BAUKO, Mountain Province – Outgoing Mayor Abraham B. Akilit underscored that the resumption of operation of the historic Mount Data hotel will definitely help in bringing back the vibrance of the province’s tourism industry because of the availability of accommodation facilities right in the central Cordillera.
Last May 5, 2022, the State-owned Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) formally opened the historic hotel after it underwent a facelift and improvement over the past several years.
He pointed out that the closure of the hotel for more than 5 years after its management and operation was returned by the provincial government to the TIEZA had impacted on the local tourism industry because foreign and domestic tourists wanting to stay overnight in the central Cordillera cannot do so, thus, the economic activities of the people had been affected during the period of the establishment’s closure.
The municipal chief executive stipulated that the operation of the Mount Data hotel will entice foreign and domestic tourists to stay longer in the province to visit tourist spots and contribute in reviving the heavily impacted economy to allow micro, small and medium enterprises to recover and regain the vibrance of their economic activities.
Bauko is the gateway to the central Cordillera aside from being the most populated municipality in the province having jurisdiction of the famous Mount Data national Park.
On September 13, 1986, former President Corazon C. Aquino represented the Philippine government and the late Fr. Conrado Balweg of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) entered into the traditional ‘sipat’ or exchange of peace tokens that paved the way for the signing of the peace agreement that ended the armed hostilities in the Cordillera.
Further, the historic event also led to the issuance by President Aquino of Executive Order (EO) that gave birth to the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) which brought together the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province and Baguio City from Region I and the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao from Region II.
Under the said order, CAR is supposed to administer the affairs of the government in the region, accelerate the socio-economic development of the region and prepare the region for autonomy.
The 1987 Constitution mandated the establishment of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao to allow the said regions to catch up with the pace of development of other regions in the country.
However, it was only Mindanao that was able to avail of the said provision while the 2 attempts of the Cordillera to achieve autonomy failed primarily because of the alleged watered down bill in Congress on the first attempt and the lack of information to the people during the second attempt.
The Cordillera is trying to make a third attempt to achieve regional autonomy through the various autonomy bills that had been filed in the previous Congresses and the upcoming 19th Congress to realize the long overdue aspirations of Cordillerans for self-rule.
Autonomy advocates assert that the establishment of the autonomous region will help move the people out of the shackles of poverty because of lesser restraint on the regional government from the central government.