Bohol eyes bypass highway to bring dev’t to poor towns

Governor Arthur Yap has proposed a bypass highway project that will connect underdeveloped northern towns of Bohol province to the more progressive southern areas.

Yap on Tuesday said the proposed project is a response to the necessity to connect the poverty stricken agricultural towns to the more developed municipalities described as tourism intensive.

This capital city is located in the southern portion of Bohol.

The concept of a bypass highway and spatial development, Yap said, was presented to architects during the opening ceremony of the 87th Annual Convention of the Philippine Institute of Architects (PIA) at the Bohol Tropics Resort last week.

The project proposal which, he said, would align with the province's bid to establish an ecosystem of creative and cultural industries, was also presented to tourism stakeholders a day before he tackled it with the architects.

Yap pointed out that the south cannot be allowed to continually have the lion's share of the development while the northern local government units are relatively impoverished.

He cited the prevailing problem on poverty and the lack of income despite attracting 1.8 million visitors a year on one hand and the bulk of the poverty stricken areas in the north where around 300,000 to 400,000 people are still living below poverty level, on the other hand.

Based on the plan, the bypass highway and spatial development will anchor on the old Tagbilaran Airport which will not only be developed as just a simple retail strip.

What we want to do in the old strip at the old airport is to build something new. Together with the UNESCO and the World Bank, we will build a creative city, a creative business strip in that old strip. To ask for SM, or Robinsons or Megaworld to just come in is a tried solution, but what we try to do is something new, Yap said.

He said there would be retail, leasable spaces and office spaces highlighting an ecosystem of creative and cultural industries to be built at the old Tagbilaran Airport.

That's the concept but the artistic execution belongs to our architects, Yap said, reiterating what he told the architects during their Bohol convention.

He said the province has been designated as one of the country's stand alone destinations where many people come and spend a few days independent of their travels in other parts of the country.

Apart from the planned bypass highway, Yap said Bohol has a circumferential highway that is 100 percent cemented. This highway has cut short the travel around the island province.

From Tagbilaran going to the back part in Alicia, the back part of the island, then Ubay which is very close to Leyte, you can cover that distance in two and a half hours to three hours easy driving of about 120 to 150 kilometers. From Ubay, if you take the other side, the one fronting Cebu, you will pass by Getafe, Tubigon, Loon and back to Tagbilaran City. That's another easy ride of about two and half hours to three hours. All our roads are cemented, he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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