ILOILO CITY: President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday inaugurated a state-of-the-art convention center at the Iloilo Business Park in Manduriao district here.
Built on a 1.7-hectare land donated by Megaworld Corp., the P700-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) is envisioned to be an iconic landmark in the Western Visayas region, with its design inspired by the province’s Dinagyang and Paraw festivals.
Earlier, President Aquino also led the launch of the Iloilo Business Park and the opening of the 12-story Richmonde Hotel, located in front of the convention center.
“This project will serve as a launch pad for Iloilo’s further development into a center for commerce and tourism in Western Visayas. This will give more opportunities to our compatriots here. We can now see the transformation of Iloilo from a laidback province, it’s now booming and is getting ready to compete with other developing provinces like Cebu,” the President said in Filipino.
He toured the convention center with Senate President Franklin Drilon, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas, Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and Megaworld Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Tan.
“Here’s a structure that is proof of the positive results of good governance. Ilonggos will take pride in the Iloilo Convention Center. Aside from its design that was derived from the Dinagyang and Paraw festivals, its world-class quality is commendable. That’s why we are doubling our efforts so that in due time, this will be widely known and be a pride of the entire country,” the President said.
He credited Drilon for being the driving force behind the convention center and other infrastructure projects in the province.
The ICC, which was designed by Architect William Coscuella and Associates, has seven function rooms and can accommodate some 3,700 people.
It is managed by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, a corporate body attached to the Department of Tourism.
The center, which is eyed as a new site for local and international-level MICE (Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibits/Events), will host some of the side meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference starting on September 21 until October 6.
The Iloilo Business Park, a 72-hectare integrated urban township, is poised to be the biggest business and tourism hub in Western Visayas, with a P35-billion project investment over 10 years.
Once completed, it will generate at least 40,000 jobs in the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector in the region.
Also present at the ICC inauguration were Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Health Secretary Janet Garin and Manuel Roxas 2nd, the Liberal Party’s standard-bearer in the 2016 elections.