BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – There are at least four historical places in this highly-urbanized capital in close to three centuries.
Greg Gasataya, representative of the lone district here wants to add a fifth: a new growth belt east of the city center that would provide areas for a special economic zone that would, in turn, spur growth and provide jobs for the local workforce.
The solon, who is seeking a third and final term, told DNX the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway (BANOCEH) will provide the backbone for this new growth area that will include feeder and bypass roads that are hoped to not only decongest traffic in the center but make travel to nearby towns and citites faster.
Gasataya said there would also be bypass roads connecting Alangilan to Alegria village 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 to Vista Alegre, and Cabug village road link all the way to Abuanan in Bago City.
The BaNOcEH has a total length of 49 kilometers and connects to the Bacolod Airport Access Road and passing the neighboring cities of Silay and Talisay up to Victorias City.
Gasataya also envisions the opening of the old Bacolod Airport in Singcang Airport village that he hopes will service flights for industries that are hoped to locate in the special economic zone.
The solon is the principal author of House Bill 5440 that provides for the Bacolod Special Economic Zone Authority.
He also envisions the establishment of additional ports at the old airport and a possible reclamation project if studies would show it to be feasible.
“This will provide growth to the southwestern part here,” Gasataya told DNX.
The almost P8 billion BaNOcEH project, started in 2017 and expected to be completed in 2024, is part of the Duterte government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
The Bacolod side of the highway, close to 27 kilometers, will cut across the villages on the southern and eastern sides – Sum-ag, Cabug, Felisa, Handumanan, Mansilingan, Estefania,
Mandalagan, and Bata.
Sum-ag, Cabug, and Felisa border Bacolod with the neighboring city of Bago to the south while Bata is the northernmost village before the neighboring city of Talisay.
The eight villages span a total of 62 square kilometers or a third of Bacolod’s total land area of 162 square kilometers.
It also covers a third or at least 230,000 of the city’s estimated 600,000 residents.
Gasataya said there would also be bypass roads 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 Vista Alegre in the east to Cabug in the south all the way to Abuanan in Bago City
“Roads are not just concrete pavements for cars, these are avenues for growth, development, and progress,” Gasataya said.