THE Iloilo City Government Local Development Council (LDC) has shifted from being a “Premier City” to being “Smart” in pursuing the dream of becoming a “City of Excellence” in the next three to six years.

Iloilo Business Club Executive Director Ma. Victoria Lara, whose sector was among those who helped conceptualizes the new vision, said the new “Smart” stands for Services, Manufacturing and agri-business, Arts and culture, Research, and Technology and tourism; the known potential areas of Iloilo City.

The new vision was presented for adoption during Tuesday’s regular session of the City Council following its approval by the LDC, which is composed of multi-sectoral groups.

It has amended the old vision that was crafted with the support of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia, which as “A Premier City by 2015.”

Guided by this idea, Iloilo City was able to champion its being a meetings, incentives, conference and exhibits destinations, the business club executive director revealed.

Smart was crafted following a series of workshops sponsored by the United States Agency for International Cooperation, according to Lara.

Under the services sector is the presence of the business process outsourcing companies that have provided regular employment to 21,000 workers. More locators are coming in and the challenge is how to be able to respond to the industry needs.

In terms of manufacturing and agri-business, Lara said they are not losing on their dream of having an economic zone. Industries that are expected to rise may not all be agriculture-based but they can also be non-food.

Arts and culture have strong presence and awareness in Iloilo City. What is needed is more spaces to accommodate more works of art of various artists.

Research and development is also necessary such that they serve as main driver of investments.

Technology in tandem with research must be tapped to improve production.

For the tourism, the plan is to capture the cruise market. Already, 14 cruise ships have docked in Panay but none was able to benefit the city. Lara said they are looking at the various requirements on how to enter into the market.

Lara added with these plans, all they need is also to align with the thrusts of national government agencies and customized national programs to accommodate local concerns. (PNA)