A TOP official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-6) said economic planners and developers will continue to push for the progress of Iloilo amid controversies besetting the city and province.
NEDA-6 Regional Director Ro-Ann Bacal said they want to highlight more on the development of the city rather than the purported negative images of the area.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has been sniping Iloilo City by dragging the name of City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog in the illegal drug trade.
He also called Iloilo as the “most shabulized”, “bedrock of illegal drugs”, and transshipment point of drugs.”
But Bacal said they will not be distracted by labels.
“What is important now is to disseminate to the rest of the country and for the benefit of those who are interested in coming in as either visitors or business people that Iloilo has developed into what it is today because also of the efforts of our local officials in partnership with the national line agencies through the regional line agencies,” she said.
She said “there is more to Iloilo than what it is being portrayed.”
“It is just that it’s very frustrating for planners and development partners to see our efforts the past years in making Iloilo what it is now. And hearing of feedback that you know there are visitors who cancelled their flights and have postponed their trip to Iloilo because of what they are hearing,” she said.
“But really there is more to Iloilo than what is being portrayed. I hope that we don’t focus on that because we at the regional line agencies, we are really bent on moving forward with the development of Western Visayas.”
Bacal said she met on Sept 11, 2017 representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce who came over to generate for more information for the construction of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge.
Meanwhile, Department of Tourism (DOT-6) Regional Director Helen Catalbas earlier said it is “business as usual in the tourism scene.”
Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Harold Fries also said that the Swedish business community is unfazed by the drug problem besetting the city and province.
The envoy, who was in the city last week, said he is even planning to recommend potential investments between Iloilo and Sweden.