By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
SENATOR Franklin Drilon revealed his plan to restore the iconic road of “Calle Real” now J. M. Basa Street in City Proper, Iloilo City during his visit in the city on Friday.
Drilon, who was the guest speaker during the presentation of the Iloilo MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibits) Tourism Marketing Plan, said that he will ask seek for the reconvening of the Iloilo Heritage Council to plan of the restoration of Calle Real.
“I have asked for the reconvening of the Iloilo Heritage Council to come up with a plan in restoring this iconic road of Calle Real. We will start talking to the Iloilo Heritage Council in our effort to restore the grandeur of Iloilo,” he said.
Calle Real, which means “royal street” in Spanish reflected, the once booming economy of the city through its historic and luxurious buildings.
The street was renamed “J .M. Basa” to honor Jose Maria Basa, a Filipino businessman-propagandist and a compatriot of Jose Rizal.
In 2014, the National Historical Commission declared Calle Real as a district and a heritage zone.
Aside from this, Drilon signified his plans to develop more tourist attractions in the city and the province such as the development of the old Aduana (Customs House) and construction of museums for maritime history and Panay war veterans.
“Iloilo played a big role in the success of the seafaring industry. It will be an addition to a number of tourist attractions that we have already built. At the same time, it will help us to tell our children that Iloilo is a historic place that we can be proud of,” he said.
He also urged the city government to help restore the Calle Real into its old grandeur, emphasizing that it can serve as an image of what Iloilo was at the turn of the century.
Meanwhile, Drilon’s pet project, the Iloilo River Esplanade Project from Esplanade 4 to Esplanade 8 in Muelle Loney was inaugurated o July 27, 2019.
According to Drilon, the Esplanade project is now eight kilometers long
“It has become a tourist attraction and Iloilo City has been identified as a livable city among other because of this beautiful esplanade project that we have. It will again set the pace for urban development,” he said.
Esplanade 1 stretching from Diversion Road to Carpenter Bridge in Mandurriao district was opened in 2012. It was then linked to Esplanade 2 in Molo district.
Meanwhile, Esplanade 3 and Esplanade 9 are still undergoing constructions.