TAGBILARAN CITY, February 13 (PIA) -- With barely 11 weeks more to prepare, Governor Edgar Chatto urges Boholanos to unite and host 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.
For the governor, it is nothing but a red carpet welcome for the ASEAN.
At a meeting he 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 was a representative of Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., General Josephus Angan.
To officially start the wheels of ASEAN 2017 preparations grinding, the governor issued an executive order in 2016 creating a local organizing council for the forthcoming ASEAN 2017 meetings in Bohol.
To ensure success in facilitating the international event, 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 open to it.
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 to 22, the local organizing council have to prepare for the weeklong event when advance parties start 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 (DOT) has also put in their Bohol package tours, site visits and other events, added Jaypee Orcullo of the Bohol DOT desk.
And to make sure the proper protocols are used, Damalerio 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 visit.
"Impose the rules, use your will power. Let me remind you that police power is in your hands," he said. (rmn/rac/PIA-7/Bohol)