NO TAX HIKES: Treñas to push MICE tourism, port upgrades

ILOILO CITY Mayor-elect Jerry Treñas promised a 3-year moratorium on tax hikes when he starts his fresh term on June 31, 2019, on top of plans to bring in more conventions and improve seaports in the city. (F. A. Angelo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

ILOILO CITY Mayor-elect and Rep. Jerry P. Treñas vowed to support the newest direction of the city, particularly the Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism.

During the multi-sectoral consultative meeting with the business leaders in Iloilo in the  Coffee and Tea with Iloilo City’s New CEO organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)-Iloilo Chapter, Treñas said his administration will aim to bring in two conventions in the city per week.

“We have seen a lot of malls and hotels coming up. Unless we do something to fill up these malls and hotels, people will not come here. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has put in funds in the Department of Tourism (DOT) to put Iloilo as MICE convention. Here in the city, we will have a coordinator to make sure that Iloilo City will be ready for MICE. The target is two conventions every week,” he said.

Last February, DOT-6 launched the P50-million, three-year marketing plan for Iloilo to become a premier MICE destination.

Treñas also said he will lobby with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to hasten the approval of the proposal plan of the Iloilo Ports International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) to invest P8.7 billion in order upgrade the Loboc Port in Iloilo City.

“I support their request to hasten the approval of the project. Iloilo was first known to be ports city. It is about time that we reclaim the title. I fully support the ICSTI,” he said.

Aside from the Loboc Port, Treñas revealed a P100-million proposal of the PPA to upgrade the Ortiz Wharf.

“We have requested PPA to develop that and they have made a development study, they are going to spend P100 million for that,” he assured.



During the consultative meeting, Treñas also presented his staff who will help him implement his programs under the WHEELS, (Welfare, Health and Sanitation, Education, Environmental Management, Livelihood & the Local Economy, Sustainability) program.

Treñas named Melchor Tan as his city administrator, Butch Panaguiton as assistant administrator; Jonas Bellosillo, chief of staff; Atty. Edgar Gil, city legal officer; Atty. Quinitin Magsico, assistant legal officer; Francis Te, Senior Executive Assistant; Mitch Antiqueña, building administrator; Roy Firmeza, head of Iloilo City Urban Poor Affairs Office (ICUPAO);

For his executive assistants, he named Efren Paredes for barangay affairs, Rudiver Jungco for sports, Benito Jimena for tourism, Katherine Tingson for revenue generation, Salvador Sarabia Jr for MICE promotions, liaison for the private sector Dr. Sandra Gomez, and Charlie Hofelina and Arman Dayrit for the environment.

“It is important that before we start our term. We set the rules and one of our rules is governance is not my sole responsibility, it should be a shared responsibility between the governor and the government and that is why this afternoon I am very happy that we are here. I have been meeting already with my team. The team that would help me implement my programs in the city that we espoused during the campaign,” he stressed.

Treñas added that he will seek the help of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Center of the Philippines in upgrading the city’s slaughterhouse and redevelopment of public markets.

Treñas also vowed to revive the Metro Iloilo Guimaras Economic Development Council (MIGEDC) and build an eight-storey new legislative building which will house the Sangguniang Panlungsod and its offices.

He also assured the businessmen of a three-year moratorium on increases in real property and business taxes.

“There will be no increases in the real property and business taxes,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Maria Victoria Lara of the Iloilo Business Club (IBC) said the activity manifested the support of the business sectors to the new administration.

“The overwhelming support sang community who are present today manifests ang willingness sang tanan to work with the incoming administration,” she said.

According to Lara, the strong partnership between the private and public sector is one of the secrets of the success of Iloilo City.

“It’s important because we emphasized ang openness and willingness sang executive who is running the city is a signal and the not so secret recipe of the city kon nga-a nangin successful kita in the past years because of the public and private sector partnership,” she noted.