By: Lydia C. Pendon
SEVERAL owners of heritage buildings in downtown Iloilo City started refurbishing and rehabilitation of their properties in response to the call of the city government to help beautify the city especially the central business district.
Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the buildings, mostly 50 years old and above, are priceless city jewels that must be preserved and rehabilitated in their old grandeur by showing that the city is sincere in its quest as the Queen City of the South and as a premier city by 2015.
More than 50 buildings, considered as remnants of the Filipino-Spanish War dotted the main downtown of Iloilo City by carrying the imposing architectural design of the old century.
Three buildings along JM Basa street have recently completed rehabilitation as a response to the call of a public private partnership (PPP) by the city government.
The revival of the central business district (CBD) is one of two major development infrastructure projects for Iloilo City and Guimaras with a feasibility study conducted by the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) assisted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
CBD projects will focus on the city’s Heritage Zone and expected to enhance the local tourism industry. The area is known as an inner core of the business district that contains the critical mass of Iloilo’s heritage commercial structures. It will also help in the preservation of city heritage through the conservation of heritage buildings.
The area includes the Calle Real pedestrian boulevard between Ledesma, Arroyo and Aldeguer streets that also covers the city’s Chinatown area, and the Aldeguer street market between Iznart Street and Calle Real.
The CBD project also covers the rehabilitation and improvement of the Iloilo central market, a 1.37-hectare wet and dry goods compound along Iznart Street that will be made into an area interesting and convenient for urban consumer markets.