Aquino opens Iloilo center ahead of Apec meetings
President Aquino is flying Monday to Iloilo City where he will lead in the inauguration of the P747-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC), one of the venues for next week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) ministerial meetings.
The Iloilo segment of the Apec conferences will include the small and medium enterprise conferences from Sept. 21 to 25, disaster management from Sept. 22 to 23, and food security from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6.
The ICC, an infrastructure project of the Department of Tourism, was built on a 1.7-hectare lot donated by giant property developer Megaworld Corp. at the 72-ha Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao District.
It was the subject of a graft complaint filed against Senate President Franklin Drilon and other officials for alleged overpricing and other irregularities. The case was dismissed by the Ombudsman for lack of evidence.
Joining Aquino on the trip are Drilon, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas and local officials led by Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
Aside from the ICC, the President will also inaugurate the Richmonde Hotel Iloilo, as well as grace the launch of the Iloilo Business Park.
The Iloilo Business Park is the biggest investment of Megaworld Corp. outside Metro Manila, with total investments reaching P35 billion.
The President is expected to arrive in Iloilo at 9:30 a.m. and proceed to the Richmonde Hotel, according to lawyer Janet Mesa, Western Visayas director of the Philippine Information Agency.
Aquino will unveil markers at the Iloilo Business Park and Richmonde Hotel and receive a ceremonial IBP key.
His last visit to Iloilo was on June 12 for the 117th Independence Day rites at the historic town of Sta. Barbara, 17 kilometers west of Iloilo City.
Last Wednesday, the President traveled to Misamis Occidental and Davao del Norte, where he attended Department of Public Works and Highways briefings on major infrastructure projects.
In his speeches, he spoke about the “concrete gains we have achieved by turning our backs on the old ways of corruption and choosing the daang matuwid.”
He described the government’s efforts to boost the tourism and infrastructure sectors as “low-lying fruits which provide direct benefits to the populace.”—Jerry E. Esplanada and Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas
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