Gil Alfredo B. Severino
Mayor Monico Puentevella, in a press conference last Friday, announced two major road projects he initiated while still a member of the House of Representatives calling them "the start of the Metro Bacolod Development Authority".
Discussions of the Metro Bacolod Development Authority, he said, started way back eight years ago when he was a Congressman and with him he recalled were former Silay Mayor Carlo Gamban, former Mur-cia Mayor Sonny Coscol-luela, Bago City Mayor Ramon Torres, Talisay City Mayor Eric Saratan and lately, the incumbent Silay City Mayor Jose "Oti" Montelibano.
Eight years ago, these Government Leaders already saw the importance of banding their respective jurisdictions together and transforming them into a "Metropolitan Network", Puentevella explained.
Mayor Monico Puentevella announces completion of the 10-kilometer access road leading to the Bacolod-Silay airport and the "Sugar Road" which is the advent of the Metro Bacolod Development Authority.*(Gil Severino photo)
Mayor Monico Puente-vella last July 31, 2013 congratulated Bacolod City as one of the country’s top four "Most Competitive" cities in 2012 chosen by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) but cautioned, "This is a wake-up call for us to double time."
While upbeat on the NCC choice that Bacolod City is ranked the best according to "economic dynamism, government efficiency and infrastruc-ture", Puentevella reitera-ted his reservation yet high motivation, "we have to double time, the results of the study conducted by NCC shows that we still lag behind other cities like Iloilo City."
The presentation of arrested hold upper Raji Guanzon yesterday by the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) OIC Senior Super-intendent Edgardo Ordaniel to Mayor Monico Puentevella signaled the serious-ness of the present administration to make Bacolod City as an investment center.
Guanzon recently held up a seaman’s wife by forcibly taking a ride to extort money from the latter and eventually ending in a motel while taking the vehicle somewhere in Villa Georgina Homes stealing some of its accessories.
Arrested hold-up suspect Raji Guanzon of Purok Adela, Barangay Mansilingan after presentation of BCPO Acting Director Edgardo Ordaniel to Mayor Monico Puentevella.* (Gil Severino photo)
Bacolod Executive Assistant Sarah Esguerra yesterday welcomed with high optimism after reading the national news picked up by Negros Daily Bulletin (NDB) which reported the criminal charges officials filed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales against two former ranking officials of the Office of the Ombudsman for tampering official documents that delayed action to at least 56 cases, including those filed in Bacolod City.
Criminally charged according to NDB source was former Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Mark Jalandoni who dismissed four Bacolod major cases filed with the Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas in Cebu City.
There was no bolo and pistol popularly associated with the Katipunan Supremo Andres Bonifacio when a team from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) gathered more than a hundred young school children at SM City Bacolod last July 25, 2013.
NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy who headed the team explained that the gathering is part of a year-long commemoration of the life, works, and achievements of Andres Bonifacio culminating in the sesquicentennial of his birth on November 30, 2013. The occasion is popularly tagged "Bonifacio @ 150".
SM City Bacolod, on the other hand, did not limit the accommodation of the teeming more than a hundred learners gathered around the center area of its North Wing. The sight of young children wearing the Katipunan symbolic scarf and occupying the SM North Wing Central area rekindled what Executive Director Badoy described as "idealism, principles and bravery" which must never be relegated to social amnesia.
Financial statements submitted very recently by Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Ceneco) to the City Mayor’s Office stated that the Bacolod City Government’s unpaid bills amounted to P203,716,031.52 reported "as of July 18, 2013".
The P203M debt to Ceneco which reads in "Balances of City Government Account" reported mid-July is subdivided into P31,635,047.66 Current Billings (2011 to June 2013); P4,911,895.88 Billing covered with Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in 2008; and P167,169,085.98 Back Accounts (2002-2007).
Among the health related concerns which Puentevella identified are funds for the prevention and curative program of Dengue, payment to the Corazon L. Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) and his flagship project "Monico Kabuhi Ko" (MKK).
The City of Bacolod owes P12 Million to CLMMRH but Puentevella earlier disclosed that he had arranged with CLMMRH Chief of Hospital Dr. Julius Drilon that half the amount of six million pesos will be paid initially.
Likewise, Bacolod City Public Information Office (PIO) announced early this week that Puentevella’s flagship program, the Monico Kabuhi Ko (MKK) health program has been officially reinstated to once again serve the City.
Mayor Monico Puentevella, in a consultative meeting with private citizens and City Officials yesterday, successively called the P74 Million Bacolod Sanitary Land Fill at Purok Akasya, Barangay Felisa as sheer "buho" (P74 Million hole), considering its high cost of construction yet useless to date.
"Kag puerte ka mahal nga buho (a very expensive hole)," according to City Administrator Rolando Villamor taking into account the cost of land acquisition of P23.8 Million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in the amount of P33.8 Million and a P17.5 Million reportedly for the repair and maintenance of the original adjacent dumpsite.
City Administrator Rolando Villamor, Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella, financial consultant Chuck Garcia and legal counsel Sarah Villamor during the meeting on the current situation of the Brgy. Felisa open dump site and sanitary landfill. Among those present are BACIWA General Manager Atty. Juliana Carbon, former Brgy. Felisa Kagawad Ma. Fe P. Trespuentes, NDB’s Alan Gensoli and Jean Trebol of the Bacolod Anti-Baha Alliance, Metrowaste Solid Waste Management Operations Manager Manuel Baal and representatives from the Lopez family, Environment and National Resources Office and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.*
Bacolod City Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr., in a series of radio appearances, called the dismal state of the city financial soundness as "paperless and mythical" unless and until City Budget Officer Victor Treyes, City Accountant Eduardo Ravena and City Treasurer Annabelle Badajos submit to the Mayor and the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) pertinent papers demanded by the Local Government Code.
The Local Government Code requires the Budget Officer and Accountant to prepare, submit and appraise the City Mayor and SP periodic financial and budgetary statements which until now, Gamboa said, had not been complied counting the days of the failed "transition teams" since June 2013 until to date.
Mayor Monico Puente-vella, in a press conference last Tuesday, July 9, was rather astonished by the daily revelations of the "utang" (debts) that he reads in his office than an updated available funds, the docu-ments of which are presently being collated and balanced by the three City finance departments, all efforts which he described as "Egg Hunting".
Debts instead of "money hidden and found" men-tioned by the Mayor are the P168 million past due bills and P27 million 2013 arrears from the Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Ceneco), P78 million from Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa), P12 million from the Corazon L. Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH), P1.4 billion from government banks contracted for the construction of the Bacolod Government Center, purchase of relocation sites, dumpsites, among others.
"Egg Hunting" and the presence of a finance orchestrator is how Mayor Monico Puentevella described the state of the City’s finances during last July 9, 2013 press conference.*(Gil Severino photo)
Puentevella’s allusion of the "Egg Hunting" is a game using decorated hard boiled or artificial eggs of various sizes and hidden in secret spots for children to find; and this "Egg Hunting" is how Puentevella described the actions of the City Government which has to wrestle with available documents in the three City finance departments and ceaselessly looking for "Hidden Eggs" or "Hidden Treasures" yet to be found.