ILOILO City – The Yuletide season is on the horizon. As the city government moves to reboot the local economy, it is tapping the private sector to enliven every nook and cranny of the metro and spread good tidings during the joyous season.
Among the many holiday season fixtures Ilonggos can look forward to is the lighting up of what’s being touted as the tallest Christmas tree in the city.
According to Mayor Jerry Treñas, the city government is preparing early for the holidays to further normalize the celebration hampered these past two years by the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Key to this, he said, is the active participation of the private sector.
For instance, the tallest Christmas tree in Iloilo City is one of SM City Iloilo’s contributions to spread the holiday cheer. With 50,000 twinkling LED lights and hundreds of light bulbs in the classic Christmas colors of green, yellow and red, it will dazzle the Ilonggos raring to make happy Yuletide memories after two years of restrictions.
The imposing 60-foot tree, which also features gift boxes and custom-made “Angles of Light”, is a perfect backdrop for that snazzy holiday season selfie, souvenir family photo or barkada groupfie.
Complementing the giant Christmas tree is a skating rink/pond where kids and the kids-at-heart can live out a delightful “Christmas at the park” at SM City Iloilo’s Southpoint.
“But let us spread the spirit of the season not just with joy but also with compassion in our hearts,” said Treñas.
Thus for the fourth time, city hall is partnering with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI-Iloilo) to deck major thoroughfares with colorful giant Christmas parols.
These give hope to persons deprived of liberty at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology that PCCI-Iloilo is tapping to make this traditional Filipino Christmas décor.
The switch-on ceremony is tentatively scheduled on Nov. 25 also at SM City Iloilo.
As for the city’s senior citizens and indigent residents, Treñas said they can look forward to more Yuletide blessings from the city government.
An estimated 40,000 beneficiaries are being eyed for the annual gift-giving, the city’s chief executive told Panay News.
On top of this, said Treñas, city hall will play host to weekly Christmas concerts that are joyous and fun – and these are free for everybody.
PARTNERSHIP IS KEY
The city mayor emphasized the important role the private sector plays to make this year’s holiday season enjoyable and charitable.
SM City Iloilo, for instance, has lined up activities to spread the holiday cheer. Among others, it is partnering with Fiesta! Souvenirs for SM Supermalls’ “100 Days of Happiness,” campaign that encourages Filipinos to support the advocacies of individuals and organizations providing opportunities and create livelihood for their communities. Through this campaign, an SM mall and its partner will produce items and sell them; the proceeds will be donated to chosen beneficiaries or charities.
Handmade products of BJMP inmates, Carmelite Sisters and Salngan Women’s Cooperative will be up for sale at the selling booth located at the SM City Iloilo Lower Ground Floor, North Point in front of Café Iloilo. The chosen beneficiaries are the residents of Asilo de Molo of the Daughters of Charity.
Another noteworthy campaign of SM City Iloilo is the “SM Bears of Joy.” An annual project of SM Cares, SM Supermall and Toy Kingdom, mall shoppers can purchase a pair of specially designed bear plushies for P250 – one for their keeping and the other to be donated to children in various communities across the country.
SM City Iloilo is also linking up with JCI Iloilo to bring good tidings to children stricken with cancer.
Mayor Treñas hails the city government’s partnership with SM Super Malls.
“I value this partnership. It has provided employment and business opportunities to the Ilonggos. It has helped the city become the economic center in the region,” he said.
To date, SM City Iloilo – one of the biggest malls in Western Visayas – has 460 tenants.
SM Prime is also helping the city government redevelop its two biggest public markets into sustainable multi-use market complexes with modern, clean and convenient facilities.
This transformation will eventually lead to an increase in the markets’ customer base, further augment the income of market vendors, and pave the way for more business and job opportunities and investments in Iloilo City.
The city government, too, will link up with private sponsors to brighten public plazas with glittery Christmas lights – a repeat of a successful partnership last year that transformed the plazas into family-friendly public spaces for the holidays.
“This (coronavirus pandemic) will come to an end. We will go back to normal again. Life goes on while we take care of everyone,” Treñas said. (via Glenda Tayona, Panay News)