Gov. Art Yap’s message during the Ceremonial Ribbon Cutting for the Re-Opening of the Tourism Industry of the Municipality of Panglao under the New Normal
— I’d like to address critical issues of the day. The first is the covid 19, the global pandemic which right now has already victimized more than 8.5 million all over the world and has killed 460,000 people all over the world.
In Bohol, we have 17 active cases right now. We have 1 death and we have many who have recovered and what is important is we have welcomed more than 6,000 of our Bol-anon brothers and sisters back home. What is of course very humbling is the economic losses all over the world. When 2019 started, nobody thought that anything could stop the march of growth and expansion. But as you all know, the world has stopped economically and, in fact, it will very well be negative in 2021. In the Philippines, we are possibly looking at the (-)3. So, if we were growing at 6.5 percent, that’s (-)6.5 plus another 3, possibly the Philippines will retract for about 10 percent. The total value of that retraction is going to be about 2 Trillion. That means business in the Philippines will go back and retract by P2 trillion.
What does that mean? For many of our brothers and sisters, it is very obvious we will lose our jobs. And when we lose our jobs, the tragedy is going to be very personal. It’s not going to hit the government. It’s going to hit us more personally when we lose our jobs and we lose our opporrtunities.
But for those who are watching us, who are listening to us, COVID also gave us a few things which were unexpected. First thing is, COVID gave us faith. Whether you believe it or not, COVID has given us peace. Anywhere we go right now we are concerned about social distancing. And more than that, it gave us time. Time to stay at home, time to be with our loved ones. And because we have time, and we have space, covid gave us time to replan, re-assess, and rethink what we were doing. And it would be such a waste, mausik ra ang mga oportunidad kung di nato sakmiton. If we do not seize the moment and think about certain critical fundamental things about how we are running our economy in Bohol. In Bohol, our income is driven by 2 things- – OFW and tourism. The third to a lesser degree which we hope to correct in the coming year is the income we are deriving from agriculture, which we hope to bring up.
But at present, what dries our revenue? What’s our spending? What drives our consumption? It’s the OFW remittances and the tourism industry of Bohol. And COVID-19 gave us time to think, gave us time to think about space, it gave us time to think about what we gave importance to in tourism. And as I said, it gave us time to think about water- -is it enough? Are we doing enough for water? Are we doing enough for sewerage, material waste management treatment? Are we thinking very hard about our carrying capacity? Mao nga sa niaging mga panahon ug sa umaabot nga panahon, unsa man ang atong polisiya? Do we just keep on accepting and accepting? We don’t care we just keep on accepting people from wherever just to bring them here.It gave us time to think about minimum health standards. Because this is really critical in any industry that we want to sustain. Minimum health standards about cleanliness, about hygiene, about space, about time. It gave us time to think about our easements. It gave us time to think about our environment which is the most fundamental resurce of our touris- -our seas, our water, our forest cover, our vegetation.
This is what COVID gave us. And, it would be such a waste if we do not take the opportunity to answer these questions very carefully. But the greater tragedy is if we allow COVID to scare us so that we will do nothing. This is the greatest danger of COVID. That is the reason why as governor, I remind people about this tragedy and remind people how we should protect each other from this disease. But I do not like to scare people. It is not correct to scare people so that they will not act, they will not do anything.