250-hectare eco-tourism project in Pangasinan breaks ground

April 6, 2010 11:16 am 

By Leonardo V. Micua

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, April 6 — A proposed eco-tourism project on a 250-hectare land overlooking a vast expanse of the Lingayen Gulf broke ground in Barangay Estanza here on Monday as part of the many colorful activities during the 430th founding day of Pangasinan.

Governor Amado Espino Jr. led the groundbreaking rite along with former President Fidel V. Ramos who, during his term, issued a proclamation segregating the entire area from the public domain and declaring the same as alienable and disposable.

The two not only led in the laying of time capsule for the proposed project that would be the site of a world-class golf course and all other tourism-oriented establishments but also made a ceremonial tee off in an initial driving range already built in the area.

Also present during the groundbreaking rites were retired Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and retired Police Director Leopoldo Bataoil who are running for Congress in the sixth and second districts of Pangasinan, respectively, and Dr. Gonzalo T. Duque, chair of the executive committee of this year’s Pangasinan Foundation Day.

Former President Ramos admitted signing Proclamation 1258 on June 22, 1998 or just eight days before bowing out of office that segregated the entire accretion area near the beach from public use and declaring the same as alienable and disposable.

Born in Lingayen, Ramos said he is aware of the whole area which he used to visit during his boyhood and which he revisited during the 1995 Palarong Pambansa that was hosted by the province of Pangasinan.

The proposed eco-tourism zone is about 45-minute drive from the provincial capitol, passing by Domalandan Bridge in the western part of Lingayen, along still narrow barangay roads and open countryside, away from the doldrums of urban life.

Governor Espino lamented that 12 years after the proclamation was issued, the area is still largely abandoned and left to grow wild grasses and bushes, except for small patches of land “that some adventurous and enterprising individuals were starting to squat on.”

It was so disappointing, he said, that after so many years, this very large area has remained idle, thus the province has continually lost the opportunity to develop this for the benefit of the people.

Espino said: “We were overwhelmed by that great sense of obligation and the urgency to transform this place for suitable investments and business opportunities, and to generate a steady stream of income and livelihood opportunities for our people.”

The groundbreaking rite in Barangay Estanza was attended by a group of investors from Korea interested to build a retirement village, agri-business projects such as cold storage, call centers, factories that will build electric cars, including a golf course, among others. (PNA)

FFC/LVM/rma

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