PILAR, Bataan—The Mt. Samat Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for its projects, a side event of the observance of the Araw ng Kagitingan at the Mt. Samat Shrine here.
The projects include expansion and improvement of the underground museum, commercial spaces, cable cars and green transportation, a landscaped memorial, walking trails, and a view deck.
“Of course, more tourists arriving here because of the FTEZ development is good for the economy of the province. But more than that, we want to create patriots especially the millennials by inspiring them with the sacrifices of the World War 2 veterans,” said Bataan Gov. Albert Garcia.
Pilar Mayor Alice Pizarro said: “We want inclusive growth here at FTEZ prioritizing the employment of our residents. We are lucky that Mt. Samat Shrine is in our town.”
“The proposed Center for World War 2 Studies here will help us rewrite the history of the war from the point of view of Filipinos,” PVAO Administrator Ernesto Carolina said.
Usec. Reynaldo Mapagu of the Department of Defense’s Civil, Veterans and Retiree Affairs was also present during the ceremony.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, who jokingly remarked she forced Carolina to invite her to the event, said: “It is a sentimental journey for me to be here. I remember the building of Mt. Samat Shrine was one of the first projects of my father [former President Ferdinand Marcos]. And during the time of Kabataang Barangay, we planted trees in this area.”
Francis Theodore Initorio, Mt. Samat FTEZ Administrator, said the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority has approved a Comprehensive Tourism Master Plan for the development plans in the Mt. Samat Shrine site.
Through the CTMP, the Mt. Samat FTEZ is bringing in investments to develop its area as one of the primary tourism hubs in the Philippines, he added.
The Mt. Samat Shrine of Valor was officially designated as a Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone in October 2016 through the inter-agency partnership of PVAO, TIEZA, provincial government of Bataan, and municipal government of Pilar.