ILOILO CITY – The year 2022 has brought positive vibes to the city and province of Iloilo.
The city government put a premium on the restoration of Ilonggos’ sense of pride as its major accomplishment while winning the war against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) that jumpstarted several major programs, including the crafting of its development thrust were considered as among the major achievements for the provincial government in 2022.
“The sense of pride of being Ilonggo, you don’t get that anywhere. We were able to achieve that and that is something that cannot be translated into this project or that project,” said Mayor Jerry P. Treñas on Friday.
The mayor said that Iloilo is now a byword when Ilonggos talk to their friends about the city's beautiful destinations and recent developments.
Iloilo City’s transformation to being a livable, progressive, sustainable, and resilient city has received several citations both from the public and private sectors.
This is evident as the awards adorned a wall at the ground floor of the city hall to showcase the recognitions the city has received this year.
The city government capped the year by winning national awards, including the much-coveted Seal of Good Local Governance conferred by the Department of the Local Government.
The city also won its third "Galing Pook Award " for “I-Bike,” a program that promotes the development of bike culture complemented with the proper infrastructure support by the local government.
Its disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) was conferred the Seal for Beyond Compliant during the 2022 Gawad Kalasag, which means that its functionality has exceeded the standards prescribed in the Philippines Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010.
It also bagged the National Literacy Award, Best Tourism Event Grand Champion as Contemporary/Non-Traditional Expression for its Dinagyang Festival conferred by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines, and Most Business Friendly LGU Awards by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry not to mention the numerous awards it raked in at the regional level.
The city government has embarked on the rehabilitation of its markets and plazas, restoration of heritage sites, construction of its hospital, and engaged in projects to address the increasing demand for housing in the metro.
As development continues, the city tried to strike a balance by creating more open spaces, embarking on massive tree planting, and beautification activities.
“We are looking forward to 2023 for more awards and recognitions - we need to continue to be united to achieve all these,” the mayor said.
Recovery year for Iloilo Province
Meanwhile, Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said he is happy with the performance of the province in 2022 and thanked stakeholders for their support.
“This is the year where we transitioned from a pandemic-stricken province to the new normal. This is a recovery year and we are happy with the result of our fight against Covid-19,” he said.
Defensor added that this year, Ilonggos were given the chance to lead lives different from their routine during the pandemic.
The provincial government implemented several flagship programs based on the province’s development thrust known as "Movement for a Robust, Progressive, Globally Competitive and Resilient Province of Iloilo (MoRProGRes)".
“All along we are moving on the direction that we want for the province,” he said, citing the plan of the province to maximize the potential of the agriculture sector through value-adding.
In the process, job and employment opportunities will be generated which, in turn, is expected to create financially capacitated clients coming from the agriculture sector, Defensor said.
It also aspires to have a share of the expanding business process outsourcing industry by creating growth areas for the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
The governor likewise cited the Bulig Eskwela sa Probinsya (BES PROBINS) Iloilo Program aiming to help the Department of Education through projects and activities in schools.
He said that PHP100 million has been downloaded to schools for the construction of classrooms.
“The SEF (Special Education Fund), the educational program of the province is very important aside from our campaign against Covid-19,” he said.
The governor further deemed it significant the institutionalization of the renewable energy program launched simultaneous with the campaign against African swine fever (ASF) on Dec. 16.
“We want to be aggressive in renewable energy. For the first time we have PHP30 million in our budget for renewable energy,” he said.
The governor admitted the ASF outbreak is a challenge but the province is “fighting well”.
The governor issued Executive Order number 605 on Dec. 16 for the establishment of minimum biosecurity standards for ASF and the implementation of the TaHuM campaign that will aid the province in moving forward.
TaHuM stands for “Tapak” or the use of sanitizing footbath, “Hugas “ or the proper washing and cleaning practices and methods and “Matinlu nga pagpakaon” or safe feeding and the use of potable water compliant with regulatory requirements.
“The execution of biosecurity measures is really at the level of the farm and the facilities and nowhere else. That is very fundamental. We will encourage our municipalities to conduct the biosecurity measures trainings and seminars. We will give assistance for that training and seminar and maybe disinfectants, if we have enough funds,” he said.
Currently, nine towns in the province have recorded cases of ASF.
While the provincial government continues to battle the animal disease, its effort to deliver good governance did not go unnoticed as the DILG awarded the province with the SGLG Seal, the highest distinction given to local government units that exemplify transparency and accountability.
The province previously passed the SGLG assessment from 2015 until 2018. (PNA)