(By: dinggol araneta divinagracia-Ilonggo Nation Global Federation-02/16/2014)
As Congressman (1953-1955) of Iloilo City and Province, Roding Ganzon authored and sponsored the "Iloilo City Freedom Law" (Republic Act 1209) which restored to the people of Arevalo, Jaro, La Paz, Manduriao, Molo and Iloilo City proper their constitutional right to elect their own Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Councilors.
As the first elective Mayor (1955-1959), Ganzon built a modest grandstand within Sunburst Park, renamed "Freedom Park" fronting the Aduana --as a concrete memorial to the the new found political freedom of City residents.
In 1992, Mayor Mansing Malabor renovated the grandstand into a gigantic ILOILO CITY FREEDOM GRANDSTAND, that adversely affected the impressive view of the old Iloilo Custom House.
They began after demolition of "Kantina ng Bayan" eateries and display booths in Freedom Park, operated by the Iloilo Walking Corp./Iloilo Walkers Club under the presidency of Dinggol A. Divinagracia, in joint venture with Iloilo City Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. headed by Dr. Sergio M. Gonzalez.
Relocation, is the name of the game!
With the rapid growth of "La Muy Leal y Noble Ciudad de Iloilo" and the no-holds-bar of becoming a first class modern megalopolis in the near future, many believed that the present site had already outlived it's purpose and has to be relocated to an appropriate location.
A New Horizon:
Ubdoubtedly the success of SM City and Megaworld Projects in Brgy. Bakhaw and Brgy. Airport in Mandurriao respectively, triggered massive commercial expansion and tourism attraction including it's environs.
It is in this context, that perhaps, the proposed relocation site shall be along the Villa Beach, an area within "La Villa Rica de Arevalo"-historicaL root of our beloved Ciudad de Iloilo.
Moreover, this would initiate the grand plan reclamation project and envisioned boulevard as venue for Paraw Regatta, Fluvial Sto. Niño procession, Re-enactment of the early arrival in Aninipay (Panay) of our adventurous sea-faring ancestors that inspired Ati-Atihan, Dinagyang, Binirayan and for any other future historical and cultural festivities.
Negative reaction for clearing the area shall certainly be encountered from the vote-rich informal settlers within the vicinity. It is imperative, therefore, that a compromise agreement be negotiated by and between the City government and legitimate organized residents associations therein.
Perhaps! a high-rise tenement housing project could be constructed within the area on a Build-Operate-Transfer program to accommodate the populace and managed by bonafide Brgy. Officials as approved by builders.
Kag kon mahimo ni Primo Narcing Monfort ang Coastal Road going to Dumangas; nga-a indi mahimo diri mismo sa aton Ciudad sang Iloilo? Ini iya tanan, kon sa akon gid lamang! ~~~