Davao region gets bulk of tourism road projects

Subscribe Now May 08, 2013 at 11:33am

SOME P29 billion worth of road projects to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in 2013 and 2014 are expected to boost arrivals in key tourism destinations in the country.

These gateways to tourism destinations were identified during consultations with local tourism and Public Works executives under the Tourism Road Infrastructure Priority Program, a collaboration between the DPWH and the Department of Tourism (DOT), according to Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr.

Of the projects, P12 billion worth are being implemented this year; the rest, worth P17 billion, will start construction next year.

Region 11, or the Davao region, will get P1.5 billion, the bulk of this year’s tourism road budget from the DPWH. Region 5 (Bicol) will get P1.22 billion; Region 6 (Western Visayas), P1.05 billion; Region 4-B (Mimaropa or Marinduque, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Romblon and Palawan), P1.03 billion; Cordillera Administrative Region, P1.02 billion; and Region 4-A (Calabarzon), P1 billion, according to the General Appropriations Act of 2013. Region 2, or Cagayan Valley, will get the smallest allocation—P150 million.

This is the first time the DPWH will be directly involved in bidding out local road projects, underscoring their importance in enhancing the tourism prospects of the areas where these will be built, DOT officials said.

Jimenez said the road projects for 2014 are still being finalized.

Region 11 Tourism Director Arturo Boncato Jr. said, “one key road project is the Samal Island Circumferential Road, the island being our region’s key site.” Two projects have been allocated to the upgrading and improvement of the circumferential road, amounting to a total P245 million. It also includes an upgrade of the Padada-Piape road leading to the Crocodile Park which costs P75 million.

Other projects, Boncato said, include a road in Davao del Sur to the foot of Mount Apo, a popular mountaineering destination; the Obrero, Davao City, road to the University of Southeastern Philippines multipurpose gymnasium, a MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) facility; Davao del Norte roads to Poblacion and seaside (baywalk), and tribal villages; and a Davao Oriental road to coastal towns where beaches area located.

“The DOT and the DPWH partnership will contribute to the promotion of inclusive growth and poverty reduction by integrating communities to the tourism value chain and building local institutions through better or improved road connectivity. Again, in pursuit of the vision that says, ‘tourism is the people’s business,’” Jimenez added.

This year, the DOT has targeted visitor arrivals at 5.5 million. In the first quarter of 2013, visitor arrivals rose by 10.8 percent to 1.27 million.

Under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) of 2010-2016, the government is supposed to invest some P74 billion in infrastructure, tourist-site improvement and marketing support, to be able to reach its goal of attracting 10 million to 12 million foreign visitors and 36 million domestic travelers by 2016.

The NTDP is a P266-billion national blueprint to enhance the tourism industry’s potential as a driver of the economy. The government is eyeing the tourism sector to contribute 8.1 percent to gross domestic product by 2016, and directly employ 6.8 million people to account for 17 percent of total employment by the end of President Aquino’s term.

Source: businessmirror.com.ph

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