With barely eleven weeks more to prepare, Governor Edgar Chatto rallies Boholanos to unite and dig deep into the culture of hosting visitors as Bohol is among the few provinces picked to host ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in time for the bloc’s golden anniversary.
Incidentally, for the governor, it is nothing but a red carpet welcome for the ASEAN.
At a meeting he personally called to coordinate a seamless experience and make memorable time for ASEAN Senior Ministers and the support staff arriving in Bohol for a series of meetings on the third week of April. Chatto wants this to be a showcase for Bohol’s hospitality and the island’s beauty.
Also in the meeting, the first one attended by national government agencies and other concerned offices of the Capitol was a representative of Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr.: General Josephus Angan.
To officially start the wheels of ASEAN 2017 preparations grinding, the governor issues an unnumbered Executive Order in 2016, creating a Local organizing Council for the forthcoming ASEAN 2017 meetings in Bohol.
As expected in the meetings which would be held in Panglao are high level delegates such as ministers and senior officials, ensuring success and facilitating the big international event, Gov. Chatto put up the 7 committee Local Organizing Council under him.
Co chairpersons in the council are Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap, Dauis mayor Marietta Sumaylo, Panglao mayor Leonila Montero and action officer is Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II.
Damalerio also stressed that if there is a need for more sub committees to tackle specific tasks or issues, the council is game.
Seven Committees have been created: Security, Peace and Order, Emergency Preparedness and Response; Infrastructure; Transport and Communications; Tourism Hospitality, Tours, Social events and Site Enhancement, Finance, Budget and Procurement, Business and Investment promotions and Media Affairs.
While the ASEAN have set schedules for April 18-22, LOC have to prepare for the weeklong even when advance party starts arriving and until the last of the delegates have left.
Considering the high level coordination, Bohol would be needing volunteers to help the committees perform their tasks, the governor said.
Other than the meetings, the Department of Tourism has also put in their Bohol package some tours, site visits and other events, added Jaypee Orcullo of the Bohol DOT desk.
And to make sure the proper protocols are used, Damalerio who presided over the meeting owing to the governor’s hoarse voice, said the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Foreign Services Institute would be conducting a hosting and liaising protocols training for those who would be assigned to liaise for the 10 member states and ASEAN observer states.
Also in the meeting were issues on infrastructure situations over the ASEAN routes, the state of cleanliness of tourism sites and their facilities enough to give Bohol the show window it can be for the Asian guests.
The governor was particularly singling out about the cleanliness of public areas: highway stretches with unsightly billboards, garbage, dirty public restrooms, stray dogs, illegal transport operators and potential security threats.
Over this, the governor ordered mayors to start relaying the news and ordering the general clean up, not just of the ASEAN routes in Panglao to the Chocolate Hills, but in all places where the tourists might stray upon.
“Impose the rules, use your will power. Let me remind you that police powers is in your hands,” he said if only to rouse in Boholanos that disposition to the clean and orderly as manifested when everyone does the preparations in receiving guests during fiesta time. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)