Rey Anthony H. Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Sept 9 (PIA) – Unites States (US) Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr., wished one day, Bohol could also send peace corps to Mindanao, as the US sent in its peace corps volunteers to the Philippines since 1946.
Amb. Thomas Jr., who is in his few remaining days as ambassador said his coming to Bohol is in celebration of the US Government’s strong partnership with through the United States Agency for International Development (USAid), as well as to honor the American volunteers in the peace corps in Bohol.
Coming in to Bohol a few days before getting pulled out for another assignment, Amb Thomas Jr. cited how the US government considers Bohol as one of their success stories for the US development assistance.
Boholanos largely consider the US development assistance as largely contributive to bring Bohol out from a highly troubled conflict area which discouraged peace and development into one of the region’s hubs for economic development.
Officially coming to Bohol this time, following an in cognito visit to tour the island, Amb. Thomas also met with the US Peace Corps who have been volunteering to build a better future to Boholanos since 1950s.
The history of Bohol transformation however took a long and tedious process of involving multi-stakeholders and making them accountable for the crafting of the local development.
Since 1991, the US Government has partnered with Bohol through the Local Development Assistance Program which helped Bohol set up an umbrella system for Non Government Organizations, in line with the government’s decentralization reforms through local revenue enhancement, environmental protection and strengthening LGUs and NGOS capabilities to attain accelerated growth and investments, summed up Governor Edgar Chatto in his opening message during the Ambassador’s luncheon with local officials at the Bohol Tropics Thursday.
By 1996, the US Government put in Bohol the Governance on Local Democracy and it played the pivotal role in Bohol’s development and environmental resource management leading to the institutionalization of the Bohol Environment Code; the first in the country.
From then, Bohol has been a consistent recipient of a steady stream of USAid from the American people in the form of partnerships for growth like the Advancing Philippine Competitiveness Project (Compete) which deals on accelerating and sustaining broad-based and inclusive growth.
Bohol also gets US assistance through private sector mobilization for family health in delivering family-planning, maternal and child care services while it also helps Bohol in its Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Project which helps build communities that are socially, ecologically and socially resilient to climate change.
“We are proud to be a part of Bohol’s achievements as an emerging growth center and we look forward to further advancing productive partnership as we work towards our shared goal of achieving broad-based and inclusive growth,” Amb. Thomas said.
But even before these newer partnerships could work its magic, Bohol has patted away insurgency by presenting better options for poverty alleviation.
On this, Thomas wished “one day we can send peaceful volunteers from Bohol to Mindanao,” which generated avid applause from Boholanos during the luncheon with the ambassador.