By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Residents of Purok Malipayon, Barangay 12 appealed to the local government here for an extension of six months before their houses are demolished to give way for the redevelopment of the Manokan Country.
The residents presented their position paper to Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez during a dialogue at the barangay hall last Thursday.
Aside from the extension, the residents also appealed for a relocation site with electricity and water connection, and financial assistance.
Initially, there were only 51 affected households, but based on the latest record, the number increased to 141, including sharers and renters.
In a media interview after the dialogue, Benitez said that he would allow the affected residents to choose whether to avail of a housing unit at the Yuhum Village or a space at the city’s relocation site.
“We give them options. Kung gusto nila lapit kung diin sila halin. Indi ni ya nga daw gina pilit ta kung diin sila ihaboy. Gaan gid sila preference,” Benitez said.
Benitez said the residents during the dialogue mostly chose to avail of a space at the relocation site because most of the residents are elderly and it would be difficult for them to stay in a condominium type of housing unit.
Benitez said that he will have to study first the appeal of the residents in terms of the extension, as he will also meet with SM Prime Holdings Inc. about the matter.
In his recent press briefing this week, the mayor assured that there will be no demolition next month. But, he said that by January 2024, the SM will start the development of the area. “Let’s see what we can do for them,” he said.
Last month, SM Prime Holdings Inc. and the city government signed a 40-year lease agreement for the redevelopment of the iconic Manokan Country.
Manokan Country, which was established in the 1990s, is a row of restaurants selling grilled foods, especially the famous Bacolod chicken inasal. It is situated at the city-owned property at the Reclamation Area right across SM City Bacolod.
SM Prime Holdings is committed to investing P4 billion in the implementation of the said project, which will create more jobs in the city.