SENATOR Juan Miguel Zubiri said he will fund the construction of a three- to four-storey building as a site for the Bacolod Museum in 2019 that is worth P150 million.
Zubiri made the announcement during the switch-on ceremony for the P10-million beautification project of the public plaza on March 17 that was led by Bacolod City Representative Greg Gasataya and Mayor Evelio Leonardia.
Zubiri said he will get the fund from his 2019 budget. He added he will make sure of the single release of the fund.
He also said he will provide for the additional funding if needed for the total completion of the flagship project, which he considers a lasting legacy for Bacolod City.
Zubiri, who has roots in Negros Occidental, said he will give three designs for the city officials to choose from and that the mayor will have to decide where to locate it.
"We will put up a multi-storey, three or four-floor iconic building for Bacolod Museum for Arts and Culture where the first two floors will house the museum," he said, adding the edifice should also showcase the MassKara Festival traditional garments and masks.
“The top floor will be an amphitheater for other cultural events such as concerts or whatever future needs of the city. It's up to the city officials to decide what the name of the building will be,” Zubiri said.
The senator said he loves Bacolod City and Negros Occidental because this is the place where his family hailed.
He recalled he used to spend his vacation at the house of his grandparents here when he was a young boy.
He said he discussed the proposed project with Leonardia when they recently met in Iloilo.
Zubiri said the groundbreaking ceremony would take place before the banning of the projects in lieu of the May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
City officials allied with Leonardia earlier revealed plans of building a sports and cultural center or coliseum, preferably on the city’s eight-hectare property at the Reclamation Area.
While they already have a prospect on where to build the museum, the City Government is also open to any other areas where a landowner is willing to donate his property to the city.
Leonardia said that once the project is realized, Bacolod City will be the only city in the whole country to have this.
Initially, he said the city has already made an ocular for possible sites and that they need to have it detailed.
"We'll have to finish all the plans so when the funds are released, we would immediately start the construction," Leonardia said.
"Words are hard to find for our appreciation. This is a dream come true, beyond of what is expected and we're proud that he is from her," Leonardia told Zubiri.
The senator said the local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental, like his hometown Bukidnon in Mindanao, enjoy the multi-year funding from his office.
"Since 2016 until the end of my term, this multi-year funding will continue because I want to give back to my bailiwick. The LGUs are given P2 (million) to P3 million per year except for Kabankalan City, where I gave P10 million for the terminal of their airport," Zubiri said.
He said he also supports the expansion of the Bacolod-Silay Airport.
Zubiri also assured the Negrenses he will closely monitor the realization of the Negros-Panay Bridge after President Rodrigo Duterte made his commitment to the project.
Meanwhile, Zubiri said he was happy to see the improvement of the public plaza.
"I am happy to see how it was improved. It's cleaner than before. I hope this will make Bacolodnons happy," he said.
Gasataya, for his part, said the P10 million was utilized to rewire electrical wirings, change lightings, and paint the refurbished bandstand with the gold-spruced twin lions sitting flatly at the back, the four water fountains with gold-spruced statues, among others.