Press Release
February 28, 2010

Villar open to tap tourism potentials of Pangasinan

ROSALES, Pangasinan--Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar is open to the idea of resuscitating the old Pan Philippine Highway, an abandoned project begun several years ago by the late President Ferdinand Marcos, to connect the main islands of the country.

In a brief meeting with the mayors of the 10 towns of the sixth district of this province, Villar said he will look into the possibility of reviving the project, which will eventually open the rest of northern Luzon to the rest of the Philippines with Pangasinan as a major route.

The meeting was attended by Pangasinan Rep. Conrado Estrella III at the Estrellas' ancestral residence here, accompanied by Villar's running mate Loren Legarda, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife Taguig-Pateros Rep. Lani Cayetano, and four of the NP's senatorial candidates, including Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Bongbong Marcos, and Ramon Mitra III.

Estrella said Villar has the capability of developing the tourism potentials of Pangasinan which, despite its strategic location, does not have an airport or a fishport.

"If there is anybody who can undertake development, it is you," Estrella said, referring to the NP presidential bet. "You can do it because you are a developer."

To which Legarda added: "He is a builder, too."

Estrella said the proposed project will open Pangasinan not only to the Ilocos Region but also to Region II.

Villar showed particular interest in the suggestions of the mayors to construct a major road that will link Eastern Pangasinan to Cagayan Valley, passing through a barangay in San Nicolas town where the climate is "colder than Baguio's."

The road will lead to the scenic Sta. Fe Trail in Nueva Vizcaya.

Villar said he wanted such undertakings to be done immediately. "Gusto ko agad-agad. Show me the details," he said.

Joined by Pangasinan Vice Gov. Marlyn Primicias, the mayors asked the senator's opinion on constructing the road from Pangasinan to Cagayan Valley that will pass through Barangay Malico in San Nicolas, where the elevation is greater than Baguio's, offering a climate "much colder" than that in the "Summer Capital."

Rep. Estrella said residents of both Pangasinan and Nueva Viscaya are amenable to developing the area that could enhance the tourism potentials of the two provinces.

San Nicolas Mayor Leoncio Saldivar said the place is about 3 ½ hours drive from Dagupan City and about 1 ½ hours drive from Urdaneta City.

"But travel time will definitely be shortened if the project will be undertaken," Saldivar said.

Villar said he will also study the proposal of Primicias to build an airport or seaport in Pangasinan.

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