President's Message
Ma. Victoria C. Españo Message from the President:

Ma. Victoria C. Españo


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Year 2018 is indeed a special year for FINEX: it marks our 50th anniversary as a leading organization of finance professionals. Through the able leadership of our past presidents and the multitude of members who have actively participated in and supported our different initiatives, we have made significant achievements in supporting the professional development of finance executives,

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BOHOL TOURISM RISES TO NEW HEIGHTS
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Zoilo By: Zoilo "Bingo" P. Dejaresco III

BUSINESS MIRROR (FINEX Free Enterprise)
July 7, 2017

BOHOL TOURISM RISES TO NEW HEIGHTS

Finex Free Enterprise is a rotating column of members of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines appearing every Wednesday & Friday in BusinessMirror, banking & finance Section.

The picturesque province of Bohol in 2013 was almost written off the tourism map as a devastating 7.3 earthquake hit it with vehemence in October.

The city and 12 towns were damaged, over 200 people dead and a thousand injured. Faults crossed the island, some seabeds rose, the iconic chocolate hills slightly damaged and many century- old churches in total or partial ruin.

Three years later, however, the number of Bohol tourists eclipsed the one million mark in 2016, per figures from the Department of Tourism- up 40% from 2015's record of only 602,000 tourists (73 percent local and 26 percent foreign). The province has recovered tremendously- and its growth accelerating.

Consider that by mid-year 2018, the P 7.8_B New Bohol (Panglao) with international standards will open Bohol to the world hoping to add at least 50 percent more tourists to the island -province.

According to Director General of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Ernesto Pernia, the Department of Transportation (implementing agency) and the PPPC (Public-Private Partnership Center) are still in a deep discussion whether the "maintenance and operation" of the airport facilities will be retained under the PPP program or not.

Recent pronouncements seem to indicate that the four other pending regional international airports in Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro City, and Davao will be pulled out of the PPP ambit and be funded under the GAA (General Appropriations Act) or the National Budget and the ODA ( Official Development Assistance) from the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), instead. The 2.5-kilometer runway and the two-storey airport terminal has a capacity to bring in 800,000 visitors per year. It is expected to attract in -as well- international chains of hotel and resorts into the island to serve the new deluge of tourists.

Even before that, last June 23, PAL opened its first daily flight direct and seamless from Incheon Airport in Seoul South Korea to Bohol, guaranteed to bring in more Koreans, the leading visitors to the island paradise. PAL also recently opened its Tagbilaran-Cebu daily flights to complement the over 10 fast craft ferries plying the two islands. PAL president Jaime Bautista foresees that Bohol could become a new tourism hub- bringing the Korean tourists to nearby destinations like Cebu, Negros, and Siquijor. Two months ago, civilian vigilance and cooperation with the military swiftly quelled an attempted ruse by members of the Abu Sayyaf Group to disrupt the consultative meeting in Bohol for the 10-member ASEAN nations. The 12-member terrorist group was all eliminated in about one month.

The Bohol ploy hatched in the town of Inabanga if successfully carried out-would have created a new frontier of violence apart from the Marawi City siege which is still not fully resolved to go into its second month.

The swift resolution of the potential conflict drew praises from both the Operations Group of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame and the Department of Trade and Industry (DT) for making the ASEAN Meet trouble-free and to the "satisfaction of all the delegates."

The "Bohol template" has been hailed by the military as a model for civilian- military cooperation in handling terrorist threats. Bohol is now, more than ever, a safer destination for all. In fact, the government had even strengthened the (BIN) Barangay Intelligence Network and the Countryside Development Program -Power Purok Movement (CDP-PPM) to install a quick reaction scheme to all suspicious movements of goods and persons in every locality.

Recall that it was the civilian volunteers who first exposed the presence of ASG men with high powered guns near the Inabanga River that exposed the terror group's bad intentions to authorities.

Bohol alongside Boracay and Palawan have been the perennial "first choice" among tourists especially among the Asian tourists like the Chinese, Koreans and the Japanese. Most Asian countries are very familiar with the terrain of the archipelago of 7,000 islands and do not readily issue negative travel advisories against the country unlike the Western nations like the U.K., Canada, the USA, and even Australia.

With the bountiful gifts of nature to the province, Bohol is looking forward to a new blooming of the R and R (rest and recreation) trade with the new points of entry to the province and the great margin of safety it now enjoys after successfully repelling the enemies of the state in no time last month.

( Bingo Dejaresco, a former banker is a financial consultant and media practitioner. A Life Member of Finex, he is the Chair of both the Professional Development and Broadcast Media committees. His views here, however, are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Finex. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) .

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