BAGUIO CITY – The Special Committee on the North Luzon Growth Quadrangle must prioritize the full operation of the Loakan airport, the expansion of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the completion of the inner and outer circumferential roads within the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area to help spur economic growth in the region, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said here recently.
He said Baguio is the jump-off point for tourists visiting the various tourist destinations in the region, thus, the urgent need to make Loakan airport fully operational to accommodate commercial flights through the installation of appropriate instrument landing system equipment that will bring back more foreign and domestic tourist arrivals not only in the city but also the whole region.
The commercial operation of the Loakan airport stopped more than eight years ago after various airline companies abandoned their flights in the city because of the difficulty of maneuvering, especially during bad weather when there is zero visibility in the area coupled with the alleged inadequate length and width of the runway needed by bigger aircraft.
On the other hand, Domogan revealed the need for concerned government agencies to locate feasible areas outside the city for the expansion of the PEZA as there are numerous interested investors that want to conduct their businesses in the PEZA. The inadequate land area in the existing PEZA hampers the entry of more investors.
The local chief executive pointed out the PEZA expansion outside the city will definitely contribute to the economic growth in other areas with job creation and increased income for local governments.
Further, he urged the said committee to help in seeking funds for the completion of the interior and exterior circumferential road networks in the BLISTT to attract investors put up their businesses in strategic places outside the city thus avoiding the possible over-development in the certain city barangays.
Most portions of the interior circumferential road network of the BLISTT has substantially been completed but Domogan said there is a need for government agencies to provide the adequate funding for the exterior road network to help in make it attractive for investors to put up their businesses outside the city considering that there are numerous potential ecotourism destinations in the different parts of the region.
“We hope that our national leaders will be able to provide the required funding for the completion of our various road networks to be the link in spurring economic growth in the countryside,” Domogan stressed.
The Cordillera has been identified as one of the premier ecotourism destinations in the country because of its scenic tourist spots coupled with numerous unexplored destinations that could help entice foreign and domestic nature lovers to consider the region as a must-see destination.
By Dexter A. See