As his political career nears its sunset, Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. said he wants to leave a tangible legacy for the people of the city and province of Iloilo.
In his second to the last State of the Province Address (SOPA) delivered on Nov. 7, 2017, Defensor highlighted the multi-billion Iloilo Provincial Capitol Complex Redevelopment Project which is set to be completed before he steps down in 2019.
“We are redeveloping today the Capitol grounds of the future. People will forget what we say about Iloilo but they will never forget what we did for Iloilo,” he said.
The provincial government has allotted more than P400 million to transform the Capitol complex into a leisure park.
It covers the Capitol grounds up to the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) compound along Bonifacio Drive.
“It is my dream of a cool, quiet spot in the heart of a bustling metropolis – a paradise of peace where the soul can commune with itself and the universe even as the generators of production and prosperity hum all around it,” he said.
The P400M funding includes P200 million for land improvement and landscaping of the entire area while the other half is for the construction of a six-story parking building at the lot vacated by the National Irrigation Administration.
The ambitious project, according to the governor, aims to integrate the old Iloilo Provincial Jail, which will soon become the Western Visayas Regional Museum; the Museo Iloilo, and the Philippine National Red Cross building.
The project will lead to the demolition of the Department of Tourism building and the overpass in front of the building.
“Aside from making our provincial government employees proud of their workplace or making a major contribution to the tourism industry, this will be one of our tangible legacies to the people of the City and Province of Iloilo,” Defensor said.
Just like his previous SONAs, Defensor basked in his series of achievements for the province.
He started off with the Hall of Fame award for Iloilo as the Best Performing Province in Western Visayas in the 2016 Excellence in Local Governance Awards (EXCELL) of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Iloilo is also a Grand Slam Winner of DILG’s Seal of Good Local Governance for 2015, 2016, and 2017.
“I don’t want to brag but earning the seal for three consecutive years gives us bragging rights – bragging rights that we have excelled,” he said.
The governor also bragged of individual awards of different departments in the fields of employment generation, social welfare, treasury and assessment, youth development, agriculture, and environment, among others.
He also highlighted various infrastructure projects of the province implemented under the KALSADA Program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) of the Department of Agriculture, and the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) of the Department of Budget and Management.
He also cited the improvement of district hospitals managed by the provincial government.
Defensor also thanked the Korean International Cooperation Agency or KOICA for its assistance to hospitals as well as for funding the rehabilitation of the Concepcion town port.
“We have come so far because we have travelled down the road hand-in-hand together. The road stretches far ahead of us into where we could not see. But we will always get to where we want to be if we simply set our hearts on it,” Defensor said.
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