World Bank open to support Bohol tourism

Bohol is seen to leap further in terms of tourism with sustained implementation of programs to support Bohol tourism.

In a meeting with Gov. Edgar Chatto on Monday, the World Bank, through its officials led by Lesley Cordero, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist is convinced Bohol will realize its full potential by improving connectivity and access as well as addressing sustainability gaps.

The World Bank, here on a mission under the Sustainable, Inclusive, Resilient Tourism Project, admired Bohol’s best practices that has earned for itself the distinction not just as a model for program implementation but also as a learning destination.

As far as tourism is concerned, Cordero sees successful initiatives in tourism with Gov. Chatto assuming as representative of the first congressional district. She also recognized as integral to tourism development the fact that Chatto authored the Tourism Act of 2009, a review of which is already on top of the incoming congressman’s agenda.

Chatto, whose governance style has long been admired by development assistance partners, is confident that existing systems and structures for program implementation such as the Purok Power Movement will continue to be key to sustained program implementation.

He shared that a large part of Bohol best practices is keeping the people’s interest in advocacies. “This means involving the people themselves in setting goals and planning; bringing people together in identifying needs that are common to them. This mechanism has worked for Bohol in many of its successful programs such as in peace and order, disaster preparedness, health, education, among others,” he said.

They had earlier presented to Department of Tourism (DOT) Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on tourism development in the Philippines where they featured Bohol as a case study on possible projects to support tourism destinations.

Cordero said the DOT has expressed full support for initiatives planned by World Bank especially as Puyat expressed confidence Gov.-elect Art Yap who will be taking the reins in July. Puyat had been undersecretary when Yap was serving as agriculture secretary.

According to World Bank, Puyat is keen on Farm-To-Table strategies to address food security and economic expansion, with livelihood being one of four components the World Bank is looking into, particularly under the Philippine Rural Development Program.

World Bank Senior Economist Andres Garcia explained in addition to the livelihood aspect, they are also looking at possible opportunities for support in local infrastructure specifically wastewater and solid waste management; disaster resilience specific to the tourism industry; and program implementation.

As part of their mission to validate pre-identified local infrastructure such as solid waste management and waste water treatment facilities, they visited the Alburquerque Cluster Sanitary Landfill (ACSLF), as well as Materials Recovery Facilities in Panglao and Tagbilaran City. The group site visit was assisted and facilitated by the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) with Bohol Environment Management Office (GO-BEMO).

The World Bank group also included Madhu Raghunath, Lead Urban Specialist; Kremena Ionkova, Senior Urban Specialist/Solid Waste Management; Christopher Rey Ancheta, Senior Sanitary Engineer/Water; Fides Borja, Disaster Risk Management Consultant; Francis Ghesquiere, Practice Manager; with DOT Usec. Edwin Enrile. In a separate meeting with heads of offices in the Capitol in relation to the tourism partnership with World Bank, Provincial Planning and Development Officer Atty. John Titus Vistal presented Bohol spatial development framework plan as well as initiatives in governance and best practices.

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