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North Luzon: Developing tourist spots
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Mario T Supnad
Date: 2004-05-08
The North Luzon Growth Quadrangle Area (NLGQA), composed of the Philippines’ three dynamic regions (Ilocos-Pangasinan Seaboard, Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera Highlands), has now emerged as one of the most promising growth areas and the favorite tourist destinations in the country.

Owing to the accomplishments and success of its forerunner, the Northwestern Luzon Growth Quadrangle established by virtue of Executive Order 175 which comprised only the provinces in the western part of Northern Luzon, the program has been expanded to include the whole of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the Cagayan Valley (Region 2). From North Quad, it had been transformed into the North Luzon Growth Area (NLGA) by E.O. 114.

To complement the task of North Quad, President Gloria MacapagalArroyo appointed former Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson as the Presidential Adviser for North Luzon Growth Management Area. Singson, now a gubernatorial candidate of Ilocos Sur, is now working hand in hand with Undersecretary Hermenegildo C. Dumlao, Executive Director of the NLGQA, which is under the Office of the President. Like Singson, several others top local government officials in the North like governor Raul Molintas of Benguet who is the chairman of the Regional Development Council of Cordillera region; Congressman Eric D. Singson, who is the President of the North Luzon Alliance; Governor Victor Agbayani of Pangasinan; Governor Lara of Cagayan and others, are very supportive to the various development and tourism programs the NLGQA is initiating to support a strong republic of President Arroyo.

To intensify the commitment of President Gloria MacapagalArroyo in the development of North Luzon, she issued a new Executive Order 239 renaming the NLGA to North Luzon Growth Quadrangle Area (NLGQA) to synchronize the development efforts and maximize the socioeconomic benefits for the population. This is in recognition of the effectiveness of the “integrated” development approach in attracting local and foreign investments. By conducting a “multihub” instead of a “piece-meal” approach to investment promotion, the area has been marketed to investors as an attractive investment and tourist destination that can offer a larger resource base.

Comprised of 15 provinces, this dynamic and very competitive growth area is characterized by an abundance of natural resources consisting of vast forests rich in flora and fauna; limestone and other minerals; gold and other precious metals; sizable land resources; and immense water resources, including extensive coastal zones. The growth area, all of its 57,971 square kilometers, hosts an international airport, strategic regional airports, seaports, power plants and special economic zones.

Realizing the Vision for North Luzon

Critical to the success of the NLGQA is the continued existence of the Office of North Luzon Growth Quadrangle Area (ONLGQA) which was strengthened under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Today, it serves as the coordinative and facilitative agency that consolidates efforts of major stakeholders to achieve the vision for North Luzon. Headed by Undersecretary Hermenegildo C. Dumlao, Executive Director of the ONLGQA, the office continuously exerts its effort in realizing the vision of making the NLGQA (composed of Region 1, Region 2 and Cordillera Administrative Region) the springboard to East Asian tigers through improving the growth areas infrastructure base, balancing agricultural production and industrialization, developing tourism and assisting small and medium enterprises.

Improving the Growth Area’s Infrastructure Base

In line with the SONA commitments of President Arroyo on infrastructure on the countryside and through the intervention of the ONLGQA, the following projects are on the way to completion:

Roads and Bridges

North Luzon Expressway East: North Luzon Expressway Extension: Suyo-Cervantes-Mankayan-Abatan Road:

Cervantes-Sabangan Road:Halsema Highway: Baguio-Aritao Road: Nueva Vizcaya-Pangasinan Road: North Luzon-Cordillera (Trans-World Heritages) Highway: Calaba Bridge:Aloragat Bridge — (status: completed): 40 JICA-grant bridges in North Luzon- (status: some completed):

Airports and Seaports

Laoag International Airport: San Fernando Airport Development: Vigan Airport Development: Bagabag Airport Development: Cauayan Airport Development: Currimao Seaport — (status: rehabilitation completed, for expansion): Salomague Seaport:San Fernando Seaport: Sual Seaport: Port Irene:

Flood Control and Sabo Dam Project

Laoag River Basin Flood Control and Sabo Dam Project:

Lower Cagayan River Flood Control Project:

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