BONTOC, Mountain Province – Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. admitted it is back to square one for the proposed multi-million peso rehabilitation of the State-run scenic and historic Mount Data hotel located at the heart of the famous Mount Data plateau in Bauko town due to the failure of the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to implement the initial P5 million earmarked for the partial rehabilitation of the hotel.
This delay and the closure of the hotel is slowing the growth of the town’s tourism industry, with less available decent lodging facilities in the province that may have contributed to the reduced foreign and domestic tourist arrivals in the province over the past two years.
However, he claimed that overall, tourist arrivals in the province continue to increase but there should have been more arrivals in the different parts of the province had the Mount Data hotel been operational over the past two years.
“We are deeply saddened over the sudden turn of events that have greatly impacted on the province’s tourism industry but we are optimistic we will get a better deal with the concerned government agencies after the political season shall have passed and the situation shall have normalized,” Lacwsan stressed.
The facilities of the Mount Data hotel was last used by concerned government agencies and the local governments, through the initiative of the office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the Regional Development Council in the Cordillera for the first-ever gathering of the peace and autonomy advocates last April 24, 2017.
The governor stated local officials and tourism industry stakeholders will have to make new rounds of meetings with the new tourism officials who were appointed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, although former DOT officials assured them of assistance in bringing up the matter to the new DOT management on the immediate rehabilitation of the scenic and historic Mount Data hotel.
According to him, it was agreed that the aesthetic view of the hotel will be maintained and to construct two expansion wings to increase the hotel’s capacity and preserved its historical value but the same did not materialize after the untimely relief of the former tourism officials who were allegedly involved in graft and corrupt practices.
Lacwasan revealed the provincial government intends to operate the hotel as part of its economic enterprise having operated the same from 2006 up to 2016 before its management was turned over to the TIEZA, formerly the Philippine Tourism Authority.