Convention center to rise on site of old Iloilo airportBy Karen Bermejo
ILOILO CITY, Philippines—A P450-million convention center will be built on a 1.7 hectare lot at the old Iloilo airport property, which is expected to establish the province as a conference hub in Western Visayas, Senator Franklin Drilon announced Saturday.
Drilon said in a statement that funding for the construction of the two-story convention center, designed by Ilonggo architect Willy Coscoluella, will come from his Priority Development Assistance Fund.
The site of the project was donated by Megaworld Corp., which now owns the 54-hectare property that once served as Iloilo’s Airport. The deed of donation between Megaworld and the Department of Tourism was signed at the Marriott Hotel in Manila on November 13.
Drilon said the convention center would enable Iloilo to hold the best and the most glamorous of the conferences and exhibitions.
“This is a realization of a lifelong dream of the residents of Panay Island to have their own highly impressive and sophisticated convention center at par with those of Cebu and Davao,” Drilon said.
This would help boost the chances of Iloilo to host the Asia Pacific Economic Council meeting in 2015, especially since the Iloilo International Airport serves both local and international flights.
Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the presence of a convention center would also boost the earnings of local businesses as these would benefit from the influx of visitors.
“We could already host not only national conventions, but also Asian level conventions,” said Mbilog, who witnessed the signing of the deed of donation.
Also present during the signing were Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Megaworld Corp. president Andrew Tan, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority chief operating officer Mark Lapid and Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas.