Biron bares blueprint to win iloilo’s future

ILOILO gubernatorial bet and 4th district Rep. Ferjenel G. Biron (center) receives a plaque of appreciation from Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Iloilo president Jobert Penaflorida (left) and PCCI-Iloilo chair Sandra Sarabia Gomez after the “AGENDA 2019: The Search for the Next Iloilo CEOs” held at Grand Xing Hotel, Iloilo City on April 30, 2019. (Ricky D. Alejo)

By: Limuel Celebria

FINALLY it’s out – Cong. Ferjenel’s Biron battle plan, his blue print to winning Iloilo’s future for its citizens, especially the youth.

In a rather comprehensive presentation before Iloilo’s business sector which gathered at Grand Xing Hotel for the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries’ “Agenda 2019: The Search for the Next Iloilo CEOS”, Biron outlined a course of action intended not only to bring about an improved economy for Iloilo but opportunities and prosperity for all Ilonggos.

Biron said his executive agenda when he gets elected governor of Iloilo is derived from his far ranging experience as a businessman and entrepreneur as well as his passion for serving others as a medical doctor and public official. “I believe that this unique blend of corporate and public governance track record gives me a more holistic and balanced perspective of the inter-relationships among government, the private sector, and society in general,” he said.

The congressman from the fourth district outlined his roadmap thus:

(B)usiness and investment climate competitiveness. Saying that business is the primary engine of growth, BIron seeks to “transform Iloilo into a top investment destination in the country.” Business create not just jobs and livelihood, they also generate local tax revenues that allows local governments the added resource to finance development projects and programs.

(I)nfrastructure Development and Innovation. Aligning his plans with the administration’s Build Build Build program, Biron said “we need to expand the province’s infrastructure system” to improve Iloilo’s competitiveness and make it a dream destination for investors. “We will convert the RORO port in Dumangas into an international seaport and establish a new RORO port in San Joaquin. We will closely coordinate our infrastructure planning – with national government and constituent LGUs. It is imperative that roads and bruidges in Iloilo are built where they are most needed by our people.”

(R)esource Management, Renaissance, and Resiliency.  Biron eyes the establishment of economic zones based on the core capabilities, products, and resources available in the different districts. This is intended not only to perk up local but also to generate more local revenues that will diminish the province’s dependence Internal Revenue Allotment and other dole outs from the national government. Biron eyes a renaissance in tourism in the province which could mean additional revenues and jobs for those in the tourism sector, particularly in the fifth district of Iloilo. Such efforts at development, he further pointed out, should be sustainable in order to benefit not just our children but also their children’s children. We will make Iloilo a green economy, a resilient economy.

(O)pportunities and Services for All. Saying that “the ultimate goal of all the good things we plan to undertake is greater service to our beloved Ilonggos,” Biron added: “We will open the big doors of opportunities to our people – educational opportunities, job opportunities, business opportunities. Pointing out that over 30 percent of Ilonggos still live below the poverty lines (A shame for a first class province like Iloilo! He said), Biron said “We will ensure that the provincial government’s programs and projects benefit everyone, especially the poor and powerless.”  At the same time, he said, “we need to level up the quality and accessibility of our health care services.” To improve the ration between population and hospital beds and between the population and number of health service providers, Biron plans to put up two more district hospitals, convert the San Joaquin Mother and Child Hospital into a district hospital and upgrade the Barotac Viejo district hospital. He also plans to bring in modern hospital equipment like CT SCAN, Digital X-Ray, 4D Ultrasound, etc.

(N)etwork Building and Partnerships. To bring about all these, Biron said he will seek to bring about convergence and collaboration with the different agencies and other local governments to align provincial development strategies with national government goals and make it easier to get financial and technical support. He added: We will also link up with more international, multilateral and bilateral organizations to generate foreign direct investments,

In sum, he told the local business sector that the business of government is not to compete with private players. “The business of government,” he emphasized, “is to create and nurture a business climate where business can prosper so that they can create employment opportunities for our people, contribute substantially to the local coffers, and help us realize our development agenda as part of their corporate social responsibility.”

“My Executive Agenda,” he assured, “will be implemented in ways that are faithful to the core principles of good governance which are transparency, accountability, people’s participation, and responsiveness.”

In presenting his roadmap, Biron asked the business sector: “Let us all work together to win the future of Iloilo.”