Ilonggos tell Duterte: Enough of shaming, look at data
ILOILO CITY — Ilonggo business and community leaders have had enough of President Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated shaming of Iloilo as “most shabulized” and the “bedrock” of illegal drugs.
But instead of engaging in a word war with the most powerful person in the country, they have launched a promotional campaign, dubbed “Proud To Be Ilonggo,” to counter the negative portrayal of Iloilo, the regional center of Western Visayas.
“This is our answer to all that has been said about Iloilo,” said Narzalina Lim, chair of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation Inc. (ILEDF), a multi-sector group working on investments in the province.
Lim, former tourism chief, said the group would fight the negative portrayal of Iloilo by sharing data from the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies that would sow the real peace and order situation in the city and province and Western Visayas.
Aside from a campaign on social and mainstream media, she said the group would also organize an investment forum in Manila in March next year.
“We are always asked if it’s true and why does the President ‘hate’ Iloilo so much,” Lim said. “A lie repeated too often can appear to be true and so people begin to doubt,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a program at the Mansion hotel here on Saturday.
Since August last year, Mr. Duterte has repeatedly called Iloilo the “most shabulized” and the “bedrock” of illegal drugs.
He has also repeatedly accused Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of involvement in drugs. But no case has been filed against Mabilog and it was only in August this year that Mr. Duterte ordered a lifestyle check on the city mayor.
Jocelyn Perez, ILEDF president, said her group wants to highlight Iloilo’s positive features that had helped turn the city and province into an attractive investment destination.
Data not perception
These included a modern airport, wide and extensive highways, fast developing business districts, convention centers and livable and peaceful cities and towns.
Chief Supt. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Western Visayas police director, presented an assessment of the peace and order situation in the rare gathering of business, civic, artists, religious and civil society leaders and representatives from national government agencies.
“Western Visayas remains one of the most peaceful and orderly regions in the country,” Binag said.
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