Biz group upbeat for growth continuity in Bacolod, Negros Occidental

AS NEGRENSES elected new set of local officials, the business sector has expressed optimism that there will be a continuity of government programs and projects to accelerate growth and development in the province.

Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), said the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental headed by outgoing governor Alfredo MaraƱon Jr. has already started the efforts on bringing developments in the rural areas.

Carbon stressed the need for the land and sea sides to be productive in order to spur more wealth and employment generation opportunities in the province.

"We want the Provincial Government together with local government units (LGUs) to put their investments in the rural areas and encourage national government agencies to do the same for a balance growth in the province," he added.

The business chamber said newly-elected officials should also include it in their development plans and agenda.

They should focus the resources of the Provincial Government on the development of rural areas, it said.

Carbon pointed out that in the provincial level, officials have already recognized the development direction -- towards the rural areas -- started by the governor. "We want them to continue, improve and put more investments on it."

For Bacolod, meanwhile, which is a highly urbanized city, the business leader said the local government has already put in placed another major development plan ahead of the elections.

Carbon is referring to the administration's four priority projects to be funded by the P1.7 billion loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

These are the development of Progreso Village Relocation Site worth P350 million; Bacolod City College site development and facilities, P350 million; construction of roads and bridges, P200 million; and the development of Bacolod MassKara Coliseum worth P800 million.

MBCCI wants to see these and more programs pushing through, especially now that the incoming set of members of the City Council belongs to the majority.

In the partial and unofficial tally, administration's Grupo Progresso dominates the City Council with 11 of their candidates will occupy the council's 12 seats.

Carbon said the coliseum, if a big one, will encourage more people to come here through conventions and meetings.

The relocation project, he said, is also a need in the city as it needs to clean up the shorelines dwelled by informal settlers.

"They (informal settlers) throw toxic wastes that destroy our marine resources resulting in the reduction of fish catch," Carbon added.

Infrastructure, especially bridges and roads, on the other hand, are also important to boost connectivity. It will improve business movement.

"We are very upbeat that there will be continuity. It would be hard if what has been started will again be subjected to delays decelerating growth and development," the MBCCI official said.


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