Barrio Obrero: On May 4, 1951, then-Philippine President Elpidio Quirino signed Proclamation No. 251, Series of 1951 that established Barrio Obrero. Written accounts of the village now referred to as ‘Bo. Obrero’ described the village as a mangrove swamp. Located some 4 kilometers away from the Iloilo downtown area, it was home and shelter for thousands of working families rendered homeless by the devastating fire that hit Iloilo City in the 1950s (The News Today).
Several Proclamations recorded in the Official Gazette of the Philippines referred to Barrio Obrero as a ‘workingmen’s village’. The name itself, ‘obrero’, translates to ‘worker’, cementing history’s account that Barrio Obrero was home to the ‘obreros’ or the working sector in Iloilo City.
Barrio Obrero, located in the Lapuz District of Iloilo City, is among the 12 barangays in the said district, together with Alalasan, Don Esteban, Jalandoni Estate, Lapuz Norte, Lapuz Sur, Libertad, Loboc, Mansaya, Progreso, Punong, and Sinikway. Geographically, the barangay is bordered by Mansaya and Lapuz Norte.
According to PhilAtlas, the barangay’s population in 2020 was 6,743, or 1.47% of Iloilo City. Moreover, today’s Barrio Obrero has a total land area of 33 hectares – 89% inland and 11% coastal, and is divided into zones – Zone One, Zone Two, and Zone Three.
Zone One houses barangay plaza, barangay hall, and the barangay health center. Zone Two, meanwhile, is home to the Elementary School, and the Assumption Socio-Educational Center. Lastly, Zone Three is the most crowded section. It houses the National Power Corporation, Hope Baptist Church, and the Philippine Independent Church. Surrounding assets include the Petron Philippines Corp., the Pilipinas Shell Corp., the Total Bulk Corp., and the Iloilo International Port.
“Kanami sang Barrio Obrero, isa sa pinakadako nga barangay sa aton cuidad,”accounts James Conlu, barangay kagawad. Conlu recalls childhood memories and the massive progress of the barangay throughout the years.
“Dumduman ko na sanguna, sang naga eskwela ako sa ASEC (The Assumption Socio-Educational Center), kanami gid sang mga memories sang mga classmates namon. Nagahinampang kami dira, especially sanguna may talamnan – dira gid kami gahinampang. Pagpauli namon gapalangatol na lawas namon tungod sa humay nga ginahampangan namon,” he fondly shares.
Conlu also shares the efforts made by the residents to uphold values and camaraderie in the barangay.
“Dugay na kita gaalagad sa Barangay Barrio Obrero bilang kagawad. Ang isa sa manami naton nabutang dira sa barangay amo ang aton Task Force Youth. Na create ni siya pamaagi sa aton SK Chairman Edward de Guzman. Ini aton ginsuportahan todo,” Conlu says.
According to Conlu, supporting the youth is essential as they will shape the future of the barangay. Conlu Cup, sports activities, cleanup drive, maintenance of the barangay gym, and youth support are some of the activities under the Task Force Youth in the barangay.