By Mariela Angella Oladive
The Iloilo city government has spent a total of P257 million budget for the major makeover of several plazas in the metro.
The rehabilitation implemented in phases aimed to create inviting environments where residents and visitors can gather, unwind, engage in communal activities, and make memories together.
The following plazas received the following budget allocation:
Jaro Plaza – P90 million
La Paz Plaza – P75 million
Arevalo Plaza – P46 million
Plaza Libertad in City Proper – P30 million
Mandurriao – P10 million.
Plaza Libertad and Mandurriao Plaza received an additional P19 million and P17 million, respectively, making a total of P36 million from the “Green, Green, Green!” program of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines has funded specific structures within Jaro Plaza, such as the Bandstand, Belfry, and Lopez Jaena Shrine, apart from support for Molo Plaza.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jerry Treñas underscored the importance of restoring the plazas.
“The plazas are being restored by the city because we want to make public spaces available to our constituents; which are very important as it gives people a place to rethink and recharge.”
A plaza is a public space where various activities like social gatherings and other communal events are taking place, where there is presence of statues of heroes and historical icons strategically installed to instill a sense of heritage among the community members, while the overall ambiance is enhanced through landscaping, modern lighting, speakers, and fountains.
Plaza Libertad, for instance, has transformed into an assembly area, hosting events like Monday’s flag-raising ceremony and other programs organized by city offices. The plazas’ perimeters have been opened for easy access, except for La Paz, which will be secured with a grilled fence to protect the facilities within.
In a bid for sustainability, a retention pond and improved drainage systems have been integrated, rendering the areas flood-free by capturing rainwater for plant irrigation. The football field is also set to receive lighting, to make night games possible for enthusiasts.
La Paz Plaza development saw additional features, including a Koi Lagoon and a proposed Butterfly Garden, developed in collaboration with the private sector.
Addressing concerns about the visual impact of Jaro Gym, plans are underway to relocate it to Alta Tierra Subdivision. The Liga ng mga Barangay office will be replaced by a community center cum library in front of the church.
These transformative projects are not only enhancing the city’s landscape but also contributing to the overall welfare and enjoyment of every Ilonggo and visitor. The commitment to creating vibrant and inclusive public spaces reflects the city’s dedication to fostering a sense of community and pride among its residents.