Ask Greg Gasataya if he planned to get where he is now, a representative of the lone congressional district and he would say without batting an eyelash: “Some would say I did but actually I did not.”
“Wherever I am now is because of a purpose, I am here for something. I may not really know it but there is a purpose,” Gasataya said in an interview with fellow former broadcaster Julius Mariveles who heads Bacolod-based online platform DNX News 10 days before the 2022 polls.
The son of a churchworker and a driver-father, the two-termer Gasataya has gone a step ahead of his original vision: a college graduate for every household in Bacolod City which has an estimated 600,000 population.
Cong. Greg started his congressional run in 2016 with the acronym 3G, which represented his initials for Greg Gelvosa Gasataya…
As he guns for a third term, this has transformed to an acronym for what he has achieved in the last six years – college graduates and good governance – and what he plans to add in the next three years if he wins – inclusive economic growth with the building of a New Bacolod.
Cong. Greg has made good on his campaign platform over the years starting with his pledge to have a college graduate for every household.
His office had facilitated in only six years assistance from the Commission on Higher Education for at least thousands of resident college students of the city enrolled in State colleges and universities in Bacolod, Bago and Talisay.
In his education legislation stream, Cong. Greg has successfully steered House Bill 8732 into becoming a law that provided for the conversion of the government’s Carlos Hilado Memorial State College into a university.
CHMSC formally became a university only last week.
Cong. Greg has also filed other bills under this stream including:
- House Bill 568 that provides for the granting of scholarships to persons with disabilities and their children
- House Bill 571 that seeks the putting up of an office of the Professional Regulation Commission in Bacolod City
- House Bill 573 that seeks to strengthen mental health services in State colleges and universities
Cong. Greg has taken his initial advocacy further by preparing the economic landscape to absorb graduates who will form part of the labor force.
He is in fact carving out a New Bacolod starting with the East Belt Growth Area along the spine of the 49-kilometer Bacolod Negros Occidental Economic Highway (BaNOcEH) that spans 26 kilometers on its Bacolod side. (READ also: BAG-O NGA BACOLOD: Cong. Greg, former broadcaster, dreams of a new city that will redraw map)
Cong. Greg has improved on the original concept of the highway that would link the city to its neighbors in the north – Talisay, Silay, and Victorias cities.
He has also suggested to the Department of Public Works and Highways the building of interior links connecting Alangilan village to Alegria in Murcia town, Granada in Bacolod to Concepcion in Talisay City, an interior economic road linking Mandalagan and Granada villages, and a bypass road connecting Alangilan village in the east to Vista Alegre, and another road from Cabug village linking it to Abuanan in Bago City.
It also covers a third or at least 230,000 of the city’s estimated 600,000 residents.
The nine villages through which the P4 billion highway will pass through span a total of at least 79 square kilometers or a third of Bacolod’s total land area of 161 square kilometers.
These villages – Sum-ag, Cabug, Felisa, Mansilingan, Vista Alegre, Estefania, Granada, Mandalagan, and Bata – cover a third or at least 232,000 of the city’s estimated 600,000 residents over 62 square kilometers or also a third of the city’s 162 square kilometers.
These road networks will also dovetail with Cong. Greg’s vision to set up a special economic zone and a Bacolod Ports Authority.
Whether he intended it or not, Cong. Greg has adopted orange as his new campaign color.
Theorists say this color, a blend of the colors of his old and new allied political groups, represents dynamic change and warmth.
“We have to prepare the city for the future generations, we owe it to them,” Cong. Greg vowed in 2016.
Six years later, he is doing exactly that by proposing a law that would set up the Bacolod Special Economic Zone Authority and a Bacolod Ports Authority, government bodies that would attract investors and spur economic growth.
As for good governance, Cong. Greg encourages transparency and has maximized government funds for infrastructure projects at the barangay levels.
The Orange Sunrise is already dawning on us and to Cong. Greg, dynamic change and inclusive growth can only be had if people unite in building a New Bacolod.
“Together, let’s build a new city,” he urged his fellow Bacolodnons.