Gov. Edgar Chatto and DepEd Bohol Division Superintendent Dr. Wil Bongalos led the commitment signing for the Agri-entrepreneurship Senior High School Industry linkage program during the Eskwela Agrikultura, an Agri-Entrepreneurship Senior High School Summit on Wednesday.
The summit organized by the The Asia Foundation and Coalitions for Change under the Australian Government in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Bohol and DepEd brought together agriculture and tourism industry stakeholders as well as the DepEd, national and provincial agriculture and tourism-related agencies and the local government officials of Ubay.
This is in line with the development of a model Senior High School Program for agriculture in the province.
The forum centered on discussions on the development goals of the province that are anchored on agriculture as a major pillar, the upcoming implementation of the K-12 program, Bohol Association of Hotels Resorts and Restaurants (BARHRR) requirements, and Agri-entrepreneurship Senior High School opportunities in Tourism.
This is also aligned with the proposed establishment of the Bohol Agricultural Training and Research Center in San Pascual National Agricultural High School in Ubay.
According to Bongalos, 20,085 will enroll to Senior High School this June, towards 4 strands namely: Home Economics, Industrial Arts, Agriculture, and ICT.
Of these, 6,900 will take academic track while some 63% or 12,000 are interested to go to technical vocational education.
This convergence strategy with DepEd was first exemplified in the Tourism Senior High School Facility in Lourdes National High School in Lourdes, Panglao, a model also with the support of the technical assistance from the Coalitions for Change Program under the Australian Embassy and The Asia Foundation Partnership in the Philippines.
Gov. Chatto said, the priority project and a model for the country in the Senior High School program implementation, is a step towards realizing Bohol’s vision to really become a prime eco-cultural tourism destination and a balanced Agro-industrial province.
The governor expounded on the relevance of advancing major development pillars of agriculture and tourism in Bohol. He explained, for instance, that a portion of the $1000 that a tourist spends goes outside of Bohol because our hotels and restaurants acquire products outside of Bohol, and that this is one gap that needs to be addressed to maximize economic gains from the multiplier effect of the tourism industry.
The agriculture and tourism Senior High School program models in Bohol take into account both the development goals of the province vis-à-vis industry needs in human resource and even production.
Also complementing efforts to boost agriculture in the province, Chatto also attended on Tuesday the turnover of the Nahawan Communal Irrigation System Rehabilitation Project to NA-UB Irrigators Association of Nahawan in Clarin and Ubujan in Inabanga.
He was joined by National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Regional Manager Engr. Mario Sande, 2nd District Cong. Aris Aumentado, Clarin Mayor Allen Rey Piezas and farmer and irrigator members of NA-UB Irrigators Association.
The project benefits 55 members of the NA-UB Irrigators Association who farm 42 hectares covered by the irrigation system and produce 3-4 tonnes per hectare.
The governor underscored government initiatives in ensuring rice sufficiency in spite of challenges of El Niño. He also encouraged inter-cropping and integrated farming with the support of agriculture programs.
Despite the El Niño phenomenon, food sufficiency indicators in Bohol have remained high, the only province in Region VII to have accomplished this feat. Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, rice production sufficiency is at 106%, corn sufficiency is at 107%, and root crops sufficiency is at 662%. (Leah/EDCOM)