Election 2016: Agenda of the Iloilo City Mayor
The Inquirer is coming out today with the third of its series on pressing people’s concerns that should be high on the agenda of candidates for representative, governor or mayor in the May 9 elections. The series should help voters in the provinces choose their leaders wisely. In line with our “ThINQ. Vote.” advocacy, we have asked candidates in certain provinces, cities and congressional districts to outline their concrete plans of action in dealing with specific issues in their areas.
PROFILE: Iloilo City
The word “Iloilo” was derived from the nose-shape of the city as it is cut by the river, or “Irong-Irong.” Other accounts point the name’s origin to a fish.
It is also called the “Most Loyal and Noble City” (La Muy Leal y Noble Ciuded de Iloilo, in Spanish), an inscription on the coat of arms from the Royal Decree of 1896 in recognition of the people’s loyalty to the Spanish crown. A replica of the Spanish Crown architectural structure can be seen in the city’s Arevalo District.
Land Area: 78.34 square kilometers
Classification: Highly urbanized
(projected September 2014)
Registered voters: 242,033 (as of 2010)
Literacy Rate: 92.8 percent
Language: Filipino, Hiligaynon,
Political Territory: 6 districts, 180 barangays
Source: Iloilo City Planning and Development Office
Iloilo City has rapidly developed in recent years, but progress has been concentrated in the real estate industry, shopping malls and business process outsourcing firms (BPOs). Do you have plans to attract investors in industries, especially in manufacturing and heavy industries? How will these be implemented?
Arnel dela Llana (Independent): To address the lack of available area in the city to put up manufacturing and other industries, we can go into joint ventures with neighboring towns, such as Leganes. This requires involvement and planning at the level of the provincial government or several municipalities and the city government.
Marigold Gonzalez (United Nationalist Alliance): Cut down on red tape, like in getting business permits to make our city more business-friendly.
Part of our city should be left undeveloped for backyard farming so we can be self-sustaining.
Concentrate on internal economics and invest in heritage, for example, because tourists come not because of our tall buildings and hotels but because of our culture—our old houses, nice churches and backyard food products.
Jed Patrick Mabilog (Liberal Party): Start looking into light industrial complex and improve our international airport and seaport.
Lay down plans for investors on the development of various properties owned by the city government.
Offer investors opportunities in the foreshore properties along Barangays Hinactacan and Ingore in La Paz for reclamation and to be utilized for manufacturing and other industries.
Do you agree that illegal drugs remain a problem in Iloilo City? How do you plan to address this concern?
Arnel dela Llana: Set ultimatum to drug lords to stop their operations or leave the city or face the full force of the government.
Marigold Gonzalez: Put in people who will not tolerate illegal drug operations. There’s a need to reshuffle our police force so we can start fresh and have a clear vision (of the drug problem).
Curtail the supply by arresting the drug lords. We should upgrade the investigative capacity of our police force to be more effective in solving crimes.
Jed Patrick Mabilog: Continue our three-pronged approach that sees the city government, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police working together. Our programs include citywide antidrug information drive, activation of the Barangay Drug Abuse Councils (Badac), and provision of financial and logistical support to the PDEA and PNP.
Invite other government agencies, like the Department of Health, for rehabilitation of drug dependents and conduct continuous anti-illegal drug education campaign. We shall also increase logistical support like vehicles, drug testing kits and sustain anti-illegal drugs operations.
Institutionalize Oplan Katok, a 24/7 drug clearing operation.
The relatively high price of electricity and lack of water remain a concern for Iloilo residents. How do you propose to address this concern without burdening consumers?
Arnel dela Llana: The (about to be constructed) Jalaur River megadam will address the supply needs of the city.
Study and adopt modern technology for our water needs and look into the possibility of investing in reverse osmosis technology.
More transparency in our electricity rates and greater stake of consumers in our power and water distributors.
Marigold Gonzalez: Call an urban planning summit in my first 100 days to be attended by stakeholders to deepen understanding of our problems, including [those concerning] water supply, traffic and electricity rates and find solutions.
Install a (centralized) water treatment system so we can tap water from the river.
Look into why the [construction] of a coal-fired power plant in the city has not resulted in a significant drop in electricity rates.
Jed Patrick Mabilog: Other players can come in and offer even much lower rates. Any new player can resolve the water problem.
Support the Jalaur River Development Project because the city can benefit from its bulk water supply and power components.
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