BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The dream of Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee’ Benitez to transform Bacolod into a “Super City” – a global city with a diversified economy and skilled human resource, and model of innovation and good governance, has already started.
Benitez, who delivered his first 100-days report at the Bacolod City Government Center on October 8, reported that changes are now being felt by Bacolodons.
Hoping for a passing grade, Benitez said that the past three months have been a “vortex of action for us in Bacolod City, to deliver our ‘promise of change’, for the short and long term solutions to the problems of Bacolod City, which leverage new thinking and technology to enhance the efficiency, equity, transparency, transparency and sustainability of their actions.”
The mayor reported that good governance was his first order of business upon assumption of office, aiming to restore public trust in the city government by building a culture of transparency and discipline, as well as establishing direct communication lines with the people of Bacolod City.
Through the establishment of Good Governance committee, Benitez said it will ensure prudence and proper documentation of transactions in offices, especially the disbursement and liquidation of public funds.
Our search for the truth ensures that people’s money, will not be wasted and abused, he said, stressing also that they are now implementing a strict monitoring of procurement costs, based on reasonable prices to ensure the proper, efficient and judicious spending of government funds.
Benitez also stressed that his administration will no longer allow cash advances by the millions to employees with low salary grades.
Delivering his commitment to clean the image of Bacolod City, Benitez said that the Task Force on Spaghetti Wires removed 30.53 tons of unused and tangled telecommunication wires along the city major streets.
As to its long term solution on the problems, the mayor said they are preparing plans to place telco and electric wires underground.
Benitez also revealed his plans to construct four access roads to address traffic congestion problems, repair and rehabilitation of 56 identified drainage sites, have started to implement online system for City Hall departments, operational of citizen watch platform where Bacolodnons can register their complaints about water, electricity and garbage.
The city government also signed a memorandum of agreement with Ayala Malls to establish the Bacolod Express Service Office, a one stop shot concept for Bacolodnons to have easy and convenient access to basic government services.
It also installed state of the art CCTV system and solar-powered street lights for crime prevention and deterrence, and will modernize traffic lights soon.
Benitez also reported to started to fulfill his commitment of support to the Bacolod City Police Office, by providing them with six units of patrol cars and eight units of big motorbikes, as he assured BCPO under the leadership of PCol. Thomas Joseph Martir of assistance for gasoline, office equipment and office supplies.
He also noted an increase in market rentals after implementing a new system in the management of three city major markets, by recognizing and awarding lease contracts to its tenants, and address the non-payment of Manokan Country tenant rentals for almost two decades.
We are also finalizing the rehabilitation plan of our markets, with initial designs to make it not just center of commerce, but also food tourism hubs, Benitez said.
Dubbed as cornerstone for his campaign for change, he said they have launched the Bacolod Comprehensive Health Program (BacCHP), and signed a memorandum of agreement with two partner private hospitals – Metro Bacolod Hospital and Medical Center as well as South Bacolod General Hospital, and E-Konsulta project.
Benitez also said that they augment the City Health Office with seven doctors, to establish super health centers in five barangays and an ultra sound facility.
The mayor also said that the city government will provide social pension to 12,000 senior citizens of Bacolod City, as soon as its ordinance, sponsored by Bacolod City Councilor Celia Flor, is approved by the City Council.
Benitez also said that the long term solution on garbage is an “integrated waste recovery and recycling complex” in Brgy. Felisa, Bacolod City, in which several proponents have shown interest to invest. “Our approach is to maximize recycling of trash, to lessen residual waste and provide alternative sources of revenues,” with a goal to recycle 80 percent of garbage, he added.
The city government recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to build 10,000 housing units for informal settlers in Bacolod City. “This is now becoming a reality in Bacolod City”, Benitez declared.
Stressing that they are just getting started, the neophyte mayor said “I want to translate our aspirations and dreams into actual, concrete and realistic projects –something tangible and visible.”
The slogan “Albee The Change” does not refer to me, as game changer of Bacolod politics – but more importantly, it also speaks of the power of each and every one to become the change that they want to see in our city,” Benitez explained.*