It has recently completed the second round of the workshop facilitated by the National Economic Development Authority-Cordillera (NEDA – CAR) which was participated by planning officers of covered areas, concerned national agencies and local offices.
Tabuk City, Pinukpuk, Rizal and Tanudan compose the proposed EKGC as the northern growth node with a strategic role being the agri-industrial center of the region along with its potential as commercial and settlement area given the vast expanse of land.
If created, EKG will be the second growth center in CAR next to BLISTT (Baguio City-La Trinidad- Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay).
Kalinga is envisioned as an agro-industrialized and eco-tourism destination in the Cordillera with God-loving, empowered, self-reliant, healthy and united people proud of their cultural heritage under a transparent, responsive and dynamic governance living in a peaceful and sound environment.
Governor Jocel Baac during the workshop said the goal to create the EKG is consistent with the province’s development plan. “This is now an opportunity for us to develop our potentials. Being a regional growth center, development opportunities will be coming in with changes in population migration,” he said.
However, he cautioned that while envisioning for an economic growth and development, the environment must not be compromised.
“As part of the watershed cradle of North Luzon and the rice granary of the Cordilleras, the source of water on agricultural lands must not be disrupted. In the EKG masterplan, we must reiterate the preservation of our protected areas, agricultural lands, and production expansion areas”, Baac said.
Vice Gov. James Edduba also stressed the complementary role of each covered LGU. “We should not think only of our jurisdiction but rather complement each other. This goal will surely keep us inspired and motivated to work together towards the attainment of our province’s vision,” he said.
The regional development plan seeks to establish two primary or regional growth centers located in the southern and northern portions of the region and to designate secondary and tertiary growth centers dispersed across the region.
In addition, Coalinga’s development as the only Tourism Development Area in the region will likely spur its development further that will require the establishment of additional commercial, trade and service facilities than currently available.
Developing EKG also aims to balance development across the country by developing areas outside of developed and congested metropolitan areas and cities; and to disperse development outside of BLISTT. (JDP/PAB-PIA CAR, Kalinga)
By Peter A. Balocnit