IN ILOILO, they are reframing the conversation led by the private sector. Ilonggo business and community leaders have cried “Enough already President Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated naming and shaming of Iloilo as “most shabulized” of illegal drugs.

Their response? A tit-for-tat. Rather than resorting to a word war with Duterte, however, they launched a promotional campaign called “Proud To Be Ilonggo,” to counter the negative portrayal of Iloilo.

“This is our answer to all that has been said about Iloilo,” said Narzalina Z. Lim, chair of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation Inc. (ILEDF), a multi-sector group working on investments in the province.

Lim said the group will combat 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 Iloilo City and Western Visayas.

Jocelyn Perez said her group wants to highlight Iloilo’s positive features that had helped turn the city and province into an attractive investment destination.

Perez is the president of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation Inc. (ILEDF), a non-stock, non-profit organization founded by key representatives from local government, the business community, and private individuals in the City and Province of Iloilo Chief Supt. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Western Visayas police director, assessed the peace and order situation before an assembly 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.

Amen. And speaking of peace and order in the Western Visayas – yes, pilgrim, Negros Occidental is back in Region VI – the long arm of the law in Negros Occidental has finally grabbed Alex Barredo y Tecson alias “Rondoy,” the leader of the Rondoy Robbery Group blamed for the series of hold-up and “agaw-motor.”

Rondoy attempted to shoot the police who were apprehending him. “Nanlaban,” in current police parlance. A .38 caliber revolver, a .38 misfired cartridge, five unfired .38 cartridges, three sachets of suspected shabu, a hand grenade, and a sling bag were recovered from him.

But this incident happened in Bacolod, not Caloocan City or Bulacan and elsewhere in the country. Rondoy would not be included among those killed in either police operations or vigilante-style killings in Duterte’s first year.

Aside from Barredo, five other suspected hold-uppers were also arrested –

alive – in earlier operations in the city.

A snappy salute to Chief Inspector Benedicto Villarias Jr., head of Police Station 2, and to Senior Superintendent Jack Wanky, acting director of Bacolod City Police Office, for acting positively in upholding the law.