While the rival political camp is flaunting and promising free housing in the future, Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran led the distribution of certificates of lot awards to 51 Bacolodnons at the Progreso Village in Barangay Vista Alegre over the weekend.
Progreso Village is an 89-hectare relocation site acquired by the Bacolod City government.
Bacolod Housing Authority head Ma. Victoria Parreñas said the beneficiaries are informal settlers of the city, adding that each recipient-family received a 64-square-meter lot.
Leonardia told the new lot owners to protect the property given them. “Do not give this away,” he said.
“The paper you received is not just any letter. It is a symbol that you will have your own land. This is yours,” the mayor added.
Leonardia said that when his administration started the relocation site, he and other city officials even faced administrative cases despite their initiative to help the less fortunate.
But they persisted and eventually all the cases related to the project were dismissed, he pointed out.
‘We did our best so that the Progreso Village will materialize because many city dwellers do not have residential lots of their own. Now you have a lot to transfer to. I dream that what we have here will be as good as any other subdivision,” the mayor continued.
Bacolod City’s Progreso Village, Parreñas explained, is one of the biggest relocation sites in the country today.
It was established by the Leonardia administration in 1996 to give informal settlers a home to call their own. “It will also give them a sense of dignity,” he added.
The village was designed for about 6,500 households. It has basic facilities that include primary and secondary schools.
In 2019, Leonardia led the ground-breaking ceremony for a three-storey classroom building for the Progreso Village National High School, which stands on a lot next to Vista Alegre-Granada Relocation Elementary School.
Leonardia said that as a major step to further develop the Progreso Village beginning 2019, the city has allocated P350 million for the development of roads, bridges, streetlights, drainage system, and other facilities.
The Progreso Village is one of the four flagship projects of the Leonardia administration two years ago.
Leonardia said: “What is important is that we can improve this place. Other people who were offered this did not hesitate to transfer, because they know they will have a better situation in this place.”
“We want you to see the convenience of this place since it now belongs to you. We do this all for you that’s why we even have an elementary school, a secondary school, and in the near future an extension campus of the Bacolod City College,” he added.
Familiaran told the beneficiaries they are lucky because had they opted to move to a low- cost subdivision, they will have narrower roads unlike at the Progreso Village, where the thoroughfares are wider.
Had there been no COVID, Familiaran said, “we would have already used our funds for building the extension of the Bacolod City College here.”
Fifty-six-year-old Jimmy Mationg, a Progreso Village beneficiary, thanked Mayor Leonardia and other city executives for making his family’s dream a reality.
“We can now sleep well, and settle down with our lives comfortably as the lot is now ours,” Mationg said.
Councilor Renecito Novero, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Urban Poor Housing and Resettlement, said, “Rain or shine, your Bacolod officials are here for you.”
“Let’s continue and extend the good leadership of Mayor Bing Leonardia. Our program will not be possible without the support of the Sangguniang Panlungsod led by Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, the city officials, BHA, and members of Grupo Progreso.”
Leonardia added: “We pursued this because we know Bacolodnons need this. Since this was conceptualized in 1996, I pursued this because I wanted to see that years from now, this will become a model village in Bacolod.”
Joining the distribution ceremony were Councilors Renecito Novero, Carl Lopez, Archie Baribar, Israel Salanga, Dindo Ramos, Barangay Vista Alegre Captain Jose Ma. Leandro Norberto de Leon, Barangay 14 Captain Karl John Magno, Barangay 18 Captain Madeline Diaz, and Grupo Progreso members Jonathan Diaz and Ed Guillem.*