Monday, June 13, 2011

DOT-DTI sign comprehensive 
tourism sector dev’t pact 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 10, 2011 (PIA)—THE Department of Tourism (DOT) and Trade and Industry (DTI) agrees on a collaboration for the comprehensive development of the tourism sector, during the last day of the Bohol Tourism Summit held here since June 9. 

And for the development, private sector led Provincial Tourism Council here could be in for the big thing in the future of public-private partnerships, said industry stakeholders participating in the first Bohol Tourism Summit June 9-10. 

DOT represented by Secretary Alberto Lim and the DTI through Secretary Gregory Domingo formalized the signing of the agreement documents to work together for the industry through the promotion of main tourism chains and strengthening of various supply chains supporting the sector. 

According to documents shared to the media and explained by DTI regional Director Asteria Caberte, the world agrees of the promise of tourism. 

But a lot more of things to be done in regions especially where there is a high tourism potential. 

Caberte, who was reading her notes identified the country’s regions with a high tourism potentials as Regions 4B, 6, 7, 8 and 11 where the DOT and DTI pilots their collaboration through the project. 

The agreement formalized binds the two agencies to share and allocate budgets for the project. 

The agreement also makes the tourism department responsible for the planning and development of tourism destinations at the national and regional levels, marketing and promotion of tourist destinations both nationally and internationally. 

The same agreement binds the DOT to regulate the tourism industry by setting the tourism standards and certification systems for tourism enterprises. 

As regulatory agency, the DOT also set the minimum standards for tourism enterprise zones with the local government units as well as facilitate the business linkages among tourism enterprise types along the value chain, Caberte said before the ceremonial signing of the documents. 

For the Trade department, the agreement puts them into a mode of developing a conducive business environment at the different levels of governance in partnerships with local governments. 

On its part too, the DTI is bound to regulate and standardize trade and industry bu stepping on standards and certification of enterprises, promote investments in strategic priority sectors as business process outsourcing, electronics, mining, housing, agriculture, business and tourism. 

The DTI is also bound to facilitate business development services to support micro, small and medium enterprises in market access and financing to let them grow their businesses, improve their productivity and efficiency and enable business linkages along product-based value chains. (Rey Anthony Chiu)

DTI shares Bohol vision, 
identifies tourism on top 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol. June 10, 2011 (PIA)—Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo shares what most Boholanos believe by making tourism as the province’s lead industry. 

At the Investment Forum held Thursday evening at the Harborview of the Bohol Tropics, Domingo in fact went on to say that the Aquino administration has also identified tourism as the top priority of the department of trade and industry, considering that the country is hampered by hard costs and its inadequate infrastructure support needed by other industrial drivers. 

He cited that the only open options are agriculture and business process outsourcing, which are incidentally also identified as major economic drivers for Bohol in the next decade. 

“We need to create jobs for a lot of our unskilled people,” he pointed out. 

Heaping praises for the series of leaderships that disregarded diverse political persuation to set up clear directions for the province, the trade secretary assured Boholanos, “ It’s a very good choice and you’re very much in the right track,” adding, “as long as you are doing it right.” 

Admitting it is his third time in Bohol, he shared he immediately decided to attend the Bohol Tourism Summit for several reasons but the foremost of it is that the administration has correctly picked tourism as the main industry. 

The decision for Bohol to go not just into tourism but as eco-cultural tourism was a tough one reached only after a long series of consultations, said then governor Rene Relampagos during the forum. 

Relampagos, who is now District Representative admitted he was convinced that, without much of a capital to boast of, and a huge workbase which has been unemployed, eco-cultural tourism was the best hope for giving jobs. 

At the Investment Forum attended by bursting crowd of investors and government sector representatives at the Harborview, investment specialist Maria Fe Dominise revealed that the most promising investments would be those relating to eco-tourism, agro-industries and business process outsourcing. 

Dominise, who heads the institutionalized Bohol Investment Promotions Center also added that Bohol’s edge for investments include pleasant climate, peace and order, high literacy rate and a generally widely English speaking workforce easily sourced out in communities. 

Mincing no words to advice Bohol in her take off, Doningo urged the Boholanos to internationalize the standards and open up Bohol to the more open and huge international taste. 

To be a major regional and global destination, he said as he shares high hopes for Bohol having had all the necessary thrust to make it through.

Solon shares legislative plan 
To better business climate 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol June 10, 2011 (PIA)-- BUSINESSMEN who feel that local governments are sitting on their business permits and certifications may find a heave of relief. 

This as a local representative shares the possibility of enhancing and fast-tracking business permits and licensing through legislation. 

At the Bohol Investment Forum held at the Harborview of the Bohol Tropics June 9, the issue of hard to get business licenses has become an irritant and a contentious issue between business investors and local government units. 

Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo even admitted that he has to sit down and fix the problem of business names processing as this has, according to him, discouraged not a few capitalists. 

Domingo, who was the activity’s keynote speaker was also in town to attend the Bohol Tourism Summit, the first of such summits organized by a local government, said attracting investors can be as simple as making the right business atmosphere and simplifying the business processes. 

He informed everyone that a recently signed Business Process and Licensing System with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) puts in place a simplified standard on processes in starting a business. 

Even then, businessmen have complained about the length of time one could take to secure his permits. 

In fact, some brought in issues of whimsical delays in the process especially if the investors are not supporters of the local politicians. 

Noting that these indeed are weighty concerns, Secretary Domingo agree that there has to be set some standards with the process of business names and a standard time this could be done. 

He was thinking of setting a cap in the maximum allowable processing time and if the business process could not be done, a conditional approval can be granted. 

He hinted that if it could be done, then there could be a conditional approval with a time prescription that allows the issuing authority to review the requirements and at the same time, grant a provisional operation’s permit. 

Taking his cue from the issue and having been elected to represent his constituents, former Governor Relampagos vowed to study the possibility of legislating a similar option. 

He shared a possibility of making the application valid for reasons that the issuing authority’s failure to act on the application at a specific and reasonable time for him to review all the requirements and their compliance. 

Relampagos believes that the only way to make an attractive business environment is to make sure that there is a transparency and ease of doing business apart from making sure starting off is easy. (Rey Anthony Chiu) 

Sikatuna parks its dreams 
on nature based tourism 

Tagbilaran City, Bohol, June 10, 2011 (PIA)--SOME leaders of less timber would chicken out, not for those in Sikatuna town. 

Faced with a popular belief that land-locked towns have far lesser opportunities for development and progress, local leaders led by Mayor Jose Ellorimo Jr. looked beyond what the others could see and saw the promise. 

Towering it over in an interior agricultural town some 16.6 kilometers from Tagbilaran City, Ellorimo has found logic in keeping the environment as pristine and cashing in on a potential nature-based tourism in his town through their best asset: trees. 

Keeping a vast track of virgin secondary forests adjacent to a nationally declared sanctuary for one of the country’s rarest and amazing wild animals; the tarsiers in Canapnapan Corella town, Sikatuna eyed the conservation of the forest cover of barangays Can-agong ad Abucay Norte. 

These two barangays share a similar ecological profile with the tarsier reserves and are thus having potentials that include not just a sanctuary for tarsiers but for wild flora and fauna as well. 

With the tarsier ranges shared by both their boundaries and yet not wanting to duplicate Corella’s tourism come-on, Sikatuna banks of their secondary growth trees and their flora and fauna showcased in the Sikatuna Tree Park. 

The presence of a famous groomed topiary material called sagimsim, bansilay, balete and a diverse faunal resource has made the area suitable of a nature-based ecotourism activity that includes forest experience, balsa rides, inland fishing, nature treks, tarsier in the wilds viewing, camping and tree planting projects became a natural drop-down menu, local environment and natural resources authorities say. 

According to the local Environment and Natural Resources Office, “these areas show a highly bio-diverse environment as manifested by small trees, shrubs, wildlings, ferns, herbs, vines and grasses including the presence of regenerant species of dipterocarps common to Philippine forests.” 

With a patch of secondary forest showing an amazing catalog of diverse plant species, the town leaders now realize they have a tourism treasure that needs to be cut right. 

“Foresters have identified 127 species of trees with 69 genera and 42 families of trees, about ten kinds of shrubs, 6 kinds of palms, 29 herbs, 11 vines and several kinds of ferns and grasses here,” Ellorimo proudly said. 

As to the faunal resources in the area, records from the nearest Community and Environment and Natural Resources Office show that the area is home to some 43 resident and endemic bird species, bats, rodents and rats, civet cats, wild fowl, tarsiers, and snakes. 

Wanting to join the tourism bandwagon in Bohol, the town leaders established the Sikatuna Tree Park, which, according to its facebook account, is a nature-based tourism project of the Municipality of Sikatuna which aims to promote environmental protection and ecological balance. 

To that, the local government collects 100 pesos for park treeplanting activity, inclusive of a seedling and a certification that you've planted a tree at the park. 

The money is used to maintain the park, establish a nursery and other infrastructure the place may need to cater to tourists. 

In fact, a recent seeding activity would be a boost to the park’s additional come-on’s: an inland fishing experience. That is aside from using the pond as its famous carabao spa. (Rey Anthony Chiu)

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