MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – The Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC-7) has approved the tourism projects of Bohol totaling close to P3.555 Billion, and Siquijor with P460.326 million in a full council meeting via zoom on Sept. 18, 2020.
The RDC-7 has approved the inclusion of the proposed TouRIST Projects of the provinces of Bohol and Siquijor in the Central Visayas Regional Development Investment Program (RDIP) 2017-2022 that was also endorsed through a resolution to the Department of Tourism (DOT) Central Office for funding under its Transforming Communities Towards Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Tourism (TouRIST) Project.
The proposed TouRIST Projects in Bohol Province include the Assistance to Reinvigorate the Tourism (ART) Value Chain with a budget of P9.3 million; Developing Public Markets into Bohol Destination Markets Program with P240 million; Tourist Site Enhancement and Management at P157.81 million; Hygiene Preparedness in Tourist sites with P80 million; Decompression Chamber System at P104 million; Sea Ambulance with P156 million; Bohol Water and Sanitation Project (Phase 1-Bulk Water Supply) at P2,381.871 million; and Solid Waste Management Facility at P425.8 million.
For Siquijor, the proposed TouRIST Projects include the Installation of Solar-Powered Street and Lights along Siquijor Circumferential Road and Roads leading to Major Tourist Sites with a budget of P279.952 million; and Secured Accessibility for Emergency Response (SAFER) Siquijor at P180.374 million.
RDC 7-Economic Development Committee (EDC) Chair Virgilio Espeleta said the endorsement came as the two provinces had complied with the requirements.
Espelita added that the (TouRIST) Project is intended to improve access to priority infrastructure, strengthen local economic development, and strengthen disaster and crisis preparedness in select tourism destinations in the Philippines particularly Bohol, Siquijor, and Siargao.
At the same RDC-7 full council meeting Bohol governor Arthur Yap also proposed that the funds from Bayanihan 2 will be utilized to address the woes of the tourism sector and the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who are the ones badly hit at this time of the pandemic.
Yap pointed out that the Bayanihan 2 funds must be used to take out loans for MSMEs, tourism establishments and transport groups so they can survive in the interim.
According to Yap that Bohol is willing to be part of the solution in also using its credit lines and windows to take out the high-priced loans as long as they are backed and guaranteed by all those taxpayers’ pesos now being given for free to GFIs.
“I hope the GFIs will not take these “free money” and turn around and loan them again to our suffering and close-to-bankruptcy MSMEs and business establishments,” Yap said.
Yap bared that looking into the Bayanihan 2, it tends to allocate the following: P40 billion will be given as a capital infusion to government banks to allow them to extend more loans especially to small firms; P24 billion as assistance to farmers under the DA; P9.5 billion to the DOTr to assist businesses critically affected by the pandemic; P4.1 billion to the DOT and there are billions of pesos more.
Yap pointed out that these funds can be rather used to take out loans of our transport operators and MSMEs. The Provincial Government of Bohol is willing to do this for the small players so the small players can avail of the better terms that the Government of Bohol has been able to secure, “as long as these funds from Bayanihan 2 can also be used to cover the Provincial Government of Bohol,” he added.