By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – “I leave it up to them.”
This was the reaction of Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez when asked about the plan of the city on the P4.8-M Halandumon tower after some wires attached to a control panel worth P200,000 were stolen from the structure in October last year.
In a press briefing yesterday, Benitez directed the Public Information Office (PIO) to make a post on social media asking the public about their preference for the Halandumon tower.
“Tanan man nga gina himo ta is really designed to their preference. Kung ano gid gusto sang pumuluyo, amo na aton gina sunod,” the mayor said.
Benitez said that for this particular case, he could not decide, as he also does not know the sentiments of the people about it.
“On what to do with it, moving forward, I will be guided by their (people) decision,” he added.
Benitez said that he wanted to know if the people wanted to have the structure changed. “I don’t know kung gusto nila pangitaan bag-o na structure na iconic para dira, then so be it,” he added.
“What is the purpose of the structure to begin with?,” Benitez asked, saying that supposed to be an iconic structure should identify the city of Bacolod, just like how the public plaza and the City Hall represent the city.
City Engineer Loben Raphael Ceballos said that he is waiting for the decision of the mayor if the structure will be developed or repaired.
He said that they have covered the part of the structure where the stolen wires were placed in order to prevent a similar incident.
The city government under the leadership of former Mayor Evelio Leonardia inaugurated the Halandumon tower situated at the corner of Gonzaga-Gatuslao Streets here during the city’s first June 18 Charter Day celebration in 2019 to commemorate the success of living in the city over the past 80 years.
The City Engineer’s Office at that time reported that P1.7 million went to concrete works, more than P800,000 to steelworks, and almost P1 million to electrical and lighting works. The remaining amount was used for the construction, clearing, and painting of the tower.
It used to be a clock tower which was already dilapidated, so the city opted to make a new landmark. It gained positive and negative reactions online, claiming it was too expensive and not relevant.
But at that time, the previous administration maintained that it was not overpriced and it symbolized the unity of all sectors in the city to ensure success in eight decades.