Mayor Evelio Leonardia is hopeful that the city can adopt an urban masterplan for Bacolod in due time.
Leonardia disclosed in his regular press conference that he met with world-renowned urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox and his senior associates in Manila last week for exploratory talks on the project, a press release from his office said yesterday.
The mayor was accompanied by Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, who expressed his full support for the proposal. Also present were City Administrator John Orola and City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan.
“We explored further the possibility of drawing up an urban master plan and we were able to identify some benchmarks,” the mayor said.
But Leonardia said they have not closed any deal yet, given the yet-to-be-determined professional fee for the study of the urban masterplan.
“Besides, it might still go through a bidding process,” he said.
“May I emphasize that whatever may develop, we will strictly follow procedures, technicalities, and legalities. And while we know how valuable and how much it could be, we are not yet ready with our budget,” the mayor pointed out.
Leonardia said it was the Office of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that facilitated their meeting with Palafox.
Upon the request of Leonardia, it was Alvarez who first expressed his willingness to help find the sources of financing for the hiring of a master urban planner for Bacolod.
Leonardia said he is thankful to Alvarez for facilitating his connection with Palafox, thus reviving the dream of having a masterplan for the urban development of Bacolod.
“We will relay to Speaker Alvarez what transpired in the meeting with Jun Palafox. We hope that, step by step, we will go nearer to that dream. But at least you know there is that direction and that desire to come up with a masterplan for Bacolod,” the mayor added.
In a chance phone interview last month, Palafox had said, “I think Mayor Bing has a visionary leadership, he has strong political will, he has a good appreciation on good urban planning, and he seems to have a good appreciation of good design like architecture engineering, and good governance.”
Palafox said he sees “a very high development potential of Bacolod,” more so that the mayor has a vision for the city.
He said that in the next years, Bacolod could have an “urban renaissance” considering “the visionary leadership of Leonardia.”
Palafox cited Dubai, that after 15 years, had developed from a desert to a first-world country. Leonardia said Palafox is one of the “creators” of the Dubai masterplan. “Can you imagine if we can use his brains for Bacolod?” the mayor told the media.
When told that Bacolod will be celebrating its 80th anniversary next year, Palafox said the city should start thinking how Bacolod should be in the next 80 years.
“We could start re-thinking, re-imagining, re planning, re-engineering, re-architecture, remove, reduce, and recycle, re-develop and hopefully, we could have an urban renaissance,” Palafox said.*
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