BAGUIO CITY: The Special Committee on the North Luzon Growth Quadrangle must make a priority the full operation of the Loakan airport, expansion of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and completion of circumferential roads within the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area to help spur economic growth in the region, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said.
The mayor added that the summer capital is the jump-off point for tourists visiting the various tourist destinations in the region, thus, the urgent need to make Loakan airport fully operational to accommodate commercial flights. This will be done through the installation of appropriate instrument landing system equipment that will bring back more foreign and domestic tourist arrivals not only to the city but also the entire region, he said.
Loakan airport stopped its commercial operations more than eight years ago after various airline companies abandoned their flights to the city because of the difficulty of maneuvering, especially during bad weather when visibility is zero. This is aggravated by the inadequate length and width of the runway, barring bigger aircraft from landing here.
Domogan said there is a need for the concerned government agencies to locate feasible areas outside the city for PEZA expansion as interested investors want to locate in the PEZA. He added that the inadequate land area at PEZA hampers the entry of more investors.
The mayor pointed out that the PEZA expansion outside the city will contribute greatly to economic growth in other areas with the creation of more jobs and increased income for local governments.
Further, he urged the committee to help in seeking funds for the completion of the interior and exterior circumferential road networks in BLISTT to attract investors to put up their businesses in strategic places outside the city, thus avoiding the possible over-development in certain city villages.
Most parts of the BLISTT’s interior circumferential road network have been completed but Domogan said there is a need for government agencies to provide adequate funding for the exterior road network for potential ecotourism destinations.
The Cordillera has been identified as one of the premier ecotourism destinations in the country because of its scenic spots as well as numerous unexplored areas that could help entice foreign and domestic nature lovers to consider the region as must-see area.