From waiting shed, deaf-mute group moved to tourism office

The controversial waiting shed at the Bacolod City public plaza. (Dolly Yasa)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY—Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez announced that the Deaf Mute Community of Bacolod/Bacolod Integrated Deaf Association, who were supposed to occupy the waiting shed at the public plaza, will be given space at the Bacolod City Tourism Showroom Office.

He told reporters Friday night at the opening of the Chicken Inasal Festival that the group’s intended use of the waiting shed was a result of a “misunderstanding.”

He did not elaborate.

The waiting shed, located at one corner of the city public plaza in the downtown area fronting the Negros Press Club building, became viral and controversial after photos of the newly built structures, which looked like a “tiangge” or sari-sari store, were uploaded on social media.

It generated varied reactions, with the deaf-mute community defending the city government’s gesture of giving them a space at the public plaza.

Others commented that it is an eyesore and does not reflect well on the image of the city.

Bacolod City Public Information Officer Carmela Arcolas-Gamboa said the waiting shed will be utilized as the BIFA Deaf-Mute Kiosk.

“This will be the Deaf Kiosk as requested by the PWD Federation. The city is providing them with a place for meetings and small gatherings. The plaza is their common area where they meet and connect with their fellow deaf individuals,” said Arcolas in a comment to the post.

“It’s all a misunderstanding,” Benitez stressed.

Benitez, through City Legal Officer Atty. Carlos Ting, has ordered the removal of the structures built on the waiting shed.

He justified that the public plaza is under the National Heritage Sites, and unauthorized modifications are not allowed.

Any structures built will be removed, returning the waiting shed to its previous state.

He said the group would be reimbursed for their expenses.

Benitez added that the group will be given space at the City Tourism Showroom, which is just across from the controversial waiting shed.

“They will be given a space at the Tourism Showroom for their meetings and livelihood activities,” he added.

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