State of the City Address 2023 by Mayor Jerry Treñas

August 17, 2023, Mayor Jerry Treñas, Mayor of Iloilo City delivered his State of the City Address for the year 2023.

Speech of Mayor Jerry Treñas during the SOCA 2023

It is with immense pride and gratitude reflecting on the journey we have embarked upon over the past few years.

As we look back on the achievements of our administration since 2019, it fills my heart with joy to recount the incredible progress we have made. Three achievements out of many, stand out as a testament to the strength, resilience, and unity of lloilo City.

First and foremost, I am thrilled to recall the momentous year of 2019 when lloilo City was bestowed with the prestigious ASEAN Clean Tourist City Award, one of the three cities in the country that received such award. This recognition was a symbol of our collective commitment to a sustainable and vibrant urban environment. Through tireless efforts and a shared sense of responsibility, we transformed our city into a shining example of eco-friendliness. This achievement would not have been possible without the dedication of our city em1ployees, community volunteers, and every resident who took pride in keeping lloilo clean. Your passion for preserving our natural beauty has inspired us all.

Secondly, in 2020, a year that tested our mettle like never before, I witnessed the true spirit of llonggos shining brightly. Our city emerged as a model in the fight against the global pandemic. With the challenges of COVID-19 threatening our health, economy, and way of life, we came together with unwavering determination. From healthcare workers on the frontlines to essential service providers, from community leaders to ordinary citizens, our collective response was nothing short of remarkable.

We showed the world that lloilo stands strong even in the face of adversity. We were even called Wakanda of the Philippines. This achievement was a result of your sacrifices, your vigilance, and your compassion for one another.

Finally, the heartwarming success of our Public-Private Partnership projects, especially our flourishing market developments, exemplifies the power of collaboration. This success would not have been possible without the support of our business community, our investors, and the trust you have placed in our administration to steer our city t1owards progress. Your faith in 01ur vision has been instrumental in transf1orming our aspirations into tangible realities.

All these little achievements continue to drive economic activities in lloilo City. In 2022, the number of new businesses grew by 26.71%. Business renewals grew by 4.62%. The gross sa es of Registered Firms grew by 5.65%, while Total Investments grew by 65%,and Tourist Arrivals drastically grew by 255% since the pandemic. Employment rate is at 95.1% from 89.4 % in 2021 because we prioritize livelihood and job opportunities for the llonggos.

Ladies and gentlemen, as I stand here, I am re1min,ded that the most beautiful achievements are those that are shared. These victories are not mine alone; they belong to each one of you. It is the spirit of the lloniggos, your dedication, your resilience, and your passion, that has shaped our city’s destiny. Our achievements are the embodiment of your hard work, your compassion, and your unity.

With all the many achievements we have, we should not be resting on our laurels but rather push forward with renewed vigor. The road ahead may hold challenges, but I am confident that with the spirit of the llonggos guiding us, there is no obstacle we cannot overcome.

I can still vividly remember the very reason why I wanted to hold an office in the LGU. I was young then,, but I had so many big dreams for my home – lloilo City. That is why, when I was once again given the chance to be your mayor back in 2019, I realized that it was a point of no return so I must exhaust all ways possible to maximize our potentials as a,city and become instrumental in the realization of not only my dream, but the dreams of my fellow llonggos.

Four years of navigat1ng the roadmap we created in 2019, WHEELS for Inclusive Development, we have seen a lot of progress but it doesn’t stop there because for every single dream I have for lloilo City that turns into reality, sprouts another.

That is the very reason why I am speaking before all of you today. I am thrilled to present to you a transitional blueprint – a grand roadmap that envisions nothing short of a transformational metamorphosis for our beloved lloilo City. Ladies and gen1tlemen, ILOILO CITY… The Way Forward.

This blueprint is not just a plan; it is an architectural marvel towards our aimed destination – to position lloilo City among the Top 3 Most Competitive High y­ urbanized Cities in the Philippines by 2028.

lloilo City shall be a model of a livable, sustainable and resilient city of well­ governed and empowered llonggos that safeguard the environment and preserve the culture while sustaining a robust, inclusive, and innovative economy.

This endeavor isn’t about mere hopes; it is a commitment to harnessing the potential that lies in our city and its people. In its essence, this vision stands as a testament to our collective ambition of being named as one of th1e most competitive in the country.

Our roadmap for success, rooted in the four pillars of Environmental Sustainability, Resilient Infrastructure, Innovative Economic Development, and Responsive and Inclusive Human Development, has served as the guiding light for our endeavors.

Environmental Sustainability

Our city has embraced the call to safeguard our environment for future generations. By fostering green spaces, promoting waste reduction, and advocating for clean energy alternatives, we have taken crucial steps to ensure a healthier, more vibrant lloilo. The Beach Forest, Lanit Tree Park, and the Mangrove eco-park and the of plazas are some of the notable green projects that we have promoting environmental sustainability. Together, we are forging a path towards a sustainable and green future.

Resilient Infrastructure

In the face of challenges, our city has demonstrated unparalleled resilience. We have not only rebuilt what was lost but have fortified our infrastructure to withstand the tests of time and nature.

We will im1prove the walkability of our sidewalks, install the Bike Sharing System through a mobile application, adapt e­-vehicles as part of green transport, and implement a comprehensive urban drainage plain that will lessen the flooding, as testament to our commitment to creatin1g a city that can weather any storm and emerge strange than before.

Innovative Economic Development

The heartbeat of our city is its economy, and we have embraced innovation as the driving force behind our growth. By nurturing local businesses, attracting investments, and fostering a cult1ure of entrepreneurship, we have created a dynamic environment that breeds success. The ongoing market developments, digital systems for markets, national and international promotion of investments in lloilo City, new real estate developments, and the most recent international container shipments continue to drive economic developments. Furthermore, we had our Uswag Negosyo Academy for the market vendors to upgrade their operations, digitalized their services and­ equip them with knowledge for financial literacy. Our commitment to innovation has transformed Iloilo into a hub of opportunities, propelling us towards our goal.

Responsive and Inclusive Human Development

A city is defined by its people, and we have made it our mission to uplift every resident of Iloilo. The most noteworthy project we have is the housing project for the urban poor. Backlogs were fast-tracked to identify those who need and deserve housing units. Also, throug1h accessible education, quality healthcare, and inclusive social services, we have empowered our citizens to contribute meaningfully to our progress. Our journey towards success is marked by the strides we have taken to ensure that no one is left behind.

Our commitment to the four pillars of our roadmap is unwavering, and we are fortified by the additional steps we are taking to ensure our success.

Strengthening Barangay Engagement: The heart of our city beats in our barangays, and our progress is intricately linked to the well­ bei1ng of each community. Through enhanced engag1ement and collaboration, we are empowering 01ur barangays to actively participate in shaping the future of Iloilo. By ensuring that their voices are heard through feedback mechanisms, needs are met, and aspirations are acknowledged, we are building a city that thrives from the grassroots up.

Re-Engineering Organizational Structu1re and Human Resource System: A resilient city requires a resilient administration. We are embarking on a journey to re-engineer our organizational structure, ensuring the machinery aligns with our strategic mandate. By strengthening our human
resource system, we are investing on our most valuable asset: our dedicated public servants. With a workforce that is equipped, motivated, and aligned with our goals, we are laying the foundation for excellence.

Becoming a Technologically Advanced City: In this digital age, progress hinges on technological innovation. We are embracing technology to foster connected and data­ driven governance.

By harnessing the power of data analytics, smart city solutions, and digital platforms, we are improving the quality of life for every llonggo. Innovative programs and services like the installation of an system will become the norm, enhancing accessibility, efficiency, and effectiveness across the board.

Effective and Efficient Resource Management: Our commitment to transparent and excellent governance extends to our financial processes. By streamlining and these processes, we are maximizing the collection and utilization of resources for the betterment of our city. This means that every peso collected is channeled into initiatives that directly impact the lives of our citizens.

Becoming a Model City of Transparent and Excellent Governance: Our aspiration to become a model city of transparent and excellent governance is not just a vision; it is our duty to you, our constituents. By
setting the highest sta1ndards of accountability, openness, and integrity, we are leading by example. Our actions will resonate beyond our city limits, inspiring others to embrace the principles of good governance. Through our relentless pursuit of excellence, we are forging a legacy that extends far beyond our term in office.

I became a CITYNET Executive Committee Member , a manifestation of our excellence. Apart from that, we also won the:

• 2022 Galing Pook Winner, presenting our bike culture
• 1st Place Most Improved Highly-Urbanized City
• 1st Place Government Efficiency Highly­ Urbanized City
• 3rd Place Resiliency Highly-Urbanized City
• Seal of Good L,ocal Governance (SGLG) for Distinguished Local Government Units
• Gawad Kalasag Seal of Excellence for LDRRM
• 1st Place Kaunlarang Pantao Award
• Bayanihan Service Awar1d
• 3rd Place Winner Outstanding LGU Highly-Urbanized City 2022 National Literacy Award
• Top 3 Gawad Edukampyon for Early Childhood Care and Dev1elopment
• Specia,lCitation Most Business-Friendly LGU Awards

As we direct ourselves with a transitional road map, we introduce a tagline for our tourism campaign.

My fellow llonggos, as we stride forward towards our goal of being one of the top three most competitive highly urbanized cities in the Philippines, let us remember that our journey is defined not only by the destination but by the path we carve, the challenges we overcome, and the lives we touch.

We aim to establish the city as a vibrant and attractive destination, engaging the local community, and attracting tourists and investors by highlighting the city’s rich cultural heritage, vibrant lifestyle, and growth opportunities.

With strong determination, let’s break through the limits, let’s create a future that echoes through time. Together, we’ll set sail on a journey filled with new ideas and we will achieve the goal we have set for 2028.

Thank you for your unwavering support, your love for our city, and your determination to make lloilo a beacon of hope and progress.

We have proven that when a community comes together and works together incredible achievements are within our reach. Mabuhay ang lloiilo City, mabuhay ang mga Ilonggo!


Sheila is a digital marketing enthusiast. She is a kdrama fan, a dog person and a certified foodie!

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