BONTOC, Mountain Province – Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. is keeping his fingers crossed relative to the realization of the proposed rehabilitation of the historic Mount Data hotel amidst the resignation of tourism officials who assured local officials of the sufficient funding for the project.
The governor said that former Tourism Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre committed an initial funding of P50 million to initially improve the hotel because of its significant contribution to the rich history of the Cordillera but it seems the funds have not been made available in the tourism department’s 2018 budget.
Initially, concerned local governments requested the tourism department to provide some P500 million for the total rehabilitation and upgrading of the State-run tourism establishment in the province but only P50 million was assured to initially fund the project.
Lacwasan claimed that what had been agreed upon with tourism officials was for the construction of additional wings of the structure to help in efforts to preserve the historical value of the building and its current aesthetics.
“We hope that the present leadership in the tourism department will see the importance of the need to pursue the desired rehabilitation and upgrading of the Mount Data hotel so that more foreign and domestic tourists will be enticed to frequently visit the scenic tourist destinations around the province,” Lacwasan stressed.
The provincial official said that it is unfortunate that the facility is left unattended to date and that the structure is deteriorating because of the absence of personnel to maintain the hotel, thus, the need for concerned government agencies to already act on the proposal to rehabilitate and upgrade the tourism establishment to maximize its potentials in generating the influx of more tourists to the province.
It was in Mount Data where former President Corazon C. Aquino and the late Fr. Conrado Balweg, founder of the Cordillera Bodong Administration – Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA) signed the historic Mount Data peace agreement that caused the secession of hostilities between the armed group and government forces in the mountains of the Cordillera.
Lacwasan claimed it seems the government is it interested to pursue the proposed rehabilitation and upgrading of the tourism establishment because it failed to provide for the proposed funding to initially pursue the project while awaiting the appropriation of more funds that will be used to fully improve the condition of the hotel.
Earlier, the tourism department agreed to rehabilitate and upgrade the hotel with the management of the facility to be turned over o the State-run Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) based in the province while the Bauko municipal government will be the one to manage the recreational facilities that will be established outside the hotel and the peace museum that will be included as part of the structure.
He asserted that concerned provincial officials will exert extra effort in trying to lobby with the concerned government agencies for the provision of additional funds for the realization of the proposed improvement of the hotel because it will be an added boost to the growth of the local tourism industry. By HENT