Councilor Rex Marcus Sarabia is pushing for the creation of a permanent body that will oversee the food industry of Iloilo City, the Philippines’ first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.

The local lawmaker passed an ordinance seeking to establish the Iloilo City Gastronomy and Food Industry Development Council to “ensure the advancement, expansion and promotion of the Ilonggo food culture.”

“Being recognized throughout the world, the prominent distinction demands added commitment from the City Government, the private sector, and all other stakeholders for a united and concerted effort to achieve sustainable gastronomic development and excellence within the City and Province of Iloilo,” the proposed ordinance stated.

The council “shall be the primary body responsible for the regulation and imposition of industry standards in every level of the value chain in the food industry within Iloilo City.”

It is also “responsible for the development of the Ilonggo food culture through policy-making efforts, or through the implementation of programs, activities, and projects (PAPS).”

The council will be chaired by City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, with MICE Director Salvador Sarabia as co-chairperson, and Iloilo Hotel Restaurants and Resorts Association (IHRRA) president as vice chairperson.

The members, meanwhile, will include the chairpersons of the City Council committees on Markets and Trade; department heads of the City Agriculturist Office (CAO), City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Office (LEDIPO), Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO), City Architect’s Office and Public Information Office, as well as the Panay Organic Producers Association chairman.

In 2021, the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed a resolution declaring Iloilo as the Food Haven of the Philippines.IMT