MANILA – Bohol lost an estimated P15 billion in revenue as a result of quarantine restrictions imposed in the island province to rein in the spread of COVID-19, its governor said Friday.
The coronavirus crisis has hit the province’s tourism and services sectors hard, affecting three-quarters of its economy, Bohol Governor Arthur Yap told ANC’s “Matters of Fact”.
“In Bohol, the revenue streams are basically only from OFW (overseas Filipino worker) income and from tourism and services, so actually, if you look at our provincial income accounts, you’re looking at services standing at about 75 to 78 percent of our economy in terms of revenues generated,” he said.
“If you put that now to peso numbers, then we are possibly looking at a hit of about P15 billion in revenue streams that were hit in the last 8 months affecting more than 211,000 to 220,000 Boholanos.”
About 40 percent of those affected have temporarily lost their jobs, he added.
The provincial government has since provided assistance to affected residents, especially to the transportation sector, which is crucial in the reopening of its tourism industry, Yap said.
To revive the coronavirus-battered economy, Bohol will be reopening its doors to travel-starved tourists starting Nov. 15.
In line with its safe and gradual resumption of tourism activities, Yap said they would first allow tourists to visit the famous white-sand beaches of Panglao Island.
They are also open to holding conventions and other events, provided participants observed minimum public health standards.
Travelers will have to register through a website, book their stay in government-accredited accommodation facilities and present a negative RT-PCR test result issued within 72 hours.
"Do-it-yourself" tours are currently banned and the local government will provide itineraries to tourists, Yap said.
To date, the province, which has a population of about 1.4 million, has 81 patients currently sick with the coronavirus.
“Through the last 8 months, working closely with our mayors, our barangay captains, maintaining quarantine facilities, together with the Philippine National Police, we are acting very quickly and aggressively when there are community outbreaks,” Yap said.
“We employ local, granular lockdowns and then we do an aggressive system of contact tracing. That’s why I feel, if we keep this system in place, managing this virus is actually possible.”