No quake aid to Choco Hills hit

TAGBILARAN CITY – Even before the formal campaign period kicks off, former Carmen town councilor Atan Binlod, a trusted aide-de-camp of congressional bet Conchita “Che” Toribio delos Reyes, fired off an opening salvo, slamming the provincial government for providing no aid for the rehabilitation of the Chocolate Hills complex situated in one of the hills, barangay Buenos Aires in his town.

The complex frequented by hundreds of tourists from afar everyday has been destroyed by the earthquake that shook the province in October 15, 2013.

He said that the provincial government has been receiving 30% share of the income generated by the complex managed by municipal government of Carmen town.

Carmen town carried out the management and operation of the complex pursuant to an agreement which has not yet been reportedly revisited after its expiration.

This surfaced during the press conference held at Bohol Tropics Resort Club here called by Delos Reyes camp along with gubernatorial candidate Loay lady Mayor Rosemarie “Mae” Imboy, who is on her last term that will end on June 30, 2016.

Meanwhile, reports reaching Bohol News Today said the provincial government of Bohol has not yet acted favorably the move of this town to increase the entrance fee of the Chocolate Hills complex.

The fact remains that the Choco Hills complex situated in barangay Buenos Aires is still owned by the provincial government but operated by this town on a 70-30 share of the net income under an agreement.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) passed Resolution No. 2015-123, “Urging the Honorable Mayor Ricardo Francisco A. Toribio of Carmen, Bohol to hold in abeyance the implementation of the increase of entrance fee rate at the Chocolate Hills Complex.”

The said measure was sponsored by Hon. Venzencio B. Arcamo, committee chair co-sponsored by the Honorable Presiding Officer, Vice-Governor Concepcion O. Lim, the e-mail sent by SP Secretary Bonifacio Quirog, said.

The said letter to the mayor of this town cited as reason that the proposed imposition of the entrance fee of the complex “increase deserves further consultation, not only within the Municipality of Carmen, but also with other stakeholders in the tourism industry, more importantly, the Province of Bohol that owns the property.”

The letter to Mayor Mayor Ricardo Francisco Toribio was signed by SP secretary Quirog in behalf of Vice-Gov. Concepcion O. Lim.

The proposed increase was amounted to Php100 from used to be only Php50/person, report said.

The complex draws thousands of visitors each year to view the wonder in the Chocolate Hills as far as eyes can see.

Both parties (province and Carmen) executed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on August 30, 1993 to effect the arrangement.

The MOA provides that Carmen shall take responsibility in the management and operations of the complex but it “shall manage in an interim capacity effective upon the signing of the MOA, until such time the provincial government can adopt the conceptual plan of development of the complex, but not earlier than one year after the date of effectivity.”

The report said that even after the stints of then Gov. now Cong. Rene Relampagos and then Gov. Erico Aumentado, the MOA, that was already expired was not not renewed. It’s almost five years that Gov. Chatto has reigned but the MOA was not yet renewed, the report said. (rvo)

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