Bohol has won the biggest Philippine business organization’s “Most Business-Friendly Province” Award in a first-time feat that “toppled all the giants.”
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) had the honor of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte conferring the grand award to Gov. Edgar Chatto during the 43rd Philippine Business Conference at the Manila Hotel on Thursday, October 19.
The award was, unexpectedly, followed by an investor’s call to the governor that they are proceeding with their plan to build a 1,200-room resort and water park in Bohol.
Hours before the awarding, Chatto got a text message from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Dep. Gov. Diwa Gunigundo informing the governor that “we have already decided on the property” where the BSP branch in Bohol will rise.
The establishment of a full Central Bank branch in Bohol is itself considered a recognition of the province’s bullish development and growth.
Gunigundo’s information was in reply to the follow up by Chatto and the local banking and business sectors regarding the economy-modifying project.
“Once the papers are in place, we will go to the MNonetary Board and have them approved. Then we shall be off to Bohol for the groundbreaking,” the BSP official said in his same message to the governor.
Since the PCCI award, Boholanos across the world have
flooded the social media with congratulatory, proud messages on such an achievement of their home province and its leadership by Chatto.
Assisted by Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez, Duterte presented the award to Chatto with the PCCI officers and members led by their president, George Barcelon, witnessing.
Muntinlupa City in Metro Manila, Tagum City in Davao del Norte, and Vigan City in Ilocos Sur were the “Most Business-Friendly City” Award winners in the City Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 categories, respectively.
The town of Calaca in Batangas claimed the top honor in the municipal category.
The annual PCCI awards recognize local government units that have “demonstrated outstanding efforts in instituting good governance reforms to promote trade and investments, transparency, accountability and efficiency in delivering business services to fuel up inclusive growth in the locality.”
The PCCI also awarded its outstanding member chambers and certain corporate entities for global excellence.
For the first time, Bohol landed among the 14 finalist provinces until it was ultimately adjudged the winner of the prestigious yearly search conducted by the PCCI since 2001.
Along with Acting Vice Gov. Venzencio Arcamo, Chatto received the PCCI award from Duterte during the country’s leading business group’s gathering, which keynote speaker and guest of honor was the president himself.
DU30 GREETS THE WINNER
As the governor was on stage about to receive the award, the smiling president greeted him, “Bohol gyod, Bohol gyod ang nidaug! (It’s Bohol, it’s Bohol the winner!)”
Chatto found time to thank Duterte for supporting Bohol development and asked the president to visit the province again.
Duterte had come to Bohol and personally assessed the island’s security condition during the ASEAN Trade Meeting in Panglao last April, during which the Abu Sayyaf tried to sow terror but was totally crushed.
It was the first of four ASEAN meetings in Bohol this year, the last one immediately before the ASEAN Leaders Summit in Manila this November.
“Gov, you toppled all the giants!” one of the award judges who could not obviously hide his praises for Bohol’s unprecedented distinction told Chatto during the winner announcement and honoring.
The said member of the 12-man panel of judges was referring the “giants” to the “top award contenders” which were the provinces of Bulacan, Cebu, Cavite, Bataan, Davao del Norte and Isabela.
Bohol’s win trashed the bid and blew the hope of Bulacan, a two-consecutive-year winner, to get into the Hall of Fame. Cebu is also a former two-time awardee.
The selection process weighed on two indicators—the qualifying and essential—and the nominees must first qualify in the areas of investment promotion, compliance to the Anti-Red Tape Act, and fiscal transparency.
The essential indicators consisted of trade, investment, and tourism promotion; public-private partnership; micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development; quality management systems (QMS), innovations, and human resource development; and local government collaboration.
In the final judging at the PCCI Boardroom a week before the winner announcement-awarding, Chatto presented in five “snappy” minutes—the only time allotted for each finalist— Bohol’s initiatives and accomplishments hitting the essential criteria.
“Pursuant to our principle and practice of shared leadership, all Boholanos deserve the credit,” the governor said.
Again, he specially mentioned Provincial Planning and Development Officer John Titus Vistal, Bohol Investment Promotions Center Chief Ma. Fe Dominise, consultant Linda Paredes, and the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by its president, Engr. Albert Uy.
Reps. Rene Relampagos and Arthur Yap managed to catch up with the awarding event.
The awarding was also witnessed by some other cabinet secretaries, including Department of Finance Sec. Carlos Domiguez III who is now in Bohol for the ASEAN Meeting on Taxation in Panglao starting tomorrow.
Being a finalist then was already deemed a good endorsement of Bohol to more investors—and even just to those finding ideal destinations for major conventions and conferences.
Another ASEAN conference, this time on foreign affairs matters, will be held in Bohol in the second week of November before the ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in Manila in the same month.
On October 20 or a day after the PCCI award in Manila, Bohol was awarded in Cebu City as the “Most Outstanding Province” for Fund Disbursement of the I-BUILD Program under the World Bank-assisted Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).
The award was received by a Bohol team from Department of Agriculture Reg’l Dir. Remelyn Recoter during the Finance Review and Assessment Workshop of the PRDP – PSO Visayas Cluster – Finance Unit at the Cityscape Hotel.
Since 2010, Bohol has been awarded/conferred the Seal of Good Local Governance, Seal of Good Housekeeping, Gawad Pamana ng Lahi and Galing Pook Award, among others.
Under Chatto, Bohol has been acclaimed number one among the “Best-Governed Provinces” in the country under the Local Government Performance Management System of the Department of Interior and Local Government. (Ven rebo Arigo)