BAGUIO CITY -- Economic planners in Cordillera paint a rosy picture for investments that would be placed in the region's economic zones.
Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC) chairman, said there are several nature-based investments that investors can look into in the highland region's abundant natural resources.
National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) regional director and RDC co-chair Milagros Rimando said agriculture and organic farming, such as coffee-growing, the region's One-Town, One-Product bet, are potentially rich sources of profits for investors and economic benefits for the locals, too.
“We have a lot to offer in the Cordillera (aside from) tourism development. Kailangan pa natin ng mga economic zones," Domogan said, adding investments will bring employment to the residents and economic growth to the localities.
He said hydro and solar power generation, as well as setting up economic zones, are promising investment areas that Cordillera can offer.
The entry of more big investors and a higher economic activity, he stressed, will even result in the locals getting into small businesses, themselves, like putting up department stores and groceries, to cater to a growing market.
He added hydro and solar power plants will also add to the energy supply not only in the host locality, but also in Luzon or even the whole country.
Domogan said economic zones are ideal in Cordillera, considering the big land areas available in the provinces, such as in Tabuk City, Kalinga.
Meanwhile, Rimando said Baguio has been identified by the government as a preferred area in the national investment plan for electronics and aerospace.
She said this sector is among the top contributors to the region's gross domestic product.
Baguio is host to Texas Instruments Philippines, an American company engaged in the production of microchips, and the Moog Controls that produces airplane parts.
There was also a time, when Baguio was included in the top 100 favorite destinations for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) worldwide, together with 10 other cities in the country.
Rimando added Baguio's creative industry, which has been inspiring the whole region's interest in arts and crafts, particularly natural die-making for weaving, is also a potentially rich investment area.
She said the region is updating its investment priorities plan to include new possibilities and opportunities.
To be matched with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), Cordillera's regional development plan "will consolidate the provincial investment priorities in the six provinces and two cities in the region," Rimando said.
Meanwhile, Rimando has expressed hope the Loakan Airport in Baguio will be revived soon, under the Duterte administration.
She said Cordillera has long been clamoring for the development and reopening of the airport, explaining this allows easier access to Cordillera and transportation of people and goods, especially those manufactured at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority(PEZA) in the region.
“I have been in the Cordillera since 2012 and for several years, we asked for the CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) to conduct an aeronautical survey, which was never done,” Rimando said.
But in June 2018, under the Duterte administration, the CAAP eventually stayed for a week in Loakan to do an aeronautical survey.
The result of this, Rimando said, will be a tool for the establishment of flights.
“We are waiting for the obstacle plan of the CAAP from the survey they conducted,” she said.
Representatives of PAL Express also visited the airport and noted that the issues surrounding the airport are not critical.
Among the issues, authorities point as obstructions to flights at the airport are the buildings, mountains, and trees, as well as the residents who cross the runway to reach their houses.
Rimando said a private travel and tours agency based in Clark had expressed interest in transporting tourists from Clark to Baguio and in doing an aerial tour of the city and the rest of Cordillera. (PNA)