TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, April 22 (PIA) -- Transportation, logistics, and packaging are what Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Arthur Tudade suggested when Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap asked him to bring to the president Bohol's appeal for help in diversifying its economy.
According to Yap, Bohol, which is counting much on the services sector in tourism, has seen the effects of the corona virus pandemic.
"With COVID, we have seen the effect of 70% in the tourism services sector," Yap relayed, referring to the closing of Bohol's borders to tourists and even returning locals which has left those in the services sector unemployed.
WIDER OPPORTUNITIES. DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade (center) inspects the newly-refurbished Catagbacan cruise ship port and the soon-to-open Maribojoc Container Port. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Without tourists coming in, tourism stakeholders found themselves in tricky situations that many had to seek other jobs and cling to anything that allows them to bring food on the table.
"There is no diversity, please help us tell the president to help up diversify the economy," the governor appealed during the formal opening and turnover of the second Passenger Terminal Building of the Port of Tagbilaran on April 14.
During the same turnover rites of the port facility, Yap pointed out that Bohol had over a million guests and over a million are coming.
But with its over dependence on tourism services, Boholanos have felt so much has been lost.
"We cannot help much of the country if we are mono-dimensional," the governor emphasized.
Tugade, in response, proposed for Bohol to go into transportation, logistics, and packaging.
As DOTr has announced 22 big ticket port projects in Bohol and some P2.3-B in four projects that enhance Bohol's accessibility and connectivity to the Visayas and Mindanao, these could be the answer to the province's need to diversify its investments.
"The port projects under the President's 'Build, Build, Build' assure that Bohol will have modern, world-class facilities and enhance travel and mobility across the archipelago," said Tugade.
The 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2013 may have brought in misfortune, but it also opened ways for bigger arenas for Bohol, said Philippine Ports Authority Port of Tagbilaran Manager Engr. James Gantalao.
With ports opening up Bohol's access to parts of the archipelago, the DOTr and PPA have been ensuring there is seamless travel experience, quality management service, and international standards in our ports to facilitate faster cargo transit, Gantalao added.
PPA General Manager James Daniel Santiago also pointed out that the increasing number of tourist arrivals in Bohol is a symbol of PPA's commitment to support Bohol's bid to become an eco-tourism hub and a logistics hub in the region.
For his part, Cong. Edgar Chatto also saw the port infrastructure as a springboard for many economic developments, as this brings in the much-needed investments to Bohol.
DOTR is also set to turn over the P481-M container port in Maribojoc, which can boost Bohol's positioning as a regional logistics hub.
With Bohol producing products that may have short shelf lives, the DOTr also handed over to local officials two refrigerated vans as part of Bohol's cold storage facilities in "Palamigan ng Bayan."
These also aim to facilitate the transport of perishable goods or agricultural products for communities with limited capabilities.
With added storage life, the goods stored here could help normalize prices and help Bohol package its products for outside the province markets. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)