By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY — This city is one of the three in the country that will be awarded the Clean Tourist City Standard by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“We are very proud that Iloilo City is recognized as one of the three Philippine winners,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas.
“This warms my heart because having a clean city for my beloved Ilonggos and our tourists to feel safe is what I have worked hard for in the past five months,” Treñas added.
Iloilo City will formally receive the award in Brunei in January, 2020.
Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia said the citation from ASEAN can boost the city’s push to become the country’s next major destination for meetings, incentives, conferences, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE).
“This really promotes Iloilo City in the international arena,” Divinagracia told the Manila Bulletin.
The Department of Tourism-Office of Tourism Standards and Regulations (DOT-OTSR) conducted in September a site inspection of programs and developments for the award, which is a standardized tool that helps ASEAN-member states improve tourism quality and increase marketing competitiveness.
For almost a decade, Iloilo City has undergone massive infrastructure development led by Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon. He pushed for Iloilo River’s revitalization, the creation of a river park, and construction of the Iloilo Convention Center. He also pushed for the adaptive reuse of a century old-building that became the Museum of Philippine Economic History.
This has been complemented by the Iloilo City government, during the tenure of former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, and continued by Treñas as well as the private sector.