By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – “We will not allow any vendors to sell around the public plaza.”
This was stressed yesterday by Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez in a press briefing following an observation last year on the row of stalls selling dry goods like “Ukay-Ukay” (second-hand clothes) around the public plaza that is being considered as an “eyesore.”
Benitez said that this was discussed with the councilors during their legislative meeting in Baguio City last week.
Benitez said that he tasked Councilor Celia Flor, chairperson of the Committee on Markets of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) to find a solution where to put these vendors. “There will be an alternative location for vendors kung diin sila ibutang. We can put them somewhere near,” he added.
Benitez said they will look for ways so that vendors can continue selling without destroying the beauty of the plaza. The mayor said that they would like to preserve the plaza to still have the prestige and to make it visible to the public.
The SP previously passed a resolution approving a request from the Diocese of Bacolod allowing vendors to hold a trade fair along Rizal Street.
These vendors were only allowed to sell because it was a holiday season last month, and the portion covered was owned by the Church, under a usufruct agreement with the local government.
Benitez said that they will find ways to keep the support for the priests. “I understand they do this as fundraising activities for retired priests. Puwede ta mapangitaan another form of support para indi sila madula-an additional resources para sa ila,” he added.
Earlier, Benitez said that the city government requested P300 million in funding from the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) for the improvement of the facilities at the public plaza and the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC).
The proposed budget comprised P80 million for the installation of a water fountain at the plaza and P220 million for the renovation of the BCGC grounds.
Benitez earlier said that once the public plaza is improved, he is thinking of converting it into a destination like those that can be found in countries like Japan and Singapore.
“The concept is similar to teamLab (international art collective) which uses light and music to highlight the serenity and comfort of people visiting the place. If we do that in the plaza, then you can just imagine how people will appreciate it and go there,” he added.