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Posts Tagged ‘Iloilo the next Big Thing’

Tagging Iloilo

February 10, 2009 4 comments

road bumpers
road bumpers

I have been traveling every part of Iloilo for 2 months to check on the existing data in all municipalities along with the problems   in gathering, storing and analyzing them. It wasn’t easy to locate the problems in their data system unless you sit down with the department heads and excavate each process starting from the barangay up to the municipal offices. I felt that I have lost weight and that I have to compensate for the sleepless night of analyzing data and making reports. I sometimes skipped regular meals because of my erratic travel schedule s. Working as researcher for a very strict boss from ADB (former official of the WorldBank that used to handle cases like the rigged $33M project of DPWH), you have to get all the result in time or else you would have the entire malediction in life. I haven’t really regret working with him because I have learned a lot from him as well except that I forgot to think of myself and that I hardly noticed the people I love especially my girlfriend who luckily was very understanding of my job. Sorry sweetheart.

The data actually are all present within the locality however there is no system to consolidate and process these information in a centralized databank. The result is a messy setting that leaves even the investors and researchers perplexed over the data. But leave that for the moment. I would not talk about it because that would fill this whole page talking about myself and the problems that clothed me during my encounters with various MPDCs. I want to talk something I learned along the whole span of my research period. I know this may subject to some validation and that the whole panorama of the result may sound absurd, but as far as the data is concerned, numbers will never lie unless fabricated.

1.       In the entire Iloilo, Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) shrunk down at 20 % leaving all the municipalities with the difficulties in managing finance and expenditures. This is due to the contesting figures between the actual barangay demographic survey and the 2007 Census result by NSO. The disparity of statistics surmount to the loss of 8-10% of the whole population of Iloilo.  It has been noted that the smaller the IRA for the LGU, the bigger the saving of the National Government especially that the 2010 election is nearing in which the saving will be undoubtedly spent .

2.       The Municipality of the Estancia ranks as the second smallest municipality next to Pavia. Since their IRA is reduced to almost 5 million that rotted to the shrinking of demographic figures due to the unreliable survey of NSO, the municipality has to find other means to let the municipality going. The presence of the feeder port in the locality boosted their income to 50-60M annually making the locality as one of the most promising municipalities in the Province of Iloilo. However this could have been boosted more if the RO-RO operation will be transferred to Estancia instead of Caticlan which is 4 hours faster going to Batangas. If it takes a cargo to transport goods to Batangas via Caticlan in 18 hrs, in Estancia it will only take 13-14 hrs of travel. This simply means that the goods will arrive fresher and marketable. If this will be initiated and implemented, the whole province will enjoy a boost up of 9% in the local economy.

3.       In local economy, one primary driver is transportation. Since Iloilo is known to be an old city with old-engineered roads for one-way flow, traffic is very immanent. No matter how the city government constructs road networks and fly-overs to pave way to the drastic shift to urbanization, the traffic will remain a problem. Why? Every month there is an increase of more than a hundred motorcycles in the entire province which adds up to the inconvenience of the flow of traffic. The greater the number of motorcycles, the greater the number of accidents.  About more than 30% of the total accidents are all motorcycle accidents. Another factor is the increase of about 1% of the total jeepneys is put into the road every month thus contributing also to the problems of traffic system. And going to private cars, about 70 car loans are approved every month by the entire banks in Iloilo thus also causing logjams.  Naks! Late na lg ako palagi!

4.       In economic capitalization, in the entire banks in Iloilo have a total 95B deposits. About 30% of it is owned by the Chinese businessman. Another 30% is owned by the local conglomerates. The next slice which amounts to 20% of the 95B is owned by educational institutions and the last 20% is owned by OFWs. This amount is not utilized or invested in the locality thus making Iloilo as only depositing site and not and investment prospect. In order for Iloilo to make it to the level of competitiveness with Cebu, Ilonggos have to invest locally.

5.       The Province’s biggest income comes Real Property Tax. It said that more than 60% of the whole income comes from RPT. However, the survey shows only 24% of the whole RPT are collected annually. If the collection is met at 100%, how happy Iloilo should be! Yayaman tayong talaga!!!

6.   In environmental aspect, Iloilo is assumed to have water shortage by 2012. the Maasin water shed will no longer hold the ditribution of water in the increasing number of households in the MIGEDC area excluding Guimaras. About 30% of the entire supply goes to illegal connections that are most rampant in the slum areas in the city. This a big problem and the government has to track all the channel of distributions before the problem gets worst.

These and more are just preliminary results of the research. I wish to discuss a lot more but that will already be illegal in some sense as far as research is concerned. I just hope that by these realizations, Ilonggos will be prompted to help improve Iloilo.  I still believe that the biggest change starts with the individual because it is this basic unit that makes up the system. Let us then move for a change and make Iloilo “The Next Big Thing!”

*****

P.S. I promise to write more of my realizations next time and probably will be discussing more of the beautiful side about Iloilo.

 

iloilo in change

September 24, 2008 11 comments
iloilo capitol

iloilo capitol

It’s not often that I clamber up to 6th floor of the Iloilo Capitol, but for the sake of organizing my thoughts, I opt to breathe fresh air atop Iloilo’s prime edifice, utter my mantra, and focus. Instead of jotting the first line for my press release, I turn my attention to the old Iloilo port that stood the test of time. I am not exactly sure of its antiquity but I think it is aged a century and has been witness to the rise and fall of Ilonggo civilization. On my right side facing north is the historical range of Gen. Luna Street spanning up to the University of the Philippines, an institution that is dear to me. In facing east, the old Iznart Street, which has been a subject place of Stevan Javellana, remains jam packed with vehicles and rabbles that have became slaves of time. The Bonifacio Drive and the Iloilo River remain tranquil below the six bridges that were erected for the benefit of accessibility and road network. Facing up, I notice the same sky that is unclear of any expression, but I surmise is frowning because there is so much demand of sun block in the market—that we forget to think that we can never solve the issue of blackening unless we look up and think how to resolve the problem of mercury rising.

There is no doubt that Iloilo is ascending in terms of development and economic gains. It has made its name in economic promontory as one of the most promising sites in the Philippines; investment keeps rolling in and available spaces are procured for real estate developments and business infrastructures. The laggard years are gone, and Iloilo has made a drastic change beginning with the election of technocrats and officials that can stand in the side of development than just pure politicking.

If you could look back at Iloilo ten years ago, a myriad of change has taken place – with the establishment of malls and business centers; the transfer of business locales from the old Calle Real to the spacious and trendy site of Benigno Aquino Drive (Diversion Road as it is commonly called now) in Manduriao; the market driven entrance of BPOs and call centers, Iloilo is once again on the track to prove itself of the potential which was once hailed as Queen City of the South before Cebu held that label. The imminent presence of competitive universities coupled with the rising demand of man power has symbiotically made a great impact in economic thrust. This might be the reason why Iloilo is the fragrance of investment in Central Philippines.

Major public infrastructures started to move up in Iloilo. One of the grandiose projects is the bridging of Panay Island via Guimaras and Negros which is estimated to cost billions from the government treasury. As part of the National Plan for Economic Corridor, the bridging of these islands will bring more investment in La Muy Leal Noble Ciudad de Iloilo. The project is speculated to commence in Leganes, Iloilo, crossing Taminla, Guimaras and from Cabano, Guimaras, the bridge is engineered to cross Pulupandan, Negros.

However, the development in Iloilo was not wrought as easy as ABC. Political parties along with undying activism of the Catholic Church, created a block to hinder some of the projects. Had it not been for the persistence of the local executives, Iloilo would remain as wretched as a decade past.

Indeed, so much has changed and it is not just about the geo-physical transformation but the behavioral and mental transmutation of the people as well.

Life in Iloilo is very different now, although development is inevitable, it nevertheless has a cost to pay. Some clamor has dominated the limelight saying that they rarely see people chatting down the road, holding hands and enjoying the time with each other anymore. Iznart Street along with the plazas has once been known for serving as a socializing place for the people – that might have been the reason why Iloilo was known as “The City of Love.” But it’s all gone now. The dawning of skycrapers and global trending has brought this gradual change among Ilonggos. I am not anti-progress as to say, but a pro-progress as much as somebody yearns for it. Only those who look at the progress of time can see the drama of life and maybe I am one of them because I feel nostalgic of whatever beauty  of the past that has remained in the memory of only a few. The bridging of archipelagos may bring structural and economic development in Iloilo, but I am afraid it will curtail the long sublimeness of Ilonggo behavior. We have to adapt… that’s the bitter part of it. Nevertheless, no one can hide the excitement with where Iloilo is heading and what it is going to be – The Next Big Thing.