NEDA-RDO Undersecretary Adoracion M. Navarro visited Iloilo City in response to the invitation of the Iloilo Business Chamber for her to grace the Western Visayas CR+ID Inter Chamber meeting among officers and members of the business chambers from Antique, Aklan, Capiz, Guimaras and Iloilo last February 17 at Hotel del Rio to discuss the current administration’s thrusts in infrastructure development and the priority projects for Region 6. She encouraged the private sector to anticipate their sector’s needs and to bring these to the attention of local or national agencies so that both parties can collaborate in responding to these concerns. The gathering was an opportunity for the business sector to inquire about pressing problems that may affect their investments, including other developments, e.g. Iloilo-Guimaras bridge that will have a huge impact on the region once implemented.

A dinner meeting with Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog, DA Regional Director Remelyn R. Recoter and NIA Manager Gerardo P. Corsiga, along with RD Ro-Ann Bacal, was an opportunity to discuss about future directions and plans of the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras Economic Development Council, especially about traffic and congestion problems, solid waste management and septage concerns, and the importance of making the cities resilient to flooding and other disasters.  Updates on the Jalaur Multipurpose Irrigation Project, the upcoming Panay River Multi-Purpose Project, and other agriculture and fisheries potentials of the region were also discussed.

Upon her arrival in February 15, USec. Navarro proceeded to the NEDA Region 6 office to meet the staff and inspect its office premises.  It was a welcome opportunity for the Chiefs, ARD, and RD to present their initiatives and best practices and for the NEDA Staff to get to know their new Regional Development Office head.  It was also a chance to raise queries about technical and administrative concerns.

The next day, USec. Navarro visited infrastructure and agriculture projects in Iloilo, including the KOICA-assisted Iloilo Rice Processing Complex, the modern rice processing facility donated by the South Korean government situated at Brgy. Amamaros, Pototan which started operations in March 16, 2012. The complex was designed to be a one-stop-shop service facility serving farmers in the production of quality grains from pre to postharvest, milling, storage, and marketing.  Beneficiaries and members of Pototan cooperatives came to meet USec Navarro and shared how the facility has helped them.

After this, the Dumangas RORO Port and Terminal located in Brgy. Nalu-oyan in the Municipality of Dumangas was the next stop. Envisioned as a major port that will boost trading in the region, the Php255.085 Million project hosts Roll-on Roll-off Ferry (RORO) vessels that ply the Dumangas-Bacolod route. Plans for the expansion of the facility and transfering the container port from its present location is being prepared to avoid container vans plying the busy streets of Iloilo City.

Other projects visited include:

  • The JBIC-assisted Iloilo Flood Control Project – since its completion, the Iloilo Flood Control Project, Stage 1 has averted massive flooding in Iloilo City and surrounding municipalities by diverting excess waters of Tigum and Aganan Rivers to the floodway and then discharging the same to the Iloilo Strait.
  • The Iloilo River Plains Subdivision – a 5.6 hectare, Php144 million housing project for roughly 1,000 informal settlers including those affected by the Iloilo River Development Project, a component of the flood control project. The project resettled approximately 500 families residing along the waterways, riverbanks and creeks affected by the rehabilitation of the waterways.
  • The Iloilo Circumferential Road (C-1) project – a 13.8km, 4-lane, concrete road that connects the Iloilo-Antique Road to the Iloilo-Dumangas Coastal Road.

To cap her visit, USec. Navarro stopped by and gave a short message to local producers and entrepreneurs during the opening of Produkto Local at the Festive Walk of Megaworld.  In her message, she lauded the organizers for successfully providing a venue where Ilonggos witness how agriculture raw materials are transformed into processed products providing an opportunity for farm families to become entrepreneurs.  She added that the event created a stage where Ilonggo talents and Ilonggo culture and arts are given the opportunity to be discovered, nurtured and appreciated by residents and visitors alike.  (NEDA/DRD).