The Iloilo City Government is competing the Iloilo-Batiano River Development Project for the National Galing Pook Awards this year.
Mayor Jose Espinosa III will lead the city’s delegation in the final presentation and panel interview in Manila Oct. 10.
“This program started several years ago primarily with the help of our private sector, specifically the Iloilo Business Club. We should develop our river because that is a natural resource and we should be proud because not all cities in the country has the same development,” Espinosa said.
National validators visited City Hall for the validation and on-site visitation Aug. 13-14.
The Galing Pook Awards aims to recognize innovative practices of Local Government Units (LGUs) which are evaluated through a multi-level rigorous screening process based on the criteria which are Positive Results and Impact; Promotion of People’s Participation and Empowerment; Innovation, Transferability and Sustainability, and Efficiency of Program Service Delivery.
Espinosa, together with departments heads, heads of offices and Iloilo-Batiano River Development Council (IBRDC) agreed that the Iloilo-Batiano River Development Project be the city’s entry, given that it even earned various international recognition.
The Iloilo River was one of the four international finalists in the Thiess International Riverprize award in 2013.
“Given the contributions of various stakeholders and Iloilo-Batiano River Development Council for the rehabilitation, protection and development of Iloilo-Batiano River, we hope that we will bag the Galing Pook Awards,” City Planning and Development Officer Jose Roni Peñalosa said.
During the validation process, Professor Evelyn T. Belleza, a member of the IBRDC from the academe, presented the profile and background of Iloilo River; how the IBRDC came about; strategic initiatives to address issues and challenges; transformation and development through community support and participation; positive results and impact; and transferability and sustainability.
The river rehabilitation started in 2011 with the City Government initiating the removal of thousands of informal settlers along the waterway and gave them relocation sites.
The national government also funded the flood-control project which paved way for the establishment of Iloilo Esplanade, the longest walkway in the country. (Merianne Grace Ereñeta/ Iloilo City PIO)