By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
LAST August 20, 2018, the Iloilo City Council authorized Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III to negotiate a bank loan to finance the construction of the Iloilo City Sports Arena.
The proposed P500-million loan from either the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) or the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) will pave the way for the fully air-conditioned sports facility.
Espinosa said they are now looking into La Paz district plaza as the site for the sports facility.
“Subong gina tan-aw ta ang La Paz because considered siya as sports plaza and indi heritage. May tennis courts and football gym na didto and may isa ka area dira pwede nga site for our sports arena that can seat 7,000 people,” he said.
Councilor Eduardo Peñaredondo said he supports the proposed sports complex.
“I agree to that. It was included already in the lease of projects for the Annual Development Plan. Our new site is the La Paz Plaza. It’s very much feasible because it is not one of those included in the heritage structure. You can avail of the parking space that is wide enough so there is no problem of parking,” he said.
But one of the more pressing concerns in the city is the sorry state of the public markets and the lack of certification for the slaughterhouse.
According to Councilor Armand Parcon, public markets in Iloilo City are neglected and suffer from ramshackle facilities, faulty drainage, damaged cubicles, and delayed collection of garbage.
During the committee hearing last August 17, 2018, Assistant City Engineer Karl Quimsing told the City Council that the Iloilo Central Market, La Paz Public Market, and Iloilo Terminal Market must be demolished to give way to more modern markets.
Quimsing said rehabilitation is insufficient to keep up with market modernization, he added.
When asked about which project he will prioritize between the markets and the sports arena, the mayor said that they have a separate plan for the markets.
“Both are our priority and dungan na sila. Although mas lapit ako sa sports, we also have a separate plan for our markets and all our markets now are being repaired,” he noted.
As a sportsman, Espinosa said he wanted to give the youth the best sports facility that that the city government can offer.
He added that he wanted to invest in the sports program of the city to combat illegal drugs.
“If ang iban nga mga siyudad ang ila munisipyo, may ara, ngaa kita wa-ay? Gusto ko gid i-develop ang sports kay ang sports ang kontra sa drugs,” he noted.
The city government boasts of its successful sports program such as the barangay based-Palarong Panlunsod for aspiring Ilonggo athletes and the recently concluded sportsfest for the LGBTQ and illegal drug surrenderees.