By Mark Francisco and Cheng Ordonez
OZAMIZ CITY – The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) is set to develop Misamis Occidental as a tourism conduit between Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula.
Tieza General Manager Mark T. Lapid said that with the ongoing construction of Panguil Bay bridge and the ongoing expansion of the Labo Airport in Ozamiz City, the entry of integrated resorts, here, is expected in the next five years.
“In an integrated resort, there will be a high-end shopping mall, a hotel, a casino, a golf course, amusement rides and convention halls all in one roof. We expected that to be the sunshine industry here in the next half-decade or so,” Lapid said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Reynaldo O. Parojinog Sr. said during the city Charter Day celebration, last Thursday, July 16, that Robinsons Malls is currently undertaking a study to build a shopping mall and hotel in this city by 2016.
“We will be granting a seven-year tax holiday to Robinsons once that will be realized,” Parojinog assured.
During his one-day visit here last Thursday, coinciding with the 67th Charter Day anniversary of the city, Lapid also said Tieza has earmarked P25-million initial budget to construct an eco-tourism park in Ozamiz City.
By tranche, the park will feature kayaking, trekking, camping, cruising and diving offshore.
This, even as the P600-million expansion of Labo Airport is in full swing.
By the last quarter of 2016, construction of a 12-hectare terminal would be completed.
Mayor Parojinog said the design of the expanded Labo Airport was matched to international standard so that it would be ready to accommodate international flights.
Currently, there are 11 international airports in the country. Labo Airport is still classified as a community airport or a notch below principal domestic airport.
Still, there are 40 hectares of airport property that could be utilized as runways and navigational facilities should the plan to push it as an international airport be realized.
With all these developments, Lapid is confident that more investors are expected in Ozamiz City, which was once the seat of regional government in Northern Mindanao during the Spanish era.
When the Americans took over at the turn of the last century, Ozamiz was not prioritized and Cagayan de Oro became the new economic hub.
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