Drilon: Iloilo has overcome ‘most shabulized’ tag
ILOILO CITY –– Sen. Franklin Drilon on Friday called President Duterte’s calling of Iloilo City as “most shabulized” as “uncalled for” and “unfair.”
But he said the city successfully overcame the label and continued to progress.
“Three years ago, no less than the highest official of the land labeled Iloilo as the ‘most shabulized’ city in the country. But instead of being demoralized and discouraged … Iloilo did not get discouraged, its leaders continued to work for the welfare of the Ilonggos,” Drilon, an Ilonggo, said in a speech at the oath-taking ceremony of the new city officials at the Iloilo Convention Center.
“Together with (Iloilo Representative and mayor-elect Jerry Treñas) and the people of Iloilo …, we worked silently, never missing focus,” Drilon said before officials led by Treñas, vice mayor-elect Jeffrey Ganzon, representative-elect Julienne Baronda, and guests.
Data of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency shows that other provinces and cities have a worse drug situation.
Many Ilonggos had resented the “most shabulized” tag, saying the city’s illegal drug situation is similar to or better than most cities in the country including Davao City, where the President was mayor for more than 20 years.
“The uncalled for remarks of the President may have touched the Ilonggos’ pride. It was not fair at all. But instead of crippling our spirit, his words should motivate us to double our efforts to propel Iloilo to economic and social progress,” Drilon said.
Drilon cited infrastructure and other projects that have boosted the city’s economy and attracted more tourists, meetings, exhibits, and conventions.
These include the Iloilo Convention Center, extensive road networks, Iloilo Esplanade linear park, parks, and the restoration of historic buildings by transforming them into museums.
“I have not met an individual who has not heaped praises on Iloilo’s transformation from a sluggish city of diminishing economic returns into a vibrant tourist and investment destination,” he said.
During his speech, Drilon acknowledged and lauded billionaire Enrique Razon Jr. who has committed to invest P8 billion to improve Iloilo’s port facility.
“Palakpakan po natin si Ricky (Let us applaud Ricky),” the senator said.
Razon was seated at the front of the audience along with Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, the inducting officer, and other guests.
The Razon-led International Container Terminal Services, Inc. has submitted an unsolicited proposal before the Philippine Ports Authority to embark on an P8.7-billion modernization of the international port in Loboc in La Paz District in Iloilo City and the port in Dumangas town in Iloilo.
This will be implemented by maximizing capability for big ships, installing ship-to-shore gantry cranes and continuous upgrading of the ports’ yard capacity.
Drilon, in an earlier statement, voiced support for the investment.
“The expansion of Iloilo port sits well with our plans for the province. This early we are seeing a heightened shipping activity in the province due to the economic developments that have taken place in the province for the past years,” Drilon said in a statement.
“We have to develop our port and equip it with modern facilities so it can continue to accommodate the growing demands for port services,” he said.
The Razon-controlled More Electric and Power Corp. (More Power) has acquired a franchise to distribute electricity in Iloilo City.
But it is still locked in a legal dispute with the Panay Power Electric Company whose franchise was not renewed by Congress.
More Power is petitioning for the expropriation of Peco’s distribution assets, which is being opposed by Peco. (Editor: Leti Z. Boniol)
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