BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The anticipated battle royale between sitting Mayor Evelio Leonardia and former Third District Cong Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez kicks off in this highly-urbanized provincial center of more than half a million people with opening salvos featuring musical bands and the baring of governance platforms.
Grupo Progreso, the ruling local party, kicked off yesterday, 25 March 2022, with its candidates hearing Mass at the Sacred Heart Church before going on a caravan that jammed traffic in city streets en route to the Pope John Paul II Tower at the Reclamation Area where it held a mini rally.
A news release from the GP media team said the caravan stretched for seven kilometers as it gave a count of the number of vehicles that took part in it: “more 600 vehicles, over 500 riders, on top of hundreds of PUJs, trikes, e-bikes, and trucks.”
Some netizens complained on social media as traffic was snarled in some areas of the city for hours.
“7km ky nag traffic kmo xa dalan da pila gd ka line nga dalan ang gn sakop nyu hahahaha,” Facebook user Mark Chris commented while Rene Doctora said “Ilang milyon ang nawala sa negosyo dahil lang sa 4na oras na traffic, bacolod 7years huli na sa iloilo.”
GP also unveiled what it called as its three-pronged program that is anchored on health and social services, economy and infrastructure and a Smart City framework for the local government.
GP’s vision, Leonardia said, is “for Bacolod City to further develop into a more livable, vibrant and resilient city where business and industry shall flourish in a climate of peace and fair competition, inclusive, innovative, and sustainable, where government serves all its people responsibly and compassionately,” a news release from the Bacolod City Public Information Office said.
“We will empower our government units with the ability to deliver quality services, and for the people of Bacolod to be active participants in all our development programs and projects,” the GP mission states.
The news release praised Leonardia, saying “To his credit, Bacolod’s economy soared with the entry of major real estate projects, including those of Ayala Land, Inc., Megaworld, Rockwell, Cebu Landmasters, SM Development Corp., among others, on top of more than 20 other property developers that opened thousands of jobs to the locals.”
Leonardia will join a march of candidates and supporters to the Bacolod City Public Plaza this afternoon where a pre-rally performance featuring local bands will be held.
Meanwhile, the challenging Team Asenso party will hold its opening salvo at the paglaum Sports Complex where big Manila bands Bamboo and Silent Sanctuary are expected to perform.
“Asenso Bacolod invites Bacolodnons to its kick-off rally, tion sang pag bag-o – celebration of unity and commitment to change and a better Bacolod,” Asenso’s publicist said.