ILONGGOS are agog in the selection of Iloilo City as an important site for two high level Ministerial Meetings during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) conference hosted by the Philippine government and to be participated by 21 countries in Asia and the Pacific rim.
Iloilo City, aside from five other regions, has been chosen to host the SME Ministerial Meeting to be held on September 21 to 25, 2015 to be participated by 700 delegates.
The city will also host the Food Security Week Meeting tentatively slated on September 28 to October 6, 2015 to be participated by 900 delegates.
City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said he is fully cooperating with Ilonggo Senate President Franklin M. Drilon in making the Apec hosting here a success.
Mabilog was recently cited by President Benigno Aquino III during the Presidential State of the Nation Address (Sona) last July 28, 2014 as one of a new breed of emerging dynamic leaders.
“Every Ilonggo must work together and unite behind efforts to ensure success of Iloilo's hosting of the APEC ministerial meetings in 2015,” Mabilog said, echoing the appeal of Drilon to all Ilonggos to unite and set aside their political differences for the sake of APEC.
Drilon said “this is the chance for the people of Iloilo to show the rest of the nation and the world the very best of what we can accomplish. We must not fail."
The Senate President hailed the National Government’s support towards massive infrastructure development as integral to the latest signs of Iloilo’s economic transformation and growth. These projects are possible because Iloilo enjoys the full support of many political leaders, which led to much-needed financial and administrative backing crucial to the realization of these endeavors.
A seven-man team from the Apec national organizing council is in this city July 30-31, 2014 to inspect the vital sites for the hosting. These include the ongoing construction of the Iloilo Convention Center as the main venue for the meetings, hotels, hospitals, and many others.
Several big projects may have convinced the Apec 2015 national organizing council to pick Iloilo to host the Apec meetings. These include the Iloilo International Airport and major roads like the 10-lane Senator Benigno Aquino Avenue, which have been updated to internationally-competitive standards, the 4-lane Iloilo Circumferential Road, Iloilo River Esplanade, and the successful rehabilitation of the Iloilo River, among others.
The private sector does not want to be left behind in Iloilo City and they invested in several buildings, restaurants and hotels such as the soon to be finished Iloilo Business Park of Megaworld that includes two high-end hotels and shopping malls, the Avida and Atria Park of Ayala Corp., Gaisano Capital with a hotel and another shopping mall, the newly completed 21-storey Injap Tower and Uptown Residences and the Diversion 21 Hotel, among others.