“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” BERTRAND RUSSELL
By Alex P. Vidal
The meeting between Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and officials of the Iloilo Press Club (IPC) led by Daily Guardian editor-in-chief Francis Allan Angelo in city hall last September 19, was symbolic. It brought back the cordial ties between Mabilog and the club after a stormy relationship during the election period ignited by the candidacy for city mayor of a rich businessman who financed the construction of the building in Brgy. San Pedro, Molo, Iloilo City.
The IPC under Angelo is on its way to renaissance after a long hiatus. Angelo vowed to prioritize the construction project saying the building can be used as training center for members.
The IPC building has not been fully constructed since the groundbreaking in 1996 attended by then Iloilo city mayor Mansueto Malabor and Iloilo governor Art Defensor during the term of Panay New publisher Danny Fajardo. It was mothballed during the term of former mayor and now Iloilo City congressman Jerry P. Trenas.
The cold war between Mabilog and IPC escalated during the election period when the donor faced Mabilog in a one-on-one slugfest for mayoral contest in the May 13 polls. Relationship between IPC and Mabilog started to roll back to normalcy when Angelo was elected as president in September.
After IPC officials presented to Mabilog the deed of donation of the building during the city hall powwow, the mayor vowed to help them settle in their own home without any legal impediment.
The lot on which the IPC building stands is covered by a “mother title” which also includes lots of the Technological Institute of Iloilo City and other organizations, Mabilog said. “We will have the lots subdivided so we can have a separate land title for the IPC building. Then we can work on an agreement to allow the press club to use the lot,” he added.
The city government has the master plan for the entire city-owned lot at San Pedro village, specifically to put up a government center and sports complex, disclosed Mabilog.
Angelo wrote the mayor’s office requesting that the city government allow the club to use the lot. For his part, Mabilog said he will also instruct pertinent agencies to assess the IPC building if it complies with basic engineering and electrical requirements then issue the needed business and occupancy permits.
The IPC plans to use the press club building as a training center and venue for press conferences. The club also aims to rent part of the building to interested businesses as a source of revenue of the oldest press organization in the country.
Meanwhile, the purported “honeymoon” between IPC and Mabilog has alarmed former club president Manuel “Boy M’ Mejorada, a city hall critic, who quipped in his Facebook comment: “That means the IPC will behave until 2016.” Members have vowed to remain vigilant and expose anomalies in the city government with or without the building project.