Baguio City, Region 1 provinces to pioneer local travel bubble

BAGUIO CITY and the four provinces in Region 1 have launched a partnership for creating a travel bubble to help revive the tourism industry. Dubbed as the Ridge to Reef Corridor Plan, it involves  allowing the easy movement of domestic tourists within Baguio, a popular mountain destination, and the provinces of Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte along the western coast of Luzon. The corridor will be referred to as BLUPISIN. “This corridor plan of the BLUPISIN  is truly admirable, not only because of the variety of tourism products involved but because of how advanced inter-provincial protocols are in terms of border control, as well as in assuring the health and safety of tourists and communities. It is a clear manifestation of the strong support of the local and provincial leaders to jumpstart tourism,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during the ceremonial signing of the cooperation agreement earlier this week. “This can serve as a pilot project, and when successful, can be replicated where applicable,” she added. The BLUPISIN local governments will form a technical working group to draft the strategies for facilitating tourism activities alongside health safety measures to prevent coronavirus outbreaks. Limited inter-province travel is already allowed within Region 1 while Baguio, an independent city within the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), has eased quarantine rules for residents. Baguio is currently finalizing a digital platform for the registration and monitoring of visitors as it plans to reopen its borders by October.

SMC commits to revive Pasig River

SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) on Thursday said it will “revive” the Pasig River as part of its multi-billion peso Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project. “Not only will we be building a much-needed direct link between eastern and western Metro Manila, but we will also be leading a historic effort to bring the Pasig River back to health,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said in an e-mailed statement. The river rehabilitation will involve dredging and clearing of debris and garbage “to attain its optimum depth and ensure the constant flow of water.” The P95.40-billion PAREX project is a six-lane expressway that will connect Manila to Rizal province. It will start from Radial Road 10 (R10) in Manila and connect to the South East Metro Manila Expressway at Circumferential Road 6 (C6), SMC said. There will be three segments, namely: R10 to Plaza Azul, Plaza Azul to San Juan River, San Juan River to C5 Intersection, and C5 Intersection to C6 Intersection. Project construction is estimated to take 36 months. — Arjay L. Balinbin