Provincial Government of Bohol and Japan International Cooperation Agency Sign M.O.U. To Ensure Protection of Environment for Panglao Island, Site of New Airport, and Sustainable Tourism for the Province

07 July 2014 – The Provincial Government of Bohol and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that expanded the scope of the “Sustainable Environment Protection Project for Panglao” to ensure the comprehensive protection of the environment in the Island of Panglao, the site of the new airport to be constructed with funding support from JICA, and the sustainable development of the tourism sector in the province.

Governor Edgar M. Chatto and Mr. Hidetoshi Irigaki, Director General, Southeast Asia and Pacific Department, JICA exchanged the signed MOU during a ceremony in Tokyo witnessed by (photo above, left to right) Mr. Takahiro Sasaki, Director-General, Financial Cooperation Implementation Department and former Chief Representative of JICA to the Philippines; Mayor Leonila Paredes Montero of the Municipality of Panglao; Philippine Ambassador Manuel Lopez, (Mr. Irigaki and Gov. Chatto), Philippine Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Gilberto Asuque, and Atty. Abeleon Damelerio, Board Member, First District of Bohol.

The MOU was the result of the meeting between Gov. Chatto and JICA Regional
Director Yoshifumi Omura in Tagbilaran City on 06 February 2014 on a possible expansion of the scope of the Project. As a result of that meeting, the Bohol Provincial Government and JICA signed the MOU adding two new outputs for the “Sustainable Environment Protection Project for Panglao”, namely, “Consideration of sustainable tourism development in Bohol Province to continue adaptive management for surrounding areas of Panglao Island” and the “Preliminary design of septage treatment plant and preparation of sustainable management system including alternative financial arrangements.”

These two new outputs for the Project are designed to ensure that the construction and eventual full operation of the new Bohol Airport will have the proper waste treatment plant that will protect the marine, coastal and other natural environment of Panglao Island and the nearby Balicasag Island; and provide a sustainable and long-term tourism development that will benefit the local labor, agricultural communities, service providers for the hotels, restaurants and other tourist spots; traders, and other economic and business sectors of Bohol. The MOU further provides for the services of four experts to assist the Panglao Island Executive Committee, the implementing arm of the Provincial Government for the Project, in making decisions to realize the aims of the MOU.

In his remarks following with signing ceremony, Gov. Chatto thanked JICA for being a major partner of Bohol for the development and rehabilitation of the municipalities severely damaged during the 15 October 2013 earthquake and in assisting the province in achieving a strong balance in its agro-industrial-tourism development.

For his part, Amb. Lopez commended Gov. Chatto for his vision for Bohol as he stressed that the province has so much to offer not only in tourism but more on its culture and community life. The Ambassador also thanked JICA for helping make the Panglao Airport project a reality, which will definitely add more meaning to the tourism theme – it’s more fun in the Philippines.

Gov. Chatto led key Provincial Government officials (photo below) in an official visit to Japan for seminars and briefings by JICA in Tokyo and in other prefectures on environment protection and sustainable development of the tourism sector in line with the goals of the Project.