BONTOC, Mountain Province—The provincial government will return to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, formerly the Philippine Tourism Authority, the management of the historic Mount Data Hotel effective Feb. 8 this year due to financial difficulties.
Hotel manager Dolly Theodore said the staff is making an inventory of furniture and other serviceable equipment in preparation for the turnover.
Built in the 1960s during the administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the management of the 22-room single-story building and its premises was conveyed to the PTA through a Presidential Decree in 1977. The hotel stands at the heart of a forested 9.19-hectare lot within the Mount Data National Park, roughly a hundred kilometers away from Baguio City.
For years, the facility has been a favorite stop-over of travelers to Banaue and Sagada.
It also prides itself of having hosted past presidents and foreign dignitaries, including historic events such as the signing of the peace accord between the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army and the late President Corazon Aquino on Sept. 13, 1986, popularly known as the Mount Data “Sipat.”
On February 8, 2006, the PTA relinquished the management and administration of the hotel and its premises to the provincial government for ten years by virtue of a memorandum of agreement.
Part of the MOA stipulates that the provincial government shall pay three percent of the monthly gross income to the PTA and hire the services of the hotel employees who were laid off in December 2005.
“It had been ten years but the hotel cannot even earn enough for its upkeep and pay the salary and other financial benefits of the employees. It is a losing enterprise and the provincial government could not afford that. In fact, the province is spending more or less three million pesos annually to pay the wages of the employees,” Governor Leonard Mayaen said.
The governor added that the local government unit has hired the employees separated from PTA in 2005 and assumed the responsibility of paying their retirement benefits.
The hotel currently has 18 employees, who will be assigned to various provincial government offices after the turn-over.