BAUKO, Mountain Province– The municipal government disclosed that the ongoing repair of the historic 22-room Mount Data Hotel will be completed by the contractor by May after the prescribed deadline of the project last March was moved back.
Mayor Abraham B. Akilit stated that it was the contractor who committed that the ongoing repair of the accommodation facility will be completed by May for the State-owned Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to initially operate the same once the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases will ease up the prevailing various levels of community quarantine to contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
He added that the local government remains optimistic that the TIEZA will allow the turnover of the management of the facility to the municipality pursuant to an agreement by both parties to help in sustaining the operation of the hotel for the benefit of the growth of the local tourism industry.
Earlier, the TIEZA earmarked some P36 million for the initial repair of the Mount Data hotel that was implemented sometime in August last year and was supposed to be initially completed last March.
However, the aforesaid allocation was way below the proposed funding that would have ensured the complete rehabilitation of the hotel aside from the establishment of the peace museum that will display all the memorabilia that had been preserved through the years during the signing of the historic Mount Data peace agreement.
Mayor Akilit disclosed that the proposal for the repair of the Mount Data hotel was initially submitted to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) during the previous administration before the same was transferred to the TIEZA that eventually provided for the initial funding support to start the repair of the facility.
The Mount Data Hotel was the venue of the signing of the historic peace agreement on September 13, 1986 between the Philippine government under the leadership of former President Corazon C. Aquino and the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) headed by former rebel priest Conrado Balweg.
The peace agreement paved the way for the subsequent issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 220 by President Aquino on July 15, 1987 that created the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) by putting 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.
The provincial government managed and operated the Mount Data hotel from 2006-2016 before the same was returned to the TIEZA following the alleged losses incurred by the province during the said duration that it was handling the operation of the facility. By HENT