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Albee inaugurated as 43rd mayor of Bacolod City

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The newly-elected officials of Bacolod City (l-r) Councilors Renecito Novero, Cindy Rojas, Jason Villarosa, Jude Thaddeus Sayson and Vladimer Gonzales; Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Stephen Joseph Paduano, Rep. Greg Gasataya, Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, Fr. Farley Santillan; Councilors Simple Distrito, Kalaw Puenetevella, Pao Sy, Celia Flor, Em Ang and Israel Salanga.*

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez vowed to give priority in restoring public trust to the New Government Center (NGC), saying he will not spare anybody in his campaign against allegations of graft and corruption.

Restoring public trust should be grounded in transparency, Benitez said in his inaugural address last night at the Bacolod City Government Center, which was attended by provincial government officials, led by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer.

It is only by being transparent, by being accountable that we can gain the trust of our people, he stressed.

Benitez is set to issue an executive order creating a Good Governance Committee to nominate the members of the Bacolod Truth Commission that will investigate allegations of graft and corruption in the City Government, to ensure that expenditures are prudent and efficient, and that public funds are utilized according to the government procurement rules and standards.

As I have said during the campaign, there will be no sacred cows. Let the chips fall where it may, Benitez, the 43rd mayor of Bacolod City, further stressed.

“Wala pulitika, wala personalan, trabaho lang gid,” Benitez, whose oath of office was administered by Granada barangay chairman Alfredo Talimodao Jr., said.

We will start with a clean slate. We will come – in the NGC fresh and new – with no baggage to weigh us down, he pointed out.

Benitez said he will also re-engineer government transaction systems and improve frontline services for efficiency to develop a closer relationship with the people.

We will accelerate the digital transformation of the city’s bureaucracy – and digitalize the permitting process, the former solon of 3rd district of Negros Occidental said, adding that he will start with the Office of the Building Official.

Benitez also said that they will harness the power of digital technology to enhance efficiency in city government transactions – and ensure impartiality and non-partisanship in the delivery of government services, stressing also that there will be no color coding in his administration.

He will also orient and train the City Hall front desk personnel to be courteous to their constituents, regardless of status in life.

“This way, we give due respect to our people. This way, we give them value that they deserve. This way, we raise their dignity. We will treat everyone equally with respect – since the people is our boss,” Benitez also said.

He also vowed to clean the city’s image by repairing “spaghetti wires” which is not just an eyesore, but are also a fire and accident hazard, and will also review the solid waste management system.

As he called the people of Bacolod to help the city in minimizing the volume of waste that needs to go to the landfill by segregating at source, Benitez proposed a trash-for-cash program to encourage segregation.

Benitez also revealed his plans to invest in the rehabilitation of barangay or even private roads, dubbed as “Asenso lanes” and open these to traffic to decongest major roads.

To further support small food businesses, we will invest in rehabilitating and rebranding our public markets, such as the Central, Burgos and Libertad Markets that should take center stage in our local commerce, he said.

The establishment of a Bacolod Comprehensive Health Program may soon be realized, as Benitez reiterated his pledge during the campaign to allocate the biggest portion of the city’s budget to health.

All the promises he made will be done in his first 100 days in office, Benitez said.

Bacolod City Rep. Greg Gasataya, Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Stephen Joseph Paduano, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and City Council members also took their oath office last night in at the NGC grounds in Bacolod City.*

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