Solon wants Kennon Road declared as heritage zone

BAGUIO CITY — Representative Mark Go has filed House Bill 5017 seeking to declare Kennon Road in Baguio City and in Tuba Benguet as a National Heritage Zone.

Go on Thursday said Kennon Road is one of the three major access roads to the city coming from La Union. The other two are Marcos Highway and Naguilian Road.

The 33-kilometer road which is bounded by the municipality of Tuba and the city is also considered as the most scenic highway and the oldest mountain highway built during the American regime.

Col. Lyman Kennon designed Kennon Road by order of the American Governor General as an access to Baguio, which, owing to its cool weather and landscape, was decided to be an ideal site for a future city that would offer a reprieve from the sweltering heat of the lowlands.

Construction of the highway was completed in 1903, six years before Baguio was declared a chartered city.

“Kennon Road has become part of our nation’s historical and cultural heritage and in realizing our common vision of building a better nation, we need to preserve our rich cultural heritage for our next generation,” Go said.

He added that “after more than 100 years of constant use, some portions of Kennon Road already became dangerous due to natural deterioration aggravated by fortuitous events. Given these circumstances, it would be necessary that additional mechanism be set in place to ensure a cycle of utilization, conservation, preservation, development and promotion of this historic road,” he stressed.

Go said that over the years, Baguio City and Benguet have been included in the list of the most popular destinations in Northern Luzon due to the breathtaking sceneries and natural resources as well as unconventional adventures they offer.

Kennon Road served as the primary road to and from the city. However, during the 1990 killer earthquake that hit the city and the rest of northern Luzon, the road suffered major damage and made the mountain slopes unstable.

Minor repairs have been done without major improvements being undertaken due to the continuous landslides happening on the 33-kilometer road. Liza Agoot/PNA