BACOLOD CITY – The “golden decade” of infrastructure here starts this year.
To Mayor Evelio Leonardia, it begins with the implementation of two mammoth projects in terms of cost – the Masskara museum and the coliseum – to be funded by a P2 billion loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines.
Leonardia said this is the first time ever the city is going to have infrastructure projects worth more than P2 billion.
The twin projects had been under intense scrutiny by critics of Leonardia, among them former solon Monico Puentevella and former councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, running mates in the 2019 polls.
Both had pointed out the need for more relevant infrastructure projects like a city hospital.
Batapa ran and lost to Leonardia in the last polls while Puentevella, Leonardia’s former ally, is now widely considered as Leonardia’s toughest critic.
He lost as an incumbent mayor to a comebacking Leonardia in the 2016 polls.
Puentevella had expressed his opposition to Leonardia’s plan to loan P1.8 billion, saying the city should pay up its existing loans amounting to almost P690 million that would be paid up in 2022 yet.
These loans were for the construction of the New Government Center in 2007 and the buying of a landfill and a relocation site in 2009, all under Leonardia’s first three full terms as mayor.
Aside from the two projects, the first two-kilometer phase of the P4.8 billion Bacolod Economic Highway funded by the national government had already started in early 2018.
The first phase spans two kilometers that will run through several Bacolod villages and is part of the highway’s entire 21-kilometer stretch.