PILAR, Bataan- Construction magnate Jerry Acuzar has proposed the operation of a cable car at the Mount Samat Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) as one of the shoo-ins in the hallowed mountain made famous by World War II, Pilar Mayor Alice Pizarro announced Wednesday.
The mayor said the operation of a cable car is one of the amenities proposed in the crafting of a master plan for Mount Samat commissioned by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
Acuzar wants the cable car operation to start from the Flaming Sword marker adjacent to the Pilar municipal hall to the 92-meter high War Memorial Cross some 555 meters above sea level.
Through the cable cars, tourists will be exposed up close to the different historical and scenic spots in the world-renowned mountain where heavy fighting took place between Japanese and American-Filipino forces before Bataan fell on April 9, 1942.
“The cable car will also be an alternative means of transportation to reach Mount Samat and back to Pilar,” Pizarro said. The War Memorial Shrine, site of the annual observance of Araw ng Kagitingan, is about seven kilometers of winding road from the foot of the mountain in barangay Diwa. Aside from Diwa, barangays Liyang and Pantingan, all in Pilar town, are part of the newly-created Mount Samat TEZ, the lady mayor added.
The Bataan TEZ which is second to Rizal Park in Luzon has a minimum of 50 hectares of sloping terrain comparable to Ocean Park in Hongkong, the mayor said. Pizarro foresees the sprouting of a hotel, inter-active museum, theme parks, food chain, malls, souvenir shops, convention center and even medical clinics in the area. “Aside from the beautiful sceneries, I want tourists to see and appreciate the historical value of the place,” she said.
The TIEZA that replaced the Philippine Tourism Authority has already commissioned a consultancy firm for P15 million to prepare the master plan to be finished in six months after which the Mount Samat TEZ will be opened to locators. Included in the master plan are the designs of the amenities to be placed in Mount Samat after a series of public consultations.
The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, the Provincial Government of Bataan and the Municipal Government of Pilar will share in the income of the project.