TAGBILARAN CITY – The provincial government of Bohol braces for the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic with a PHP700-million economic stimulus program dubbed as “We Survive As One Bohol” plan.
Governor Arthur Yap on Saturday said “We Survive As One Bohol Fund” comprises the food vouchers for households, programs for barangay infrastructure, barangay water, surety guarantee for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs, returning Boholanos program, TaboBohol Capital Fund, agricultural productivity assistance, cash-for-work/livelihood assistance and food assistance.
Yap said these projects and programs are grouped into three main components, such as the Bohol Social Amelioration Program (BSAP), Local Government Stimulus Plan, and the Business Sector Stimulus Package.
The BSAP has PHP150-million allocation for PHP450-per food (grocery) voucher, feeding program, and funding for the program for returning and stranded Boholanos, agricultural productivity assistance, food/cash-for-work, the livelihood assistance for New Bohol Airport Neighborhood Association (NBANA), he said.
The agricultural productivity assistance includes Agriculture for Rural Transformation (ART), a livestock and poultry production enhancement project through the “Passing-on-the-Gift Program.
Yap said he informed the Tourism Congress stakeholders that Covid-19 has serious impact on the Bohol tourism, and he believes the provinces and communities can show resilience which can make both the visitors and host tourism operators in Bohol feel safe.
“These are the communities and economies that can bring in new clients because tourism will still stay, but how we do tourism in the coming days would be very different. It would be under a new norm,” he added.
Yap said the bulk of the assistance is geared toward the “balik agrikultura” (return to agriculture) agenda since agriculture is a default industry of Bohol before the tourism boom.
Under the domestic stimulus program, the provincial government allocated PHP2 million from the calamity fund of 2019 through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), for the cash-for-work program for community irrigation system repair and rehabilitation.
Yap said the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPV) is also tasked to distribute hybrid rice seedlings to farmers in irrigated areas and certified seeds for those in rain-fed areas.
He also relayed the program of the national government, through the Department of Agriculture Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC), that allocates PHP2.5 million for the farmers, fisherfolk and MSMEs where they can avail of a loan of up to PHP25,000 each at zero percent interest payable in 10 years.
The MSMEs can avail of a loan of up to PHP10 million at zero percent interest, payable in five years.
Yap said there are 53,000 farmers in the registry here who can avail of the program and use the amount to complement the provincial government’s program on distribution of seedlings.
The OPV also launched last week the Passing-on-the-Gift System for Livestock and Poultry Dispersal with a budget of PHP6.2 million.
There are currently 174 donors who responded to the program for livestock and poultry dispersal to 322 recipient-families where the livestock and native chicken packet consists of four females and one male, poly nets, dewormers, and vitamin and mineral supplements.
The surety guarantee program amounting to PHP200 million is intended for the agriculture retail and trade for Tabo Bohol Capital Fund at PHP50 million, Agriculture for Rural Transformation in support to vegetables and water enhancement program at PHP67 million, assistance to reinvigorate the tourism value chain at PHP9.3 million, livelihood assistance project at PHP200 million, access to reliable and timely water for all-water development program PHP50 million, and barangay infrastructure program at PHP111 million.
Also included in the fund is the budget for offshore and returning Boholanos in the amount of PHP50 million.
So far, more than PHP11.5 million has been spent for the financial assistance extended to more than 5,500 stranded Boholanos. (ia/PNA)