KENNON Road, which traverses Baguio City and Tuba municipality in Benguet province, moved closer to becoming a national heritage zone as the House of Representatives approved on second reading House Bill 7502 seeking its conservation, restoration, rehabilitation and development.
HB 7502 specifies the Kennon Road National Heritage Zone as traversing Barangay BGH, Military Cut-off, Camps 7 and 8, San Vicente, and Poliwes in Baguio City and Barangay Camps 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 in the municipality of Tuba, Benguet.
Under the bill, the zone shall be accorded priority development by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and other concerned departments and agencies of the government, subject to the rules and regulations governing the development of national heritage zones.
Within one year after the effectivity of the declaration of Kennon Road as a national heritage zone, the DOT, in partnership with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the City Government of Baguio, the Municipality Government of Tuba, and other government agencies concerned, shall prepare the development plan for the conservation, restoration, rehabilitation, and development of the road.
Such development plan shall ensure the preservation of cultural heritage and historical sites identified to be located in the area of development.
Rep. Mark Go, principal author of the bill, said Kennon Road is the oldest mountain highway in the country.
“It was built by American Governor General William Cameron Forbes in 1901. It was during the American Regime that this famous road was built by Gov. Forbes. It was named after its final builder, U.S. Army Col. Lyman Kennon. With the hard work of the local and foreign laborers, it was completed in 1903,” said Go.
After more than 100 years of constant use, natural deterioration aggravated by typhoons, landslides and earthquakes, Go said some portions of Kennon Road already became dangerous.
“Thus, it is imperative that additional mechanisms be set in place to ensure a cycle of utilization, conservation, preservation, development, and promotion of this historic road. Kennon Road, which became a part of the nation’s historical and cultural heritage, played a significant role to the progress and prosperity of Baguio City and the province of Benguet. Thus, it deserves to be recognized as a cultural heritage zone,” said Go.