BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Team Asenso is bringing change for a “Better Bacolod”, declared mayoralty aspirant Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, before a crowd of about 75,000, as estimated by Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz, that filled up the Paglaum Sports Complex in Bacolod City during its grand rally opening salvo Saturday night.
“I have no words. Wala ko may mahambal sa overwhelming niyo nga suporta sa akon kag Team Asenso Bacolod. Ginpuno nyo gid ang Paglaum Stadium (I have no words to say with you overwhelming support to me and Team, Asenso Bacolod. You filled up the Paglaum Stadium),” Benitez said in his opening speech.
The provincial government of Negros Occidental manages the sports facility located in Bacolod City, where presidential bet Leni Robredo and her Angat Tropa had an almost similar crowd during their grand rally early this month.
Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, Abang Lingkod Rep. Stephen Joseph Paduano and vice-mayoralty aspirant Caesar Distrito shared the assessment of Benitez that the crowd turnout was the biggest in recent years in the history of local politics in Bacolod City.
The theme of Team Asenso Bacolod grand rally was ‘Ti-on sang Pagbag-o’ (Time for Change).
With thousands in attendance at the Team Asenso rally, Benitez said Bacolod residents wanted change for the better. “It is very clear, and no doubts that the change is here,” he stressed.
Benitez, who vowed to improve the delivery of basic health services, secured housing, among other basic needs said “we will bring government closer to the people.”
“We will build a strong partnership between the City Government and the people of Bacolod, recognizing their value and power as partners of development,” he added.
ECONOMIC AGENDA: Recovery and expansion
Benitez said he will give priority in extending support to the small businessmen, vendors, PUV drivers and fisherfolks for them to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, to repair the Libertad, Burgos and Central Markets, which is not only the source of food, noting also its big potentials for food tourism, strengthening the partnership with the private sector, and to rebuild the local economy with a global perspective.
“We will establish new economic zone for new investments, construction and expansion of IT call centers, in partnership with Rep. Gasataya for his Special Economic Zone”, he added.
SOCIAL AGENDA: Pro-people masterplan for the future
Benitez also shared his vision for Bacolod City and the creation of a masterplan for the future, which is not only pro-business, but more importantly, pro-people.
He said he will strengthen the health system capacity, which will not focus to COVID-19 alone.
We will partner with private hospitals to provide services for the poor, he said, by providing them a health card, in order to have equal access to medical services, Benitez said.
He added that he will prioritize in the establishment of Bacolod City General Hospital, which is now a law, through the efforts of Rep. Gasataya.
Benitez said he will also push for the construction of low-cost on-site housing, smart classrooms in public schools, and to re-orient BCC (Bacolod City College) to become a center for digital revolution, use new technology to provide solutions to problems of flood and traffic.
We have to change our mindset in government. We should not compare Bacolod with other cities – because with visionary and proactive leadership, mapa bugal naton ang Bacolod, Benitez further said.
Our dream is not just to become a smart city. Our vision is to make Bacolod a super city. Our dream is to make Bacolod great again. We will make Bacolod a great place to live, work, play and learn, he added.
And it will not take me 18 years to make this happen. Just try me and I will show you what we can achieve together, Benitez added.
He pointed out that he needs the support Team Asenso Bacolod, as he pushed for 16-0.
In Team Asenso Bacolod, we leave no one behind, Benitez said, as he rallied Bacolonons to join him in taking the first steps towards a new direction for a “Better Bacolod”.*