Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said the Bacolod City Government Center turned eight yesterday, while all the 14 cases filed against him involving the project were dismissed before he returned as mayor in July this year.
Leonardia said they are targeting to have the government center repainted before the MassKara Festival in October.
“This is our way of celebrating the eighth year of the government center which was blessed by Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Edward Joseph Adams on April 3, 2011,” he said.
Leonardia recalled that, officially, the facility was received by the city from the contractor on August 8, 2008, which, incidentally, was also the date the Olympic Games in Beijing opened.
He said the official cost of the building was about P394,957,121.01.
This 5-hecatre property, which used to be surrounded by sugarcane fields, was a donation from the Gonzaga family. He thanked them on behalf of the people of Bacolod for this generosity which has now transformed this vacant lot into what it is today, he added.
Leonardia pointed out that there were 14 cases filed against him involving the project that he undertook because he thought it was going to answer the dreams and aspirations of the city. All these cases were dismissed before he returned as mayor.
CLEARED BY OMBUDSMAN, COA
He said the Ombudsman clearly stated in its decision “We find nothing anomalous in the construction of the government center.”
The Commission on Audit also ruled that the government center is not overpriced at all and that it was built within the tolerable limits, Leonardia said.
There are reports that the Iloilo City Hall cost about P700 million, while the City Hall of Puerto Princesa also cost P700 million, when its population is just half the population of Bacolod, he said.
Leonardia recalled that when he left in 2013, he quoted a line in the song, saying “Please take good care of my baby.” Sadly, this baby was apparently not taken cared of at all.
So he asked the engineers to make a rehabilitation plan for it. Through 85 volunteers and donations they were able to have the façade repainted, he said.
The engineers estimated that the repair of the roofing will cost about P1.4 million while the repainting will cost an estimated P2.6 million estimate, Leonardia said.
Engineers and workmen saw a lot of debris on the roof like towels, papers and plastic bottles that destroyed it.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said they want to beautify the portion of the airport access road which is under the jurisdiction of Bacolod City.
“The Negros Occidental Garden Club has started to assess our needs so we could develop a garden in Bacolod,” he said.
Leonardia said there are many areas in Bacolod that are privately owned. So he appealed to everyone to clean their surroundings and if they could participate on their own to beautify the city.
He recalled that when he was first mayor in 1995 the Clean and Green program was a very hot item in the administration of former President Fidel Ramos, and they did a massive campaign through volunteers and donations so that they were able to grow so many plants in Bacolod.
Leonardia said they utilized the vacant lots for gardens but that Indian trees they had planted all over Bacolod have not increased since 1995.
CLEANEST AND GREENEST
“We would like to aspire to become once again the cleanest and greenest, as we had won that title in the past. We have done it before and there is a good chance we can do it again. It just needs the cooperation of the public especially, in the disposal of garbage,” he said.
Leonardia said he believes the time to plant trees is now.
“Probably it will be our children and our children's children who will benefit from this. But it is our duty to the future of Bacolod to start this endeavor now because we are trying to avail of the advantage that it is the rainy season,” he said.*CGS
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