THE 4.6-kilometer Taal Lake Circumferential Road in Agoncillo town of Batangas is expected to spur tourism and gain more income for this part of the Calabarzon region, local officials said Friday.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officially turned over the road, worth P77 million, to the local government of Agoncillo over the weekend.
“Now, investors are taking a second look at the area, especially in Laurel, Talisay, Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Sta.Teresita, and Alitagtag,” Batangas 3rd District Representative Nelson Collantes told reporters Friday. “We are going to connect the circumferential road also to Mataas Na Kahoy and Cuenca.”
Collantes initiated the Agoncillo road project, which is part of a 122.9-kilometer road project for Batangas under the government’s Convergence Program on Enhancing Tourism Access.
The program identifies vital access roads and other infrastructure requirements in certain tourism areas.
Meanwhile, Collantes is also pushing for the creation of a Taal Lake Development Authority so the lake and its tributaries would have sustainable and viable development, according to him.
“It should have a comprehensive plan that involves the use of the lake with the aim of preserving its ecology and at the same time providing alternative livelihood to people,” Collantes told The Manila Times in a sideline interview during the Taal Lake road’s turnover ceremonies.
Completion of the entire Taal Lake Circumferential Road project is set in 2019, covering part of the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape, one of the major attractions in Batangas.
The road is aimed to entice tourists from Manila and Tagaytay City to the 11 municipalities and one city surrounding Taal Lake and Taal Volcano.
It will also provide a faster route to these places, according to Collantes, and will cut travel time by half for the trade of agriculture and maritime products from the region.
The road will also promote “responsible tourism,” according to DOT Region IV Director Rebecca Villanueva-Labit, aside from giving more income opportunities for the local communities in Batangas.
“By taking care of the natural environment and using it responsibly, we will have a more sustainable tourism, which is eco-tourism,” Labit said. “By championing eco-tourism, we can help prevent natural disasters.”
Batangas has the third largest tourist arrivals in the Calamba-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon region in 2014, after Quezon and Laguna.
The whole region last year attracted 15 million tourists, who spent an average of P1,000 a day for food, transportation, and souvenir, based on DOT estimates.