US affirms partnership with Bohol, launches health, environ projects
by Rey Anthony Chiu
Tagbilaran City (6 September) -- THE United States of America reaffirmed its commitment to the development of Bohol when it launched here two major activities to enhance environmental governance, strengthen environment management and at the same time promote sustainable tourism.
No less than US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney represented the people of America through the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) when she personally graced the launching here of Linking Initiatives and Networking for the Control of Tuberculosis in Children (TBLINC) and Going Green, an environmental tool kit for the tourism sector.
Provincial Health Officer Rey Moses Cabagnot said the USAid choice to get to Bohol was based on Bohol's track record in implementing health programs aside from the fact that it still rates high among the provinces with TB incidence in children.
In her keynote address at the double launch held at the Metrocenter Thursday, Ambassador Kenney who was visibly elated upon her first visit to Bohol pointed out that her coming would be marked by significant partnerships, innovations and celebrations for the future.
"This day, we see partnerships among the governments, the civil society, tourism stakeholders and the vibrant community committed to giving a better future and brighter future," she beamed.
On the USAid assistance, she called it an innovation in partnership in getting to the problem of TB control coupled with Bohol's commitment to protect the environment.
Moreover, she cited Bohol initiatives of giving better health as a key move to protect the children whom she considers as Bohol's greatest resource for the future.
In his address, Governor Erico Aumentado told the ambassador that all the Bohol initiatives were geared towards poverty alleviation, which he sees as the root to all social ills.
He said the new partnership with the US government would without doubt propel Bohol to its vision of development through eco-cultural tourism.
According to Work Wildlife Fund Project Officer Yeb Saņo, "Going Green aims to inform and encourage owners and operators of coastal businesses in the tourism sector to become more environmentally responsible".
"This is important because keeping the environment pristine means more tourists to enjoy the natural beauty, and this makes financial sense," he said in a press statement furnished to the media.
Amb. Kenney also turned over the Going Green Toolkit, an environmental tool to guide tourism sector stakeholders in taking up the environmental responsibility.
"Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world. In Bohol, many of our tourists sites are famous for their outstanding natural beauty. Tourists come for the beautiful scenery and extraordinary experience, so it makes sense for the tourism sector to look after its lifeline- the natural environment, pressed David Valdez, the president of the WWF Philippines.
Beach resorts here in Bohol have recently committed to implement waste-water treatment facilities so as to keep the beaches clean and at the same time save on water, energy and infrastructure development. (PIA) [top]