January 12, 2017 12:37 AM

By: Louine Hope Conserva

ILOILO City will continue to reap the fruits of previous investments in 2017, according to a top official of the Iloilo Business Club.

IBC Executive Director Lea Lara said the city is still enjoying the windfall of projects which started in 2014.

“We are already seeing the completion of these projects. It is actually a big year for us this 2017,” she said.

Lara said priority industries such as the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), real property, and tourism will remain as strong drivers of the economy.

“You can validate this with the Iloilo Federation of Information Technology (IFIT) but they are looking at doubling their target of employment this year. They have already reached 21,000 individuals employed with BPO firms and they are targeting another 21,000 employment this year,” she said.

In terms of tourism, the IBC executive director said several conventions are lined up in Iloilo City.

For one, it is hosting five Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) meetings in March and April.

“So we have to continue to work at improving our facilities to accommodate the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) industry. It is a challenge for us to put together tourism information so that the convention visitors will be able to access schedules such as museum hours, directions going to our water park, among others,” she said.

Lara said three condominiums are set to open this year which signals a change in the urban lifestyle of Ilonggos.

She also said is a need to improve the agriculture industry to cope with the boom in residential developments.

She added that the private sectors are also moving forward to launching a manufacturing industry in Iloilo Province.

“We are now at the completion of our feasibility study for Dumangas. Iloilo City also has identified an area and is conducting a feasibility study,” she said.

Lara also stressed that the local government units should prioritize the formulation of programs that would help the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).



2016 also showcased Ilonggos’ resilience in dealing with economic challenges brought about by the change in the political arena, said Lara.

“We’ve been faring well in 2016. We were challenged with the change in administration as well as the controversies thrown over our city. We will continue to prove that our economic activities are active. Because at the end of the day our focus is to provide jobs to Ilonggos and serve our tourists,” she said.