BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
The incoming administration has to deal with certain procedures and legalities if it plans to repurpose the funds intended for the construction of the MassKara Coliseum and Bacolod City Museum in the city, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said.
Mayor-elect Alfredo “Albee” Benitez had earlier bared plans to repurpose the funds for the construction of the structure into a “cheaper and simpler” convention center or trade center. The move, he said would allow the local government to realign the budget for redesigning and rebuilding of the city’s public markets.
Leonardia said the coliseum/museum project will become a big tourism and sports magnet for Bacolod.
If that project, which they have started is pursued, it should be the biggest in Western Visayas. He also cited Bacolod’s accessibility within the region and even to Negros Oriental, adding that it is an advantage if Bacolod has the biggest coliseum in the region, the mayor said.
We are looking for that time when the bridge between Negros and Panay will eventually be there. Can you imagine the ease and attraction of Bacolod City? He asked.
Leonardia recalled that when the city had to host big conventions before, they had to divide it into three or four different venues.
Another reason why they have constructed the coliseum/museum is because they wanted to balance the growth of Bacolod as development came first in the northern part and now its high time to go south.
“What we see today is the same thing that we expect to happen in the Bacolod City Government Center (or NGC) area. Before the NGC, the eastern side of Bacolod was barren. But look what happened after the NGC was constructed,” he stressed.
“So, I can see the future that if the coliseum and museum are in the south, bigger developments will follow. So, our growth will be dispersed,” the mayor said.
“With the big-ticket players here, we also need a big facility to cope up and balance the growth of Bacolod. So, it’s up to them if that is what they want but of course they have to grapple with certain procedures and legalities. It’s the people who will judge us. And mind you, and ironically, among the people who egged me to pursue this coliseum/museum were the same ones who are already on the other side. Now, they are singing a different tune. But never mind who they are. It doesn’t matter, Leonardia added.*