increasing investments in commodities with comparative advantage, value chain development and providing needed agriculture sector infrastructure support.
The program develops the crops, livestock, dairy, fishery and a central Bohol agro-processing center.
The PDC identified the agri-business and fishery-aquaculture development areas and priority investment areas for high value crops.
Tourism-based economic development includes the so-called 12 Bohol surprise tours that cluster and package different exciting destinations across the province.
These are apart from the tourism growth areas identified in Tagbilaran City.
Economic development has foreign-aided interventions like the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), which has infrastructure, like roads, and global environmental facilities for seaweed and native chicken developments, among others.
SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES
The PEZA consultant asked the governor for an office space while the authority is closely coordinating with the capitol to fast track the accreditation and presidential proclamation of special economic zones in Bohol.
“We will make it happen,” Año said in the PDC meeting, adding that “Bohol is one of the priority areas.”
There will be northwestern industrial zone from Loon to Tubigon, agri-industrial zone clustering Talibon, Ubay and Getafe, and another special economic zone in Jagna.
The Panglao bay premiere flagship tourism enterprise zone will be the first of its kind in the country and one of the flagship tourism economic zones sponsored by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
The TIEZA has been created by the so-called Chatto-Gordon Law or the National Tourism Act of 2009.
A distinct Loon tourism enterprise zone (TEZ) will be established, to include the development of Sandingan and Cabilao islands as the main TEZ islands.
It is also a strategic TEZ for cruise tourism because of the international cruise ship port in Catagbacan, which also serves the ro-ro vessels from Argao and other Cebu areas for tourism logistics with inter-regional links to the central Philippines cruise tourism destinations.
The Panglao zone has been proposed as an integrated tourism and leisure resort community which provides a mix of overnight and day visitor activities, facilities and services.
It has holiday and retirement, residential, leisure shopping, food and beverage, and amusement and entertainment concepts.
The existing city airport will be converted into the “Bohol Business Park” with information technology-based services such as call centers, soft ware and product development, and business process outsourcing.
The park will also have light and low-density industries, tourism-based services, commercial spaces for offices, and food and support services.
Several sites in the province for major residential and retirement village and resettlement projects have been identified.
Also under the social development sector are the proposed drug rehabilitation center in Pres. Garcia and “Bohol Youth Home” in Alburquerque for the rehabilitation of the juvenile youth offenders and children in conflict with law.
Also in Pres. Garcia, educational and training facilities for marine sciences have been proposed to produce graduates who can support the needs of the economic zones and marine-based industries.
Bohol’s agricultural training and research center will be located in Ubay, where a feeder airport for general aviation uses will also be established.
The major upgrading of the existing Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) is soon to commence after its bidding without prejudice to the long-term vision of constructing an entirely new hospital in Cortes.
The Department of Health (DOH) will construct an office near the site of the GCGMH in Cortes while the modernization program for the hospitals run by the provincial government itself is on progress.
A hemo-dialysis center will be established at the Garcia Memorial Provincial Hospital in Talibon.
Several big-ticket projects, also of economic development potential, have been proposed for possible public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement.
These include the multi-use of the province’s 24-hectare lot in Cortes for the new GCGMH, integrated sports complex, arena, and residential and commercial centers.
Other ventures with potential for PPP are the development of a commercial complex at a provincial lot in Dampas, heroes park and recreation center on Banat-i Hill, commercial stalls at the CPG Sports Complex and CPG park, and full conversion of the existing capitol into a commercial complex, all in Tagbilaran City.
The old capitol building is undergoing restoration for conversion into a National Museum branch while a new provincial government center will rise next year beside the Hall of Justice.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is keen on erecting a Bohol branch once it finally selects an appropriate site.
Bohol will also soon have a new Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) command center and more TaRSIER 117 units while evacuation centers will be constructed in strategic areas in the three districts.
In Alburquere, a meteorological radar will be constructed.
Other major administration development projects are the proposed new hall of justice, construction of more police, Coast Guard and fire stations, jails, and improvement of military camps.
The spatial development framework of the province also has several major projects and programs on integrated natural resources and environmental management
These include the facilities and services in Danajon bank to promote better awareness and understanding of biodiversity and marine resources conservation and protection.
The Danajon double barrier reef is one of only few on earth.
The NEDA, PEZA and other national agencies admired the aggressiveness of Bohol leaders to achieve their common vision for Bohol.
GROWTH NOT ACCIDENTAL
All projects, programs and interventions are toward sustainable development and inclusive growth.
According to the NEDA regional director, Bohol’s poverty incidence among families can, three years from now, further dramatically reduce to 17% from 41% 10 years ago.
Bohol’s socio-economic transformation, Carreon said, is “not accidental because it is a product of careful planning, foresight and systematic implementation of development programs.”
Carreon said Bohol now is a “very good case study for students and practitioners of both development and public administrations.” (Ven rebo Arigo)