The establishment of the Bacolod City Youth Home at the Vista Alegre-Granada relocation site in Bacolod City is going to test the city's partnership with the private sector, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said during the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday.
Leonardia said this is something that will concretize the bond between the government and private sector.
The facility will be built through a private-public partnership between the City Government of Bacolod and Verlanie Foundation, Inc., a non-government organization reaching out to street children.
The Democratic Local Governance in Southeast Asia (DELGOSEA) has identified the construction in Bacolod City of a “Youth Home” for children in conflict with the law as one of the possible projects to adopt.
“I am positive that what we are dreaming of today is something that will become a reality tomorrow,” Leonardia said.
When phases one and two of the relocation site are completed, they will have over 7,000 lots for the city's informal settlers. In a matter of time the place is going to become a complete community, he said.
Leonardia said the relocation site in Vista Alegre is the biggest property of the city at the moment, and it is conducive for the youth home.
A year after the relocation site was established, a school was constructed in the area and eventually there will be a high school there, he said. The police is also mandated to put up a police assistance center in the site, he added.
Leonardia said they were able to concrete the road from the Granada highway to the Vista Alegre relocation site faster because they have secured a loan from the bank, while it took almost 20 years before the road in Handumanan was concreted
Councilor Em Ang said the t otal project cost of the youth home is about P47 million to be divided into three phases.
She said Virlanie has committed to help finance Phase I though the city has included in the AIP P8.5 million to make sure that the project will start as scheduled.
Leonardia said “We feel morally obliged to take care of children in conflict with the law.”
If one of them gets out of track, it is the city's responsibility to get them back, he said citing a Biblical lesson about the good shepherd who left his flock to find one lost sheep.
Present at the rites were Councilors Em Ang, Roberto Rojas, Carlos Jose Lopez and Caesar Distrito, and representatives of the Virlanie Foundation, Mila Ong, head of the consortium, Bacolod Police director Senior Supt. Ricardo dela Paz, Vista Alegre officials led by Barangay Captain Eman Rectra, residents and city department heads and employees.*CGS