BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
When it rains, it pours for Bacolod City, that will soon have a museum/auditorium, worth P260-million, and a city hospital.
Aside from facilitating the funds for the construction of the museum/auditorium in Barangay Alijis, Senate majority floor leader Juan Miguel Zubiri also announced Saturday that he will push for a P300 million to P400 million budget for the hospital in the 2022 proposed appropriation.
Zubiri, who led the groundbreaking rites for the museum, lauded the Yanson family, particularly Leo Rey, family matriarch Olivia Yanson, and Ginnette and husband, Charles, for donating an 8.8-hectare property, which is about P880 million at P10,000 per square meter, where the edifice will be put up.
He described the donation as a “heroic act”.
“That is P880 million that they gave to Bacoleños,” Zubiri said. “Rich people may give one or two hectares. But 8.8 hectares, that is unheard off,” he stressed.
Because of the project, Zubiri said he expects that the value of properties in the area will increase, from P10,000 to P20,000 per square meter.
“So I think we have to give credit, where the credit is due,” he said.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the museum will cover five hectares of the donated property, excluding the road network.
He said they will name the 8.8-hectare property as the Ricardo Yanson Sr. Sports and Cultural Complex, in honor of the donor.
“I am so overwhelmed and excited that this is happening. To say that this is historic is, perhaps, an understatement, but definitely this is historic,” Leonardia said.
“I am thankful to our ‘guardian angel’ benefactor and provider, Senator Migz, who is making this possible,” the mayor added.
Leonardia said Zubiri, who partly grew up in Bacolod, wants the museum/auditorium to be “something iconic, something distinctive” that will reflect the unique taste and lifestyle of Bacolodnons.
“Bacolod deserves a museum – no doubt about it – because people here are sophisticated. A museum like this will show that Bacolodnons are really a special kind of people,” Leonardia added.
Leonardia also said that this project will enhance the economic recovery of the city because it will create demand for construction materials and create jobs for carpenters, welders, masons, painters, electricians, interior decorators, furniture makers, landscapers, gardeners, and many more.
Zubiri, for his part, said, “This is a dream come true for everybody. This is the start of a breakthrough to revitalize Bacolod City with leaders who are united.”
Leonardia said the construction of the museum/auditorium is one of the conditions in the contract of donation for the lot.
Rep. Greg Gasayata, for his part, thanked Zubiri for his leadership and assistance to Bacolod.
“This leader is a Bacolodnon and a Negrosanon. When we had a crisis in the sugar industry, he was there to help us. No ifs and buts, he is always there to help us whenever we have problems.”
Gasataya said that in September, he referred to Zubiri’s office a bill approved by the House of Representatives to establish the Bacolod City General Hospital (BCGH). He said Zubiri then committed to help in getting the bill approved into law and funded by the national government.
“His outlook is not just on the cultural aspect and infrastructure but more so in the need of people in terms of health,” Gasataya added.
Zubiri said the museum will have an amphitheater, auditorium with a seating capacity of 540, and conference areas, among others.
It aims to pay tribute to the artistry of Negrenses that produces world class talents in the field of visual arts, including Charlie Co, Nonie Alvarado, Dave Legaspi, Rafael Paderna, and Rodney Martinez.
The museum will also have a permanent display of MassKara costumes and photos of dance parade winners, since it started in the early 1980s.
The leaf-design museum is a two-storey green building with a floor area of 4,800 square meters, and Leonilo Ramon Lichauco of the Manila-based LG+V Architect/Planners has been tapped by Zubiri to design what he considers as a legacy project.
Leah Delfinado, director of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Region 6, said they already issued a notice to proceed for the contractor to start the project, with architectural and engineering designs to be completed in two to three months.
The construction is being targeted to start February or March next year, with 385 days to complete the project, Delfinado added.
As to the establishment of the Bacolod City Hospital, that was already approved by the House of Representatives and authored by Gasataya, Zubiri said he is more than willing to sponsor its passage within this week before the Senate adjourns for Christmas break.
Leonardia said that George Zulueta commissioned a study group from the University of St. La Salle to study the nitty-gritty of the proposed city hospital.
Other officials attending the groundbreaking ceremony were Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, councilors Cindy Rojas and Bartolome Orola, City Administrator Em Ang, former councilor Roberto Rojas, special consultant on tourism, trade, and investment John Orola, acting city engineer Aladino Agbones, engineer Loben Rafael Ceballos, City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan, acting city tourism officer Sandra Ruth Sycip, OIC city health officer Dr. Edwin Miraflor, Zulueta, Bacolod City Police Office director Col. Manuel Placido, and Bacolod Traffic Authority Office head, Col. Luisito Acebuche. Also present were architect Leonilo Ramon Lichauco of EM Cuerpo, Jojo Ang of IBC Construction, DPWH-Construction Division chief Engr. Elsie Sabay, DPWH-Bacolod assistant district engineer Leah Jamero, former board member Emilio Yulo III, Vallacar Transit executives, Barangay Alijis Captain Deogracias Dela Vega, kagawads Ebony Dela Vega, Bobby Ignalaga, Happy Calinao, Wilfredo Buyco, and Faustino Dutenio, and SK chair Reymar Berja.*GPB/PIO