“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.” – Abraham Lincoln
Aside from the excellent performances of Iloilo athletes now competing in the 30th Southeast Asian Games hosted by the Philippines, there is another reason why Ilonggos are so proud nowadays.
Iloilo City has been adjudged as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Clean Tourist City Awardee.
The announcement of Iloilo City’s winning of the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Award came a week before Ilonggo athletes helped the host country amass gold, silver, and bronze medals in the biennial meet to lead in the medal tally.
There are more positive stories about Iloilo and the Ilonggos in sports, entertainment, art, cooking, economy, which make up for the toxic politics and bad weather condition that every now and then threaten to sabotage the happiness and peace of mind Ilonggos who are mostly proud of their heritage, culture, talents, and achievements.
It was reported that after being evaluated as one of the cleanest urban centers and top tourist destinations not just in the Philippines, but also in the Southeast Asian Region, the “City of Love” recently bagged the highly touted ASEAN Award.
Iloilo City has gone a long way from being slandered as “the most shabulized city in the Philippines” to being recognized for its initiative in the improvement and beautification of public areas and urban spaces, its conservation for the environment and natural attractions, and maintaining the cleanliness and sanitation.
The evaluating team reportedly gave Iloilo City a successful grade after having complied with the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard’s seven indicators namely: 1. Environmental management, 2. Cleanliness, 3. Waste Management, 4. Awareness-Building about Environmental Protection and Cleanliness, 5. Green Spaces, 6. Health Safety, Urban Safety, and Security; and 7. Tourism Infrastructure and Facilities.
Reports said the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Award is a recognition to encourage ASEAN nation-members to be competitive in their tourism and marketing sectors to create jobs and push economic growth, granted Iloilo City with a badge of excellence with a validity of three years, from 2020 to 2022.
While the Iloilo City Hall wallowed in the darkness after the “switch-off” or power blackout on November 28, the Iloilo Provincial Capitol glimmered after an official switch-on of colorful LED lights to officially kick off the Christmas season on December 2.
In any modern Christian world, Yuletide season is the season with the most demand for more lights used for Christmas trees, decorations, plazas, arks to welcome visitors and other public places.
If the City Hall doesn’t have a problem with the Panay Electric Company (PECO), it may request the power firm for a special assistance to help them keep their steady or uninterrupted electric supply in this important season.
Setting aside a special fund to defray the expenses that may be incurred in maintaining colorful and state-of-the-art lights should be tolerated by any local government unit (LGU) at least only for the spirit of Christmas which will last only until first week of January.
Alex P. Vidal, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ