Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said he is looking forward that the sister-city relationship between Bacolod and Iloilo cities will accelerate under the leadership of Iloilo Mayor Jose Espinosa lll.
Leonardia said this is one of the reasons why he attended this year's 50 th Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo during the weekend.
He thanked Espinosa and the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. led by its president and Board of Trustees chairman Ramon CuaLocsin, and the people of Iloilo for the successful staging of the Dinagyang Festival, he said.
Leonardia said “I am looking forward that, under the leadership of Espinosa, we can accelerate the sisterhood relationship between the two cities. I think we need each other and we can benefit from each other, so we should live together because after all, we are blood brothers.”
He said most of the people of Negros have roots in Iloilo.
“So the stage is ripe for both cities to accelerate so we should really strengthen our ties with Iloilo,” he added.
The cities of Bacolod and Iloilo had forged a sister city or twinning relationship to boost their best practices and economic growth during the 72 nd Charter Day anniversary of Bacolod in 2010.
Leonardia and former Iloilo mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog signed agreement for the twinning of the cities in the presence of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, former Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez Jr., Espinosa, when he was vice mayor, and the members of the Bacolod and Iloilo SangguniangPanlungsod, as witnesses.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said he has instructed City Administrator John Orola to go over the property at the old airport, which is partly owned by the government and business tycoon Lucio Tan, after seeing the present development of the old airport in Iloilo.
He said he had pointed out to one of Tan's sons, Michael, that the development of Bacolod is slanted towards the north.
“So I told him it's about time that the southern part of Bacolod should be given attention,” Leonardia said.
Michael Tan informed him that they are coming up with a master plan for it, he said.
Leonardia, however, said that,inspite of all the developments in Iloilo, Bacolod has a bigger budget, which means that the city is catching up.
“There is nothing here except that we have made Iloilo as some kind of a benchmark, so we will know our growth,” he added.*CGS
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