Iloilo City’s response to pandemic trends online

Mayor Jerry Treñas (Photo by Leo Solinap)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

The online world is smitten by how Iloilo City is handling its fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with the city government and private sector earning praises from the netizens and even comparing the city’s response with that of the national government.

“Is Iloilo City a whole different country?” some netizens asked.

The move of the city government to purchase its own testing kits for COVID-19 using the donations of Ilonggo businessmen earned plaudits from netizens.

A tweet about how the city government implemented measures against COVID-19 posted by Twitter user @iveronclarice garnered 68,500 likes and 12,500 retweets.

“Iloilo City is really that b***. I mean our mayor literally moved on his own to find a supplier of testing kits. He also implemented a curfew but allocated a budget for food to support Ilonggos. Jeeps were also banned but he provided buses so frontliners could still go to work,” the tweet said.

Another Twitter user, @carpejemmm, applauded the move of the city government to provide accommodation and free bus rides to medical staff; and the establishment of community kitchens in barangays.

“I’m so happy for Iloilo. There are timely updates and transparency in every action. Lodging are provided for the medical staff, free bus rides and community kitchens. This is how swift you should act in time of a crisis. If only all LGUs and the president has this kind of governance,” she tweeted.

Some of the netizens even compared Mayor Jerry Treñas to Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto who also trended online for his proactive measures amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“If Pasig has Vico Sotto, Iloilo City has Jerry Treñas. More mayors like them please!” shared Twitter user Katrina Lima.

Another Twitter user, Margaux Parker, emphasized how Iloilo City isn’t just the best city but has also the best people citing private individuals who opened their homes to cater medical staff for free.

A floating idea of Iloilo City becoming separated from the Philippines was even raised by some netizens.

“Our LGU is implementing almost the same measures as the ones implemented in NCR but nobody here is complaining or ranting. It’s because they thought of it well before implementing it and indi siya anti poor,” Twitter user Clarice shared.

A tweet of Daily Guardian on the purchase of the city government of its own testing kits raked in 7,000 likes.

It was also retweeted by famous celebrity, Jasmine Curtis-Smith who retweeted the post with the caption ”Kudos, Iloilo!”

The mayor has previously announced that the city will purchase 2,500 testing kits from South Korea courtesy of the cash donations from Ilonggo businessmen worth P5.5 million.

The city has also extended food assistance including 242 sacks of rice, 344 cases of sardines, 344 cases of beef loaf and 344 cases of sausage to 172 barangays, according to Treñas.

Moreover, community kitchens in the day care centers in the metro were also established to provide food to the residents.

“These efforts would not have been possible if not for the love and compassion of our fellow Ilonggos.

By next week the goods purchased by the city government can be already distributed once it arrives. We the city government will try to make sure that we can be able to give to everyone as much as we can,” the mayor said in a post on his Facebook page.


Four years after no less than the President himself labeled Iloilo City as a “Shabulized City”, the city of love is now once again in the spotlight and this time, for positive reasons.