Press Release
August 17, 2012

Drilon, Pacquiao lead opening of Iloilo River Esplanade today

Senator Franklin M. Drilon and Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao will lead today's (Saturday) inauguration of the Iloilo River Esplanade, which is seen to boost Iloilo's tourism, as well as increase environmental awareness among its residents.

"I am optimistic that this project will boost the tourism industry in the city which is also known for its grandiose celebration of Dinagyang Festival. But what is more important is the environmental awareness it will instill on the people of Iloilo, especially that we are doing all that we can to restore the vanished beauty of our river," said Drilon.

The 1.2-kilometer esplanade was designed by a renowned architect, Paulo Alcazaren, who is responsible for developing the Singapore Quay. Its construction was funded with P70 million put together by Drilon through his Priority Development Assistance Fund.

"The new esplanade will offer a new destination for tourist and local residents, as well as families and friends who want to relax and have more leisure time where they can share time with each other, and capture and videotape cherished memories, said Drilon.

The esplanade has 1.2 kilometer pathways stretched along the 22-kilometer Iloilo River and has viewing decks that would provide visitors the chance to better appreciate the beauty of the river, he added.

Another salient feature of the esplanade is its delightfully designed landscape, planted with different kinds of ornamental plants.

Economically, the new esplanade will open business opportunities to small and medium businessmen, but Drilon ensured that the cleanliness and orderliness in the park will be properly observed and maintained.

The Senator also assured the safety of the visitors who are expected to flock the esplanade, with the local police to be fielded within the vicinity.

Drilon has been working on the cleaning up and redevelopment of the Iloilo River, which has been deteriorating over the years because of several factors including pollution, sedimentation, depletion of mangrove areas, and proliferation of manmade constrictions, among others.

Among the efforts that the Senator has already undertaken in redeveloping the river include the removal of the obstructions along the Iloilo and Batiano Rivers, the removal of 10 derelicts and 38 idle vessels which were blocking the river for more than a decade and the elimination of illegal fishpens and dikes at the river. All these efforts will allow the water to flow incessantly.

He is also pushing for the construction of a passenger terminal building by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in a move to clear the road that is currently being used by PPA for the fast craft terminals.

Drilon also requested the President to allocate P344 million for the relocation of about 3,500 families who are living along the danger zones of the river and its tributaries.

All these activities, among others, are part of the short and long term plans for the Iloilo River which the Senator is committed to undertake until 2016.

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