>Abatan River


The Province of Bohol is renowned as a prime tourist destination with a special brand of tourism which blends culture (to include its people), environment and agriculture. As an agriculture economy, it makes tourism as its main economic driver. But somehow, much of the province’s areas have yet to directly benefit or even enjoy from the blessings that tourism has endowed to a few municipalities. 
Talking about environmental assets in the province that has high tourism potential, the Abatan River comes to mind. With it’s richness of resources, it comes from the top up and  down to the shorelines. Looking at the town of Loboc which has ridden the tourism bandwagon way ahead of all other towns, Abatan River indeed can possibly compliment, compete if not exceed what Loboc River has attained. 
The visionary leaders of the towns (Antequera, Balilihan, Catigbian, Cortes and Maribojoc alphabetically) where the Abatan River traverses has seen this potential. A good three or for years back which was spurred by an NGO, unregistered one even at that, the towns saw the “diamond in the rough” and it is only now that the members of this cluster were given the opportunity to have a tool that they can learn to maximize their efforts, initiatives and resources in improving the economic development of not only the respective towns but to the whole cluster. This, primarily redounds, to poverty alleviation or its eradication among of its constituents. 
The tool is the participatory approach called Local and Regional Economic Development or LRED wherein which last Friday and Saturday October 17 and 18 had it’s consolidation workshop at the Grand Ballroom of the Metro Centre Hotel and Convention Center. Consolidation since there has already been LRED workshops in the respective LGUs in the past few months. The activity was participated in by not only the LCEs and its policy-making body but also by other respective stakeholders including the private sector. 
LRED purposedly intends to build up economic capacity of a local/regional area to improve its economic and the quality of life for all. It is a process by which public and private sector partners work collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and generation of employment. 
LRED is an approach crafted through the assistance of the Private Sector Promotion Program SMEDSEP(Small and Medium Enterprises Development for Sustainable Employment Program) or PSP-SMEDCEP, a project of Technical Cooperation, GTZ, between the Republic of the Philippines and the Federal Republic of Germany and the Department of Trade and Industry. 
Key participants to the activity were Mayors Cecelia Rebosura of Antequera, Victoria M. Chatto of Balilihan, Capt. Bert Salinas Catigbian, Jas Balistoy of Cortes and Leoncio Evasco of Maribojoc. Other important quests who delivered messages were DTI-7 Regional Director Asteria Caberte, Ma. Elena Arbon of the Provincial DTI, Anja Gorm, Program Manager for PSP-SMEDSEP, Merriam Bacalso, GTZ-SMEDSEP Region-7 Coordinator, Congressman Edgar Chatto, Atty. Tomas Abapo, Jr. in behalf of the Governor. Other observers include GTZ-SMEDSEP Coordinators Rea Ledesma of Region-6 and Racquel Carpio of Region-8. The workshop was facilitated by Linda Paredes and Emilia Roslinda of PROCESS-Bohol and last but definitely not the least Mr. Blair Panong of DTI as moderator and Master of Ceremonies. – Sunday Post

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