TUBA, Benguet – The municipal government here will be putting up the life-size statue of Arch. Lyman Kennon, the brains behind the construction of the scenic zigzag road named after him, to serve as one of the major tourists destinations along the stretch of the over 34-kilometer roadline or the shortest route to and from Baguio City.
Mayor Ignacio Rivera said Kennon’s life-size bust will be erected either in a suitable area in Camp 1 or in Camp 6 depending on the evaluation of the local government’s technical personnel who are assessing the most feasible area where it will be constructed.
“We are grateful to the members of the municipal council led by Vice Mayor Clarita Sal-ongan for working out the provision of the funds for the realization of the long overdue plan to put up Kennon’s bust in the most feasible area that will be determined for the purpose. We want to maximize the rich history and tourism potentials of the municipality to serve as an added must-see destination while tourists flock to Baguio City passing through the municipality,” Rivera stressed.
The local chief executive disclosed the photograph of Kennon’s with his car is already in the possession of concerned technical personnel of the municipality. The design for the bust is now being worked out while ascertaining the area where it will be erected in the coming months, primarily to educate the public on Kennon’s contributions to the construction of the zigzag road leading to Baguio City, the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.
Kennon Road was formerly known as the Benguet Road that was built by thousands of foreign and domestic laborers in 1903 before it was opened to the motoring public sometime in 2005. Arch. Kennon was the primary builder of the road to allow the Americans convenient travel to Baguio City, which was then considered as a suitable rest and recreation area because of its cool and unique climate to allow them to spend a break from the scorching heat of the lowlands.
Further, Kennon Road was described to be the shortest route to and from Baguio City because of the significantly reduced travel time before it was heavily devastated by the intensity 7.9 killer earthquake that rocked most parts of Northern Luzon on July 16, 1990.
Mayor Rivera underscored that putting Kennon’s bust along a portion of the road is the local government’s contribution in honouring the grand architect of the Baguio City route aside from helping improve the local tourism industry for the town. Baguio City is expected to have a significant share of the visitors flocking to the Summer Capital, especially with the Yuletide season and numerous crowd-drawing events lined up in the coming months, considering that tourism is one of Baguio City’s major economic drivers.
Aside from mining and agriculture, Rivera pointed out that the local government is setting its sights on tourism as an added economic driver to contribute in providing more jobs, economic activities and sources of livelihood for the residents in the town’s 13 barangays in the coming months and sustain its classification as a first-class municipality being one of the gateways to Baguio City for investors to consider the town as a potential investment haven in the future.