Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said the new set of city officials have committed to work together to put Bacolod City back on track.
Leonardia said Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya has promised to see to it that his proposed Bacolod Economic Highway will be pursued, and he believes the project will be completed during his term as congressman.
The Bacolod Economic Highway will cost the government about P790 million, he said. It is a stretch of 21 kilometers that will start from Sum-ag, Cabug, Felisa, Handumanan, Mansilingan, Estefania, Mandalagan up to Bata.
This will create new growth centers and will definitely spur the economic activities all over Bacolod, he said.
Leonardia also said he has sent a letter to the Sangguniang Panlungsod asking for the repeal of the new tax code. They have to agree on the rates of the new real property tax, he said.
They are also encouraging barangays to be business-friendly and are providing the mechanisms for that so they will not only restore business confidence, but will accelerate development and growth, he said.
A SEC OFFICE
Leonardia said a bill he filed, which has already become a law, is the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “It will just be a matter of time when we will have our own SEC office in Bacolod since this has already been signed into law by the President,” he said.
He has also proposed the creation of the Metro Bacolod Development Authority that will mean that Murcia town, and Bago, Talisay, and Silay cities will join Bacolod so they can integrate their development plans, Leonardia said.
This could be the machinery needed to accelerate growth and development, Leonardia said, adding that the good news is that Gasataya had committed to re-file this bill in the House of Representatives.
“We know there is such a thing as Asean integration, and it is about time that we look beyond our horizons. We will invite the Department of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies to understand more clearly how the Asean will impact upon us,” he said.
Leonardia also reminded the people that in 2010, Bacolod ranked number 2 among the most competitive cities in the Philippines according to the Asian Institute of Management, and ranked number one in terms of government responsiveness and efficiency.
But today, according to the National Competitiveness Council, Bacolod has dropped to number 73 from number 2. And in terms of government efficiency, Bacolod dropped to 46 from number one. That is why, all their plans, programs, and visions for the city are all meant to put Bacolod City back on track, he said.
Leonardia said they also want to employ as many as 300 traffic enforcers but there are no funds left, because the past administration made heavy withdrawals before the elections, and up to their last day in office.
He said they also want to see to it that the Bacolod City College, which is his pet project, will be geared toward the production of manpower for call centers. In 2013, Bacolod had 18,000 call center employees, he said.
“We will also concentrate on strategic training program so that the quality of our employees will continue to improve and we will see to it we serve our people with the kind of service they truly deserve,” Leonardia said.
Even if they have the new machinery, it will be difficult to implement all their dreams and programs if there is no unity among the city officials, he also said.
MESSAGE FROM THE PEOPLE
“I'm sure our people are sick and tired of the political bickering that was so apparent in the past. On my side note, I did not start it but only defended myself. So let's forget about that,” he added.
“The result of the 2016 elections was a message from our people. And they are telling us that we must work together,” Leonardia said.
He said Gasataya and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran have committed to that so they could make Bacolod more progressive.
Together with Gasataya, Familiaran and the rest of the councilors, they will see to it that harmony will produce productivity, and that as city officials they will work with each other, Leonardia said.
“With the support of the people, I am sure that, together, we can put Bacolod back on track,” he added.*CGS
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