Issue of August 25, 2013
     
NEWS
Benguet
Ifugao
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

65th Courier Anniversary Issue
 
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Mayor envisions Bauko town as an ecotourism destination
by Dexter A. See

BAUKO, Mountain Province – Mayor Abraham Akilit wants the municipality to be an ecotourism destination once potential sites are developed to compliment other well-known destinations such as Sagada, Banaue in Ifugao, and Kabayan in Benguet.

Aside from being the headwaters of the Chico, Agno, Abra and Magat rivers, Akilit wants Bauko to be a jump off point of foreign and domestic tourists wanting to explore the pristine beauty of the Cordillera by visiting its high and low mountains while enjoying its cool weather.

“We want to teach our people to value the importance of preserving and protecting our environment, which we could capitalize on to attract more visitors who will help spur economic growth beneficial to the present and future generations,” Akilit said.

He added he asked some employees to prepare a comprehensive tourism development plan for the municipal government to adopt in the future to improve tourist arrivals.

Bauko hosts the Mount Data National Park and the Mount Data Hotel, which is a historical site in the town because it is where former president Corazon Aquino and former rebel priest Conrado Balweg signed the Sipat or peace agreement that ended hostilities in the Cordillera on Sept. 13, 1986. The signing of the peace agreement paved the way for the issuance of Executive Order 220 that created the Cordillera Administrative Region to prepare it for autonomous status.

The local chief executive plans to put up a museum in the Mount Data Hotel where memorabilia of the signing of the peace agreement could be found. He is working out the generation of resources from concerned government agencies in order to fulfill such plan.

Other potential tourist spots in the town are the Mount Polis viewpoint, Spanish trail, lowland high mountains, the undisturbed forest of Sinto, the clear waters of the Chico and Agno rivers, and rice and vegetable terraces.

Bauko has a population of more than 30,000 people. It has a land area of over 17,000 hectares spread within its 22 barangays.

“We need to implement appropriate programs and projects that will help the local government generate more employment opportunities for residents, increase their sources of livelihood, generate income for the local government, and improve the state of infrastructure and the overall economic situation of the municipality,” Akilit said.

He said the interest shown by some technical people in developing minihydro power plants and establishing ecotourism parks indicates the municipal government is on the right rack in realizing its goals and objectives for the benefit of the greater majority.

The mayor assured residents developments that will protect the biodiversity of the municipality will be the ones to be allowed while destructive mode of development will not push through.


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