Gov. Edgar Chatto lauded the national socio-economic and finance agencies for pursuing the ambitious project to link Visayas islands by super bridges between provinces, including Bohol to Leyte and Cebu to Bohol.
Chatto expressed his great appreciation to the national government through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Department of Finance (DOF).
Also known as the bridges link package, the project is part of the national “Build, Build, Build” agenda to connect Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Chatto said the bridges link was already incorporated in the long-term Visayas Spatial Development Framework (VSDF) being approved by the three Regional Development Councils (RDCs) in the Visayas.
In 2015, the Visayas leaders met during the Regional Development Committee (RDCom) conference in Tacloban City, Leyte where they passed Resolution No. 3-2015 indorsing the plan as part of the One Visayas Vision.
The VSDF was adopted in the same meeting by the Visayas leaders attended by the chairmen of the RDCs of Regions 6, 7 and 8 or Eastern, Central and Western Visayas, respectively.
Chatto was then the RDC-7 chairman.
NEDA Regional Director Efren Carreon said that in its meeting in Cebu, the RDC-7, then still chaired by Chatto, approved and indorsed the plan to the national government through Resolution No. 9, Series of 2015.
NEDA. Sec. Ernesto Pernia invited Chatto to the Philippine Economic Briefing in Cebu City last week during which DOF Sec. Carlos Dominguiez bared the whole bridges link package.
Pernia visited the governor at the house In Quezon City last Saturday and they planned of conducting the economic forum right in Bohol.
The bridges link involving Bohol includes the 24.5-kilometer Cebu-Bohol bridge, one-kilometer Bohol-Lapinig island bridge, and 18-kilometer Lapinig-Leyte bridge.
Lapinig island is part of Pres. Garcia, an island-town in the Second District of Bohol.
Chatto clarified that project details was already included in the Bohol Provincial Development Council (PDC) Development Plan and favorably indorsed by the RDC.
The plan further envisions the establishment of upland highways to connect mountains from Getafe to Talibon and then Trinidad until Ubay.
Once realized, the upland highways will balance the growth and development of the north and south of Bohol, thus, reducing the disparity in income and wealth distribution.
The development will further reduce Bohol poverty index, which has dropped from 50.2% in 2002 to 21.7% now, or almost level with the national average of 21.6% and lower than the regional average.
Agriculture, tourism and information communications technology (ICT) remain the key investment pillars which will bring more jobs and livelihood to the Boholanos.
Chatto said with the new Bohol Panglao airport opened in August this year, Bohol will definitely contribute more to help realize the national development agenda.
Meanwhile, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) already acquired the lot—near the Panglao airport— for its full Bohol branch and construction will start after groundbreaking soon
The governor confirmed this latest development on the project from a top official of the BSP, also known as Central bank.
Chatto reported the update during his weekly media forum “Kita ug Ang Gobernador” Friday morning, April 20.
While taking rest on his doctor’s advice at the St. Luke Medical Center in Manila, the governor made his report by phone call.
Chatto was heard worldwide through the livestream broadcast of the different Bohol radio stations.
Area clearing is now going for the P250-million BSP project, which is near the Bohol Panglao airport although to the Dauis side.
The Bohol Central Bank will operate as a full branch with at least 40 officials and personnel.