Makati City – Tourism officials met with Senate President Franklin Drilon, Iloilo City Representative Jerry Treñas and Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to discuss the tourism and heritage conservation projects for Iloilo City. Also present during the meeting are Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), Director Jeremy Barns and Dr. Ana Labrador of the National Museum, Atty. Guiller Asido of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Regional Director Helen Catalbas of the Department of Tourism Region VI Office, Atty. Jose Mari Treñas and Narzalina Lim of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation.
The tourism projects are to be undertaken as part of the implementation of Republic Act 10555 which officially declares the Jaro Cathedral, Molo Church, the Iloilo City Central Business District, Fort San Pedro, Jaro Plaza Complex, Molo Plaza Complex and the Plaza Libertad Complex as part of the country’s cultural heritage tourism zone.
Republic Act 10555 was authored by Congressman Treñas and was passed into law in the previous Congress. The law allows the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority, and other concerned government agencies, in coordination with the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council, to formulate and implement an integrated development plan for the covered heritage sites while ensuring the preservation and historic significance of the identified tourist attractions.
TIEZA will restore the Jaro Plaza and the Jaro Belfry, the National Museum will rehabilitate the Old Jaro Municipal Building, while the NHCP will handle the restoration of the Molo Church statues of santoses, the church structure and interiors, as well as the church compound. “These historic churches and structures embody the spirit and rich cultural heritage of the people of Iloilo City. We must do our best to preserve our heritage sites for our culture and identity as Ilonggos to perpetuate,” said Treñas.