Bohol and four other localities across the Philippines have been chosen by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as beneficiaries of a $-300 million (roughly P15.4 billion) official development assistance (ODA) from the World Bank for infrastructure, livelihood and disaster resiliency projects.
The program, dubbed as TouRIST or Transforming Communities Towards Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Tourist Program, will also extend support to other areas, such as the province of Siquijor, Siargao Island in Surigao del Sur, the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte, and Davao City.
Key organizations to help the TouRIST program that have been tapped by the tourism agency include the World Bank Group, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The DOT said that the five TouRIST sites were selected because of the rapid increase in tourism demand, potential for future development, lack of financing to address emerging capital investment needs, rich cultural heritage sites and biodiversity, and socio-economic impact for poverty alleviation.
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap expressed gratitude to the DOT for choosing Bohol as among the priority areas for the program.
The identified areas to be covered by TouRIST will receive $300 million from the World Bank.
From the initial meeting of the identified provinces with the DOT and the WB last October 2 in Manila, the World Bank conducted a follow-up technical mission in the province of Bohol on October 21-23, 2019 to finalize the priority investment projects in the area.
The technical mission discussed the concept, scope, institutional arrangements and other details of the program.
In coordination with the Bohol Tourism Office, the WB Team visited the Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen, Abatan River Community Life Tour, and Kawasan Falls in Balilihan.
Likewise, the Bohol Environment Management Office facilitated the WB Team’s site visit to the dumpsite, sanitary landfill and septage treatment plant respectively in Tagbilaran City, Alburquerque, and Dauis municipalities respectively.
The Provincial Planning and Development Office acted as the overall coordinator of the World Bank Technical Mission in Bohol.
Meanwhile, Coron and El Nido in Palawan were also identified as TouRIST sites.
The two destinations however will get their allotment through an ODA from the Asian Development Bank.