TAGBILARAN CITY – The Province of Bohol lost about P10 billion, and over 42 percent of its workforce due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said that the pandemic impact on socio-economy had been most defined by investment, revenue, employment and livelihood lost, and the over 200,000 individuals, who lost their jobs and livelihood opportunities.
In a Panglao Island Sustainable Tourism Board (PISTB) meeting at the Bluwater Resort in Panglao over the weekend, Yap acknowledged the important role of the board in reopening the local economy but cautioned the board of the risks of sudden reopening because today’s condition demands calculated, careful moves.
“Recovery from such an unusual economic destroyer like the pandemic should be meaningful and effectively responsive to the condition,” he said.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority in Region 7 (NEDA 7), the estimated 200,000 individuals who lost jobs and livelihood comprised 42 percent of Bohol’s workforce.
If multiplied by a minimum of four members per family, the number would easily reach to 800,000 individuals or about two-third of the province’s whole population. Workers in tourism and its affiliate industries were among the most affected since the earlier part of the COVID-19 crisis, NEDA 7 added.
Bohol has allocated rice support for tourism and affiliated industry workers most affected by the pandemic. This was aside from the rice subsidy of the province which has been distributed with the contact tracing card to every Bohol family, Yap bared.
The losses of the employed and self-earners who have lost jobs or been denied livelihood chances could amount to at least P25,000 per worker. Yap said that the amount translated to about 10 cavans of rice lost from every family.
According to Yap, Bohol was a predominantly tourism service and agricultural economy, and it draws most of its revenues from remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), travelers, agriculture and food establishments.
Yap said that the economic recovery plan must respond to the government’s economic stimulus program, and should focus on how to develop value chain approaches to reinvigorate tourism in Bohol.
In a recent virtual planning workshop conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI 7), participants examined some socio-economic issues and assessed opportunities. It also formulated action plans prepared also to revive the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) along the tourism value chain.
Bohol first district representative Edgar Chatto said he had initially discussed with DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez in a budget hearing that such helpful interventions as the establishment of as many Negosyo Centers, shared service facilities, and livelihood seeding program for the MSMEs.