Bohol Investment Promotion Program
Most Boholanos move out of their province to look for better economic opportunities. With a registered unemployment rate of 14.65% in 1998, the local chief executive was driven to do something about this condition. With the strong desire to keep the local people, the province’s major asset, from leaving Bohol, the local government agreed to put the province on the path toward sustained growth and development. This provision was realized when the Bohol Investment Promotion Program was conceived in October 1995. The program’s main objective was to generate more investments in the area to provide job opportunities for the growing labor force. In this program, the LGU saw to it that all investments were consistent with the sustainable management of the environment, and the preservation and enhancement of their culture and values.
A series of public consultations was held among various sectors to determine the type of investment the communities, the private sector and LGUs preferred. The consultations resulted in the identification of three sectors as ‘primary growth focus’ in terms of incentives, assistance and public investments support by the province. These sectors are a) “eco-tourism” that goes beyond promoting the famous Chocolate Hills; b) agricultural development; and c) light manufacturing including agro-industries for the processing of available raw materials. To ensure the program’s sustainability, the Bohol Investment Promotion Center (BPIC) was created in October 1998 through an Executive Order.
Bohol Province has started to reap the fruits of the investment program with a continuous increase in the number of potential investors from 10, 14 and 19 investors in 1997, 1998, and 1999, respectively. This translates to P150 M, P200 M, and P500 M worth of investments in 1997, 1998 and 1999, respectively based on SEC data. Over a four-year period starting in 1998-2001, the province of Bohol is expected to earn an estimated P2.5 B in investments. Out of the 20 existing investment projects, 1,010 Boholanos were given employment. The Oil Palm Plantation and Processing Project (OPPP), a joint Filipino and Malaysian venture, with an initial capital of P100 M (now P750 M) will directly benefit 5,000 Boholano families and will utilize around 10,000 to 15,000 hectares of unproductive land. Moreover there are already 14 potential investments in the pipeline to bring in a total of P2.6 B worth of investments in the province, which will provide an estimated employment for 3,675 people. One of the program’s major accomplishments was the gathering of some 500 Boholanos around the world in July 1999 for resource mobilization which generated a dollar remittance of $3.5 M for that month.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2000 Galing Pook Awards.