BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Evelio Leonardia awarded the first-ever Bacolod Halandumon Award to the heirs of Don Fernando and Doña Angela Gonzaga, who donated the property occupied by the Bacolod City Government Center that marked its 10th year on Wednesday.
Leonardia, who led the celebration dubbed “10 years of Fame and Glory” held at the Government Center’s MassKara Hall, said the structure has become “iconic” and has changed the face of Bacolod.
“I believe this generation and the future generations should take good care of it,” he added.
The construction of the PHP394-million three-story building on the five-hectare lot began in 2006, and was completed on Aug. 8, 2008. It is situated in the eastern side of the city along the Circumferential Road in Barangay Villamonte.
In his message, Leonardia looked back at the three reasons why he decided to embark on the construction of the edifice when he became mayor for the second time in 2004.
“We wanted to serve the general public, we wanted a workplace conducive for our government workers, and we believe this will inspire investors’ confidence (in Bacolod),” he said.
Leonardia added that the city government has more than achieved the first purpose.
“We have served thousands upon thousands of people here. When we talk about the convenience brought by the Government Center, may I remind the department heads and employees, I cannot imagine anymore our situation if (we) remained at the old City Hall,” he added.
The mayor said he was touched by the view of the park he sees from the balcony of the third floor, where the Mayor’s Office is located.
“The greatest joy I get is when I see families enjoying (themselves) in that park. Simple joys of life, you can see it in their faces,” he said. “Based on that, the Government Center has achieved something because it has given happiness to our people.”
Leonardia added it was around the time the Government Center was built that the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry recognized Bacolod as the “Most Business-Friendly City” in the Philippines.
“We believe that because of the Government Center, the growth of Bacolod City accelerated,” he added.
Ma. Regina Tanpinco Piccio, who gave a response on behalf of the Gonzaga family, congratulated Leonardia for his efforts in making the Bacolod City Government Center a reality, and shared their family’s commitment to help in the development of the city.
“People ask why we donated this chunk of prime land when we can easily sell it for hundreds of millions. True, it’s very true. This is because we are from Bacolod, we believe in Bacolod, and we want to do our share in making Bacolod grow. This is our city,” Piccio said. (PNA)