A bubble-to-bubble travel arrangement with other countries can help uplift the Philippines' local economy, proposed by Bohol Governor Arthur Yap.
The governor prompts the national government to take into account the possibility of considering bilateral agreements with other international countries. To accept foreign travelers to visit a province even only for a limited period.
"Dapat i-support na 'yun [That should be supported] because that is a way to allow now different parts of the country to use tourism as a low-hanging fruit to bring in revenue," Yap said at the Manila Bay forum on Wednesday.
Moreover, the proposal of Bohol's Governor wishes to include an eased for consular requirements such as the option of visa upon the travelers' arrival.
He added that considering Bohol is an island-province, it is already a confined space, with its own international airport that can accommodate up to 2 million passengers going to the island per year.
"That's an advantage of a place like Bohol. It is compact, it is one island in itself, its 4,000 square kilometers with one international airport and five ports. So bantayan mo na lang ang pumasok at lumabas doon [So just keep an eye on everyone that comes and goes]," Yap added.
Pre-pandemic, Bohol was able to accommodate around 30,000 tourist arrivals per day. But according to its latest data, they currently only have less than 4,000 visitors starting from December last year up until today.
At first, the governor took into account offering special diving packages for divers coming from countries like Japan, Korea, Taipei, and China. But the steadily rising number of positive cases of coronavirus once again threatened the possibility of opening up the country, and Yap understands the fear other countries might have when it comes to such an agreement.
"But Bohol is not the Philippines, Bohol is not the NCR," Yap said.
In addition, he noted that the province has 234 currently active COVID-19 cases, with 27 deaths and thousands of recoveries, according to its data.
"So parang maybe, mamili na lang sila, yung DOT and DFA, then contact their counterparts, contact their national agency counterparts for example in Japan, in Taipei, Korea, China, and set up na bilateral, special na lang hindi buong bansa," Yap added.
[So maybe, they can choose, the DOT and the DFA, then contact their counterparts, contact their national agency counterparts for example in Japan in Taipei, Korea, China, and then set up a bilateral, a special one that doesn't include the whole country.]
Furthermore, Bohol's Governor, who was an Agriculture and Presidential Management Staff secretary during the term of the former President Macapagal-Arroyo, suggested other ways to help the Philippines economy finally recover from its losses.
Such as leveraging funds by both the national and local governments, improve connectivity as well as sending out Filipino workers abroad.
"Tingnan mo ang solution sa COVID is always stay at home, stay at home, isolate. If the cure is really to isolate, stay at home, talagang may tatamaan sa econom natin. As you can see right now, eto na nga yun, walang negosyo, walang trabaho, walang taxes," Yap stated.
[The solution that they have for COVID is to always stay at home and to isolate. If the cure is really to isolate, stay at home, then our economy will surely suffer. As you can see right now, it is already happening, no business, no work, no taxes.]
"Sana mas maging open-minded ang mga official natin [I hope that our official will have a more open mind] and financing officials natin that together, all our funds we are using up, if we can channel it and spend it as one big bank, malaki talagang tulong [it will be a big help]."
Also, Governor Yap reminded the public to always practice the minimum health standards to further prevent the spread of the virus.
Lastly, Yap requested the national government for an additional number of vaccines for about 100,000 people.
Source: CNN Philippines