Press Releases
Bacolod chosen again among PH model cities - 20- June 2018
Bacolod City was named for the second straight year as among the "most livable urban centers in the country."

During the Search for the Philippine Model Cities and Municipalities 2018 of The Manila Times, the "City of Smiles" was adjudged 1st runner-up, after Davao City.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who accepted the award at ceremonies at Conrad Hotel today [June 19], said that the award "was inspiring, considering that we were competing with other big and dynamic cities, including Davao City. If we come right after Davao, that is still something to crow about. Likewise, this ranking shows how consistent we are."

Aside from the major award, Bacolod was also cited as "Most Business-Friendly City," one of the categories of the contest.

Last year, Bacolod was the grand winner in the Top Philippine Model City 2017 Awards -the first edition of the said contest of The Manila Times, the oldest newspaper in the country at 120 years old.

Leonardia received the plaque from The Manila Times president and chief executive officer Dante "Klink" Ang and chief operating officer Blanca Mercado.

Also present were Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilor Bartolome Orola, City Administrator John Orola, City Tourism Officer Ma. Elma Gerasmo, City Development Council Vice Chairman George Zulueta, Permits and Licensing head Stela Rose Rayos, LIEP (Local Economic and Investment Promotions) Officer Jonah Javier, and private secretary Edwina Javier.


Leonardia, in an interview after the awarding ceremony, said he was ecstatic. "We are very, very pleased. This, for me, is a validation and proof of consistency. Last year, we were called as the ’Top Model City’ and this time we came very close to that after Davao."

The mayor said the first runner-up finish of Bacolod further validated what people say about and experience in Bacolod.

"What is even an added incentive and inspiration is that we were given a special title as the ’Most Business-Friendly City’ by the evaluating team of The Manila Times," the mayor said.

"Bacolod is really growing, and not just growing- in fact, it’s growing very rapidly. All the big players are here now and the developments are all over. Now it can be told that ’Bacolod is the next big thing," Leonardia said.

For his part, Familiaran said, "As the vice mayor, it is an honor for me and the entire Sangguniang Panlungsod for Bacolod to receive this award, and this is inspiration for us to do better than best next year."

Councilor Orola said he "cannot express his happiness" upon learning that Bacolod City made it again to the Top Philippine Model Cities’ list. As a first-time councilor, he is very proud to accompany the mayor in receiving the award.

This only shows the spirit of team work among city officials, he added.

City Administrator Orola said, "I’m very happy that Bacolod City made it again. As you all know, the mayor, as well as the vice mayor, our Sanggunian members, officers and all those in the bureaucracy contributed to all these efforts."

"But, of course, under the leadership of Mayor Leonardia, I can see the dynamism in his leadership, I can see that the progress that is going on in Bacolod City is a manifestation and indication that Bacolod indeed is on the right track. So as the mayor says, ’damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, let us move forward."

Meanwhile, Laoag City was declared second runner-up in the said search.

The chairman of the board of judges was Atty. Lea Roque, principal and head of Tax Advisory and Compliance of P & A Grant Thornton.*/CITY PIO
Mayor thanks Megaworld for Bacolod Welcome Park - 17- June 2018
Mayor Evelio Leonardia is thanking tycoon Andrew Tan and Megaworld Corp. for accepting his personal proposal to establish a Bacolod Welcome Park along the airport access road.

Leonardia is expecting that the proposed Bacolod Welcome Park, that will have its ground-breaking on Monday [June 18], will boost the tourism potentials of Bacolod City.

"We will be the only city in the country with a Welcome Park. That is definitely going to put us in the tourism map and should increase tourist traffic. Megaworld has proven to be a good partner for progress and development," the mayor said.

"We also recognize the vital role that our fellow Bacolodnon Harold Geronimo played in pursuing this, as he is in Megaworld’s top management," the mayor added.

Leonardia said this tourism attraction will be situated in a property of Megaworld Corp. at Northill Gateway (in front of Forbes Hill) along the Bacolod-Silay Airport Access Road (BSAAR).

Leonardia said it was his dream to construct a Las Vegas- inspired welcome park in Bacolod City, because tourism, among others, is projected to become the biggest industry in the world and our city should prepare for that eventuality.

Megaworld acknowledges that the park is a landmark project in partnership with the Bacolod City government.

Bacolod City and Megaworld officials will grace the historic event, slated at 3 p.m.

The schedule was intentionally set on June 18 as the city government is celebrating the 80th year of the signing of the charter of the City of Bacolod.

Leonardia said, "It is symbolic that we are telling the world that Bacolod is opening its doors to everybody."

Once completed, Megaworld will manage the welcome area, which will have fast-food chains, souvenir shops and comfort rooms.*/CITY PIO
Mayor thanks DFA for ’Passport on Wheels’ - 17- June 2018
Mayor Evelio Leonardia thanked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for partnering with the city government to bring its Passport on Wheels program to the Bacolod City Government Center.

The DFA will hold its Passport on Wheels program on June 18-19 at the MassKara Hall at the 3rd floor of Bacolod City Government Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p. m., with about 1,000 pre-screened applicants, or 500 applicants per day.

Leonardia said, "We thank the DFA for partnering with our city government in bringing the Passport on Wheels program to Bacolod."

"Bacolodnons have been experiencing difficulty getting an online appointment to apply for or renew their passports due to the backlog in the DFA online appointment process," the mayor said.

"The Passport on Wheels is a way of extending help to our constituents who need to travel abroad especially those who will do so for work or business. It is timely that we are celebrating our 80th charter anniversary that we are also offering this service, as we continue to endeavor to deliver better, efficient, fast service to our people," the mayor added.

Councilor Em Ang, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Tourism, said the Passport on Wheels is also part of the activities of the year-long commemoration of the 80th year of the signing of the charter of the City of Bacolod.

Ang stresed that DFA personnel will not entertain walk-in applicants, only those who have been pre-screened last week.

DFA Regional Consular Office Bacolod OIC Carolina Constantino said the Passport on Wheels, launched in January this year, is one of their programs to ease long lines and congestions in passport applications.

The Passport on Wheels will also assist those who cannot go online to schedule their applications, she added.*/CITY PIO
GSIS exec guest of honor at Independence Day in Bacolod - 09- June 2018
Jesus Clint Aranas, president and general manager of Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), will be the guest of honor and speaker at the 120th Independence Day celebration in Bacolod on June 12.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Aranas already accepted the invitation, and the organizing committee is pleased and honored.

"The president and general manager of GSIS is from Bacolod and we are very proud of that. GSIS is a vital component of our country’s sense of financial security and it is only when that economic stability is enjoyed by our government employees, and the citizenry in general, that we can truly say we have earned our independence. We find his involvement very meaningful," the mayor said.

The Independence Day celebration will start with a flag-raising ceremony at the Bacolod City Public Plaza at 6:30 a. m.

It will be followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Monument of Unknown Soldier, also at the Public Plaza.

A program will immediately follow at the Public Plaza stage, where Aranas will be guest of honor and speaker.

The Independence Day parade will follow starting 1:00 p.m., from the Sacred Heart Shrine (Lupit Church) to the Public Plaza.

Also expected in the celebration are Rep. Greg Gasataya, Leonardia, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, top city and national government officials, war veterans, civic leaders and private citizens.

Traditionally, the Dept Ed composes the bulk of the attendees and participants.*/CITY PIO
Duterte adviser to induct Bacolod brgy captains June 16 - 07- June 2018
A top adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte will be the inducting officer and guest speaker at the mass oath-taking ceremonies of the newly elected barangay captains and kagawads of Bacolod City on June 16 at 2:00 p.m. at the SMX Convention Center Bacolod.

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino has confirmed his attendance as inducting officer and guest speaker in the said affair.

Leonardia, Rep. Greg Gasataya and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran will deliver their respective messages, along with Ma. Joy Maredith Madayag, Bacolod director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

"The mass oath-taking of our barangay officials is a solemn and very significant occasion in local governance. That is why we are very pleased that no less than Malacanang’s Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino has accepted our invitation to be the inducting officer and guest speaker," Leonardia said.

"With his vast experience as mayor of Tagaytay City, national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, and chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority, that makes him a perfect choice as guest of honor for our barangay officials," the mayor added.

Leonardia said he is friends with Tolentino, whom he knew since 1995 when they were both mayors.

For his part, Gasataya said majority of elected officials belonging to the same party means a harmonious working relationship among them, and this results to more programs and projects being implemented.

The good working relation among the congressional office, the mayor’s office, and the Sangguniang Panlungsod has resulted to more programs and projects, that cascade down to barangay level and benefit our constituents, Gasataya added.*
Mayor distributes 276 fire extinguishers to 40 schools - 06- June 2018
Mayor Evelio Leonardia led the distribution of 276 fire extinguishers to 40 public elementary and secondary schools at rites at Bacolod City National High School Tuesday [June 5].

Leonardia was joined by DepEd- Bacolod schools division superintendent Cynthia Demavivas, Executive Assistant Moises Dela Cruz, and City Fire Marshal Chief Inspector Publio Ploteña.

Last January, Leonardia also distributed 218 fire extinguishers to 54 public elementary and secondary schools.

The mayor said the number of fire extinguishers given to each school varies as these were based on the size of the school, and upon the evaluation and recommendation of the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The distribution of fire extinguishers was one of the projects of the Local School Board, chaired by Leonardia, with Councilor Renecito Novero, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Education, as member.

"I cannot over-emphasized about the need for fire extinguishers because, sometimes it may look like ornamentals, but their value in case of fire is important," the mayor said.

We cannot predict when do we need these fire extinguishers, and so we want to give assurance to our students and teachers have something to help put out the fire, he added.

Leonardia said he is a strong advocate for education, as his first committee when he was a councilor was the Committee on Education.

"I assure you and I firmly believe that education should be given much priority in our local governance," he stressed.*/CITY PIO
Mayor inaugurates P163-M school buildings - 06- June 2018
Mayor Evelio Leonardia led the inauguration of six school buildings in two secondary schools in Bacolod, amounting to P163 million, at separate rites today [June 6].

At Domingo Lacson National High School, Leonardia inaugurated two 3-storey school buildings, with 15 classrooms each, and one 4-storey school building with 20 classrooms -or a total of 50 classrooms-amounting to P97 million.

At Sum-ag National High School, the mayor inaugurated two 4-storey school buildings, and one two-storey school building -with a total 46 classrooms-amounting to P66 million.

Leonardia started facilitating these projects when he was congressman, and continued by Rep. Greg Gasataya.

The mayor was joined at the turn-over and inauguration ceremonies by Mark Steven Mayo, who represented Gasataya, DepEd-Bacolod schools division superintendent Cynthia Demavivas, Executive Assistant Moises Dela Cruz, Barangay Banago Captain Ricky Mijares Jr., Domingo Lacson National High School principal Josefa Jopson, and Sum-ag National High School principal Warlito Rosareal.

These 96 classrooms will be used by Senior High School students under the K-12 program.

In his speech at Domingo Lacson NHS, Leonardia said the inauguration of 50 classrooms at one time was Vhistoric.V This is the first time in Bacolod that they inaugurated a school project amounting to P97 million, he added.

This is all because we believe in the value of education, he said.

"When I was a congressman, one of my priorities was to see to it that school facilities are developed and are improved. I started these projects when I was congressman, and I am very happy and very proud that Congressman Greg Gasataya implemented and finished this," Leonardia said.

"I told so many people already that I have seen the improvement in our educational system and even our young students, when I talk to them, they are full of confidence. So I would like to congratulate the teachers for upgrading the quality of education in Bacolod. This is what we need if we want the city to further grow. My dear teachers, our beloved students, to whoever much is given, much is also expected."

At Sum-ag NHS, Leonardia said, "This is the golden age of education."

The mayor emphasized that the lot area of Sum-ag NHS is bigger than that of the Bacolod City Government Center. "In other words, with this land area you have, you try to imagine how much more you can do here. Now it is in the hands of our DepEd and our parents for you should be part of the decision-making process here," he added.

Leonardia said he is a strong advocate for education, as his first committee when he was a councilor was the Committee on Education.*/CITY PIO
Mayor welcomes drainage master plan for Bacolod - 05- June 2018
Mayor Evelio Leonardia said it is "very good news" that the study for the comprehensive drainage system master plan for Bacolod City has already been bid out by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The mayor thanked Rep. Greg Gasataya for prioritizing this long process which started when Leonardia was still congressman. This is another case that proves that when the congressman and the mayor are working together, more programs and projects can be implemented, he added.

"The best part of this feasibility study is the integration of both the national and local drainage systems. The problem in the past was that, each agency was making plans without coordinating with each other," Leonardia emphasized.

The mayor also said that he salutes Gasataya for implementing projects which were conceptualized even before the congressman assumed office, such as the New Bacolod Economic Highway and the Araneta-Magsaysay Flyover.

"That is good governance in action," the mayor said.

Two consultants from Pertconsult International visited the mayor recently to discuss the consulting services for the conduct of the master plan and feasibility study of urban drainage and flood control in Bacolod City.

Engr. Agripino Diaz, deputy team leader and senior flood control and drainage engineer, and Engr. Jenyvee Diaz, environmental specialist, met with the mayor together with Secretary to the Mayor Atty. Edward Joseph Cuansing, City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan, City Planning and Development Office head Mary Jean Ramos, and acting Assistant City Engineer Amy Tentia to inform them of their 10-month study that is expected to be finished in March next year.

They also met with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Executive Assistant Jose Ma. Vargas, head of cluster on disaster management.

The two consultants had also separately met with Gasataya and DPWH- Bacolod District Engineer Abraham Villareal.

Villareal said the two consultants had conducted an ocular inspection in the city as a preliminary activity for the drainage master plan they are required to submit under their contract.

"Their study will take about 10 months to complete. But even if they have not finished their study, we could already use their findings to request for funds for implementation purposes," he said.

Villareal said their concern is that some of the drainages of the DPWH cannot pass through local roads. With the comprehensive masterplan, they can improve the drainage systems both in the national and local roads.

Villareal said the drainage master plan will greatly help in mitigating the flood problem in Bacolod.*/CITY PIO
Mayor inducts Bacolod SK Federation officials - 29- May 2018
Mayor Evelio Leonardia inducted the newly elected Bacolod Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation officials during the SK Federation Orientation and Elections at Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City Monday [May 28].

The newly elected Bacolod SK Federation officials, who ran unopposed, are: Ayesha Joy Villaflor (Brgy. 6)-president; Julia Marie Rile (Brgy. 2)-vice president; Fercy Lyn Almaiz (Brgy. Mansilingan)-secretary; Reymar Berja (Brgy. Alijis)-treasurer; Danna Michaela Perma (Brgy. Singcang-Airport)-auditor; Shaine Jezreel Solidum (Brgy. Villamonte)-PRO; and Jericho Malagsic (Brgy. Handumanan)-sergeant-at-arms.

Leonardia said he expects the present batch of SK officials to be more mature, active, participative, and even more vocal.

During the Mandatory Training for SK Officials held recently, Leonardiam who was the inducting officer, encouraged the young officials to disprove the wrong impression that SK has allegedly become a training ground for early corruption.

The mayor told the SK officials that they could erase or turn it around.

Leonardia also encouraged them to monitor the events in their respective barangays so they could become agents of change.

"We could be one of the very few countries in the whole world that has the SK as an institution. This is a big privilege and opportunity. They could be part of our transition process," he said.

Leonardia also said he would like to see more SK activities where they could join regular barangay officials. On the part of the city, he said he hopes they will be more involved in its affairs.


Villaflor is currently a third-year law student at the University of Negros Occidental- Recoletos (UNO-R).

She graduated magna cum laude with a degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with certificate in International Studies from the University of St. La Salle.

She graduated as Third Honorable Mention from Negros Occidental High School.

In college, she was former executive vice president of the Political Science Society, and Corps d’ Elite finalist as an outstanding student in the field of community involvement for peace and social development advocacy. She was also a semi-finalist in the ABS-CBN Newscasting Competition.

Villaflor was a former City Hall employee, and was production staff of the 2017 MassKara Festival, and event manager of the 1st Bacolod Chicken Inasal Festival held recently.

When asked for her message for her fellow youth, Villaflor said, "We need to uphold the welfare of our generation so we may be able to empower our future generation. My fellow young leaders of Bacolod, let us take this opportunity together with our minds and hearts to be the voice of the youth in the City of Bacolod." */CITY PIO
Bacolod Blockchain Initiative slated May 24 - 23- May 2018
Councilor Em Ang, who is also the Bacolod ICT focal officer, and City Administrator John Orola welcomed the Bacolod Blockchain Initiative (B2CI) team during their courtesy call at the Bacolod City Government Center today [May 23].

The B2CI team is composed of Randy Knutson, Jason Tuason and Gail Macapagal of Dynaquest, Daniel Adams and Chris Thompson of Ethereum, Hitesh Parekh, Angela Sunga, Miguel de la Rosa of Global Webforce and John Dave Duenas, CEO of local start-up HYbrain and president of the Bacolod - Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNeFIT).

BNeFIT, together with Singapore-based incubator Ethereum World, Manila-based firm DynaQuest Technology Services, and software development firm based in Bacolod HYBrain Development Corporation, will be staging the Bacolod Blockchain Initiative on May 24, 2018 from 9:00 a. m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Carlos Hilado Memorial State College-Talisay Campus.

Ang said the main aim of the event is to introduce blockchain technology which has been in mainstream media because of the popularity of one of its applications known as "cryptocurrency."

Blockchain is more than cryptocurrency, it is a technology which introduces a new wave of "Internet," secure sharing of data and effective integration of data amongst processes which is now being referred to as the software development technology of the future.

Facilitators during the workshop include Ethereum World CEO Daniel Adams, Ethereum Business Development Director Chris Thompson, and Dynaquest CEO Randy Knutson.

To date, only two countries have included blockchain technology in their academic curricula: the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates.

When Ethereum World, a blockchain integrator company based in Singapore, showed interest of introducing the technology in Bacolod, BNeFIT grabbed the opportunity to explore the possibility of being the first location in the Philippines, which has academic institutions incorporate blockchain in their elective courses.

B2CI is currently developing a number of programs to embed blockchain learning and certification to the existing education system in the country. It is also working on helping Bacolod to further its status as an investment destination for tech companies.

Randy Knutson, DynaQuest Technology Services CEO, says "blockchain technology will help the Philippine BPO industry migrate to next digital wave and create new jobs and preserve existing jobs that will be replaced by artificial intelligence-based call centers, making the Philippines one of the leaders in Blockchain Technology and Bacolod a destination location in that future."
Mayor inducts Bacolod SK officials - 22- May 2018
Mayor Evelio Leonardia inducted the first batch of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) winners during a mass oath-taking ceremony at the University of Negros Occidental -Recoletos (UNO-R) today [May 22].

Leonardia will again administer the oath of office of the second batch of SK officials at the same venue tomorrow [May 23].

The said SK officials are undergoing the Mandatory SK Training conducted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in partnership with the National Youth Commission, Local Youth Development Office, and UNO-R.

Today’s attendees were SK chairmen and SK councilmen (kagawad) from numbered barangays of Bacolod -Barangays 1 to 30.

Tomorrow’s [May 23] attendees will be SK chairmen and SK councilmen from Barangays 31 to 41, and from named barangays - Alangilan, Alijis, Banago, Bata, Cabug, Estefania, Felisa, Granada, Handumanan, Mandalagan, Mansilingan, Montevista, Pahanocoy, Punta Taytay, Singcang-Airport, Sum-ag, Taculing, Tangub, Villamonte and Vista Alegre.*/CITY PIO
Bacolod mayor welcomes Sotto’s election as Senate president - 22- May 2018
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia welcomed the election of Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III as the new Senate President.

Sotto was formally elected as Senate president Monday, taking over the leadership from Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.

"Sotto is apparently enjoying the trust and confidence of majority of the senators. With this development, we are positive that the Senate will be in good hands" Leonardia said in a statement today [May 22].

Pimentel, in his manifestation, said, "I do this nomination without any reservation because I know with my close association with him, he is deserving."

"The turnover of the Senate Presidency between two gentleman-politicians is a classic display of statesmanship which we hope other leaders will emulate," Leonardia added.

Leonardia said Sotto was their guest of honor and speaker during the Grupo Progreso opening salvo campaign when he ran for mayor in the May 2016 elections.

Sotto was also the godfather of Leonardia’s daughter Loren Kara who was baptized in 1991 when Sotto was vice mayor of Quezon City and president of the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines, while Leonardia was councilor of Bacolod.

Sotto’s election as Senate president came after 15 majority bloc senators last week agreed to move for the change of Senate leadership.

Sotto took his oath before Senator Gringo Honasan Monday afternoon.

In his speech, Sotto vowed to pass more laws for the benefit of Filipinos.

"I hereby pledge to continue in helping in the passage of laws that will be beneficial to the country and to every Filipino and to continue as well the diligence and dedication of Sen. Koko Pimentel who has been the principal author and sponsor of many landmark laws," the senator said.

Sotto also thanked his fellow senators for trusting him with the chamber’s leadership.*/CITY PIO
Life Guard Course training set - 21- May 2018
A Life Guard Course Training will be conducted to Pool/Resort Operators in Bacolod City on May 22-26, 2018 at VMA Global College Training Centers, Inc. Sitio Aning, Brgy. Pahanocoy Bacolod City.

The initiative was spearheaded by the Bacolod City Disaster Risk Reduction And Management Office in coordination with the Coast Guard Station-Bacolod City in order to assist Resort/Beach Operators to comply with the provisions of City Ordinance 08-15-749 s. of 2015 re: " An Ordinance Requiring Pool/Resort Owners and Similar Businesses to Provide Duly Certified Lifeguards and Lifeguarding Equipment in their Operation, Providing penalties for Violation Thereof and Other Purposes ", and Philippine Coast Guard Memorandum Circular 03-14 s. 2014 " Guidelines for Safety and Security Requirements of Coastal and Beach Resorts, and Vessels with Pool Facilities Including Qualification and Requirements of Lifeguards for the promotion of Safety of Life at Sea ".

Prior the schedule of the 5-day live-out training, a consultative meeting was called to all the twenty (21) invited Pool/Resort Operators in Bacolod City. The panel were composed of Executive Assistant Jose Maria B. Vargas, DRRMO Bacolod Officer-in-Charge Dondon A. Parandas, Coast Guard Station-Bacolod Commander Jimmy Oliver Vingco and PO1 Niño Pimentel. Trainees, according to LTSG Jimmy Oliver Vingno must not be over 35 years old, must be physically and mentally fit, and must have undergone basic training on First Aid, Basic Life Support and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation.

Graduates of the training will be issued a Certificate for Water Search & Rescue (WASAR) Training, thereafter, trainees will be assessed separately while performing actual duties in their respective pool/resort. A Life Guard Certificate valid for two (2) years will be issued by the Coast Guard District Southern Visayas.

The twenty one (21) pool/resort owners who were invite to the consultative meeting were the following: Bacolod Pavillon Hotel, Bantug Lake Ranch, Blackbird Beach Resort, Bethany Court, Carribean Waterpark Resotel, EBS Resort, Forest Park Resort, Higad Baybay Beach Resort, Icoy Resort, Palmas Del Mar Resort, Paraiso Beach, Resorts Negrense, Roma Beach, Shelton Beach, Sta. Fe Resort, Terra Nova Subd.,The Tides @ Riverwalk Bacolod, Villa Iska Resort, Villa Palma Beach Resort, Villarosa Beach and West Key Resort.

Pool/resort owners were requested to send at least two (2) participants to fill in the forty five (45) limit of trainees per batch. *bbmontelibano/drrmobacolod
Russian ambassador says Bacolod visit ’unforgettable pleasure’ - 11- May 2018
Igor Khovaev, ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Philippines, thanked Mayor Evelio Leonardia for his hospitality during his visit to Bacolod on May 3 to 5, and considers the visit an "unforgettable pleasure."

"Thank you so much once again for your exceptional attention and hospitality. For me it has been a great honor and unforgettable pleasure to visit Bacolod and to discuss with you and other local leaders the prospects of our bilateral cooperation," Khovaev said in a text message to the mayor.

"Hope to welcome you in Manila and visit Negros Occidental again. My special thanks to your charming spouse and daughter. With my best friendly wishes to you, your family and all people of Bacolod," the ambassador added.

It was Khovaev’s first visit to Bacolod and Negros Occidental.

Khovaev paid Leonardia a courtesy call on May 4. After that, the city government hosted a welcome dinner for Khovaev and Dmitry Larionov, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines, that was attended by business groups, civic leaders, public officials, and the academe, including the 2017 Philippine Bar Examinations topnotcher Mark John Simondo and his family.

The next day, Khovaev graced the 1st Bacolod Chicken Inasal Festival as guest of honor, where he had eaten, according to him, the "most delicious chicken he has ever tasted."

Khovaev also paid a courtesy call on Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and the governor also hosted a welcome lunch for the ambassador.*/CITY PIO
DOT cites NGC as ’must-experience’ destination - 11- May 2018
With the temporary closure of Boracay Island for rehabilitation, Bacolod City gets a tourism boost with the recommendation of the Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Office- 6 to also visit other "must-experience" tourist destinations in Western Visayas.

While tourists are not allowed to visit Boracay at this time, the DOT-6 recommended eight tourist destinations each for the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, and Iloilo, and the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo.

The Bacolod City Government Center, widely known as "NGC," was listed on top of the recommended places in Bacolod, followed by Negros Museum, Negros Forest Ecological and Biodiversity Foundation, Bacolod Public Plaza and Bandstand, San Sebastian Cathedral and Bishop Palace, Barangay sang Birhen Chapel, Panaad Park and Stadium, and Pope John Paul II Tower.

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, upon learning of the DOT tourist advisory, said, it was a surprise but it comes with much pride when the NGC was identified by the DOT as one of the "must-experience" tourist destinations in Western Visayas.

"It strengthened the image of NGC as an icon of Bacolod and validates its reputation as a tourist destination. And with the regular big crowds in the NGC esplanade, we have good reasons to believe that it is the most photographed City Hall in the country today," Leonardia said.

Now we can say that "you have not been to Bacolod if you have not have been to NGC," the mayor said.

The DOT-6 published a tourist advisory recently, announcing the closure of Boracay Island for rehabilitation effective April 26, and recommended other "must-experience" tourist destinations in the region.

For her part, Councilor Em Ang, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Tourism, said, "While it is unfortunate that Boracay has to be totally closed for several months to undergo serious rehabilitation, it is the task of the neighboring localities to attract the would-be Boracay visitors and to show that the other towns and cities are just as worthy of their visit."

"It is a good opportunity to highlight and showcase the other beautiful destinations in our region, including Bacolod. While we may not have Boracay’s white sand beaches, Bacolod is one of the country’s best places to visit for a heritage, art, culture and food trip."*/CITY PIO
Mabalacat officials learn about Bacolod City Gov’t Center - 07- May 2018
TOfficials of Mabalacat City in Pampanga visited the Bacolod City Government Center [BCGC] today [May 7] as part of their benchmarking and site study.

Mabalacat Mayor Crisostomo Garbo had written Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia that they are also planning to build their own government center at the heart of their city.

Garbo, who was not able to accompany the group, said they had wanted Leonardia to tell them first-hand how his administration built the edifice.

Leonardia, in his orientation to the Mabalacat city officials, said the Bacolod City Government Center will mark its 10th year on August 8, 2018, and has become an icon of Bacolod.

It was constructed in 2008, during Leonardia’s third term as mayor.

Considered as his "baby," Leonardia said the Bacolod City Government Center has also become the most photographed City Hall in the country.

Joining Leonardia in giving orientation to Mabalacat officials were Councilor Em Ang, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee of Tourism, former city tourism officer Imogene Kana-an, and City Assessor Maphilindo Polvora.

The Mabalacat city officials were headed by Vice Mayor Christian Halili, with Councilors Krizzanel Garbo, daughter of the mayor, Ruvie Lane Margarito, Eduardo Sotto, Amauri Tiglao, Danilo Bayani and Roland Peña, and department heads.

Halili lauded the Bacolod City Government Center saying, "Kung titingnan mo ang structure, napakaganda ng kanilang session hall, ang mga offices ng mga councilors, meron silang individual offices. ’Yong sa harapan may fountain very relaxing sa mga empleyado dahil very stressful ang trabaho, paglabas mo makikita mo ang view, napakaganda, and seeing the developments in the city of Bacolod we hope we could do the same in our city."

The Mabalacat city officials also went to other tourist spots in Bacolod, Murcia, Talisay, and Silay.*/CITY PIO
Yanson company donates P3.6-M bus to Bacolod - 03- May 2018
The Yanson Group of Bus Companies (YGBC) that operates Ceres Liner has donated a P3.6-million bus to the Bacolod City government, and had refurbished a tourist bus owned by the City.

YGBC turned over the two buses to the city at rites at the Bacolod City Government Center today [May 3].

Representing YGBC president and chief executive officer Leo Rey Yanson at the turnover rites were Business Diversification manager Casey Olive Yanson, assistant chief finance officer Jerica Leanne Ramos, and Security, Fuel, and Public Relations head Miloy Seva.

Receiving the buses were Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who was accompanied by Councilors Cindy Rojas, Em Ang, Elmer Sy, and Bartolome Orola, and former councilor Roberto "Bobby" Rojas.

Both the donated 55-seater bus and the refurbished 66-seater bus were painted red, with photos of MassKara Festival dancers and the line, "Smile! You’re in Bacolod."

Speaking on behalf of the Yansons, Casey said, "Bacolod City has been more than a home for me and my family because it has played an important role especially more so, like 45 years ago, when it all started back with my grandfather."

"I always remember what my grandfather would say how important it is to give back to the society. So I hope that this donation of a 55-seater bus becomes a symbol of the harmonious relationship that we have and I hope that it would be of help to the city and to the community."

In response, Leonardia said, "I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Yanson family and we would like to thank them not just for sending us the two buses, but two of their jewels Casey and Ica. Thank you so much and this means a lot to us."

"As you said Casey, this is a symbol of the harmonious relationship of the city and your company and family. We would like to thank that you likewise represent the business and the community in general in Bacolod City, which is precisely what we would like to establish while we are here in this administration. We would like a harmonious and most of all a productive relationship between the government and the private sector and thank you for making it a reality," the mayor added.

"Please extend our deepest gratitude to Leo Rey [Yanson]. We truly appreciate his generosity and, most of all, his friendship. These buses literally and figuratively would bring us to places, we will go a long, long way because of these buses," the mayor added.

Ang said, "We would like to thank the Yanson family for their generosity, as always, for helping Bacolod become what it is today."

Former councilor Roberto Rojas said that the Leo Rey Yanson relayed to him in December that they wanted to donate a bus to the city government.

Rojas said, "Mr. Yanson would like to donate one unit of bus to the City of Bacolod. I ask Mr. Yanson why. He replied, ’I would like to give this bus to the mayor because I love Mayor Bing, migohay kami ni Mayor Bing [Mayor Bing and I are friends], that is why I would like to give one bus to the City of Bacolod."/CITY PIO
Mayor declares special day for bar topnotcher - 02- May 2018
Mayor Evelio Leonardia has issued Executive Order No. 12-A declaring April 26, 2018 as "Mark John H. Simondo Day" in the City of Bacolod, to honor the young Bacolodnon who placed first in the 2017 Philippine Bar Examinations.

It was on April 26, 2018 when the Supreme Court announced the results of the 2017 Philippine Bar Examinations, where only 1,724 of the 6,748 examinees passed, or a passing rate of 25.55 percent.

"Because of his very laudable achievement, Simondo has become the pride of Bacolod and an inspiration to all its constituents," Leonardia said in EO 12-A.

"Thus Mark John Simondo deserves to be recognized and forever remembered by the City by making April 26, 2018 as an important date in its history," the EO also stated.

Leonardia also issued Executive Order No. 13 "congratulating and commending" Simondo for topping the bar exams, considered one of the toughest exams in the country.

"Simondo has given immense pride to the City of Bacolod by earning the distinction of being the first Bacolodnon to place first in the Bar Examinations, and by proving that there are indeed local talents in Bacolod City who are at par with the best in Manila," Leonardia said in EO 13.

"Simondo serves both as an inspiration and role model for the people of Bacolod City, especially its youth," EO 13 stated.

The mayor presented the two EOs to 31-year-old Simondo, when the bar topnotcher paid a courtesy call on him at the Bacolod City Government Center today [May 2].

Simondo was accompanied by seven of his fellow University of St. La Salle (USLS) College of Law passers, namely, Ralph Romeo Bascones, Jamie Bentinganan, Jaenise Rae De la Paz, Daniel Del Rosario III, Hazelmer Fernandez, Mark Lester Reyes, and Dennis Salem. USLS had 12 bar passers in the 2017 exams.

Joining Leonardia in receiving Simondo and his fellow USLS passers were Councilors Em Ang, Dindo Ramos, and Bartolome Orola, City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan, City Assessor Maphilindo Polvora, Secretary to the Mayor Edward Joseph Cuansing, and Executive Assistant Moises De la Cruz.

Simondo, a resident of Barangay 33, obtained a rating of 91.05 percent in the 2017 Bar Examinations, the first time in 15 years, or since 2002, that a first placer had breached the 90 percent mark.

A registered nurse, he was also the valedictorian of USLS College of Law Class 2017.

Simondo is the son of retired SPO4 Noli and Edith Simondo. He completed his primary and secondary education at USLS, as well as his bachelor’s degree in Nursing.


A resident of Barangays 33, Simondo was born and raised in Bacolod.

"I know that Bacolod City is proud of me, but what many may not know is that I am also very proud of Bacolod City," Simondo said in his response after being presented with two EOs.

"Right now, it’s not just about me, it’s about the community, it’s about the city. And this is home. This is home for me, home for us. I am glad that I made Bacolod City proud, and I will do what I can in the near future to make it even more proud of me," he said.

"So once again, I thank every one of you. Animo, La Salle! Animo, Bacolod!" he added.

For his part, Leonardia, during his closing message, congratulated all USLS bar passers, especially Simondo for once again making Bacolod proud.

"Para sa akon, Mark, you did not just make us proud, but, if our 80th year anniversary theme is ’Full Speed Ahead,’ I think that, nga daw gin-gasolinahan mo pa gid ina. I think we got more inspired. You have shown to the rest of Bacolod that a local boy can just be as bright, can be as much of an achiever as any of those supposedly in the imperial shots in Manila. You have even the playing field, you have now told everybody that we can be just as good as you are," he said.

"Now on a wider scale, I believe ang aton mga estudyante, and aton mga kabataan would start to think that if Mark can make it, then probably we can also make it. Mark, salamat gid. For us it is invaluable. We are totally proud of you. It is something that inspired that whole city. We owe you a lot," Leonardia added.*/CITY PIO
Russian ambassador arriving in Bacolod May 3 - 02- May 2018
Igor Khovaev, Ambassador of Russia to the Philippines, and Dmitry Larionov, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines, will visit Bacolod City on May 3 to 5.

They will pay a courtesy call on Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.

The Bacolod city government will tender a welcome dinner for the ambassador on May 4, where he will meet city officials, business sector, and the media.

The ambassador will visit various tourist spots in Bacolod, Talisay, and Silay cities.

He will also attend the 1st Bacolod Chicken Inasal Festival on May 5 at Araneta St.

Khovaev graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1988 and the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in 1995.

He joined the diplomatic service in 1988. He was designated Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Philippines in March 2015.*/CITY PIO
International mask organization promoting Bacolod to the world - 01- May 2018
The International Mask Arts and Culture Organization (IMACO) that is based in South Korea is promoting Bacolod City and its MassKara Festival to Korea and the rest of the world, through the staging of the 7th IMACO International Conference to be hosted by this city in November 2019.

"The IMACO International Conference will promote Bacolod to the world, connect Bacolod to Korea, and mobilize Korean civil associations, that are sending volunteers abroad, to go to Bacolod City," IMACO secretary-general Yoon Byung-Jin said.

The IMACO official and his staff, namely, Jinuk Jason Lee, Dawon Ginny Lee, and Seah Chloe Son, and World Tour Travel Agency chief executive officer Sang Kwang Cho were in Bacolod City on April 30 and May 1 [Monday-Tuesday] to conduct site inspection of hotels and facilities to be used as billeting and venues of the IMACO International Conference next year.

The IMACO official and his staff had a preliminary meeting with the Local Organizing Committee, composed of chairman Mayor Evelio Leonardia, vice chairman Councilor Em Ang, Secretariat head Executive Assistant Rodel Parcon, and members City Administrator John Orola, City Tourism Officer Ma. Elma Gerasmo, acting PIO head Danny Dangcalan, City Budget Officer Imelda Williams, Executive Assistants Benjie Torre, and Celestino Guara, acting Assistant City Engineer Amy Tentia, Imogene Kanaan, and Tere Manalili.

Leonardia said, "The MassKara Festival now really belongs to the world. We are now among the world’s most prominent mask festivals. We are truly proud of our very own MassKara Festival which is actually our people’s creation."

The IMACO delegation briefed the local organizing committee on the requirements of hosting the international event.

Ang said about 300 delegates from various countries are expected to attend the mask convention in Bacolod.

IMACO, which has 68 member-countries, is a group of international festivals that use masks, or are anchored on mask.

Ang said the mask convention is being held every two years in the month of November. It was last held in Vientiane, Laos in 2017.

In Laos, Leonardia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the hosting privilege in 2019, with IMACO president Kweon Young-sae, who is also the mayor of Andong City, Korea.

Bacolod has sisterhood ties with Andong.*/CITY PIO
Mayor upbeat on MICECON effect to Bacolod - 29- April 2018
Mayor Evelio Leonardia has expressed confidence that Bacolod City will surely benefit from its hosting of the 2018 MICECON or Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, and Exhibitions/Events Conference in August.

"We are thrilled by this distinction. We know that this is really something big in the tourism world. This is like a new discovery that can catapult our city to unprecedented heights in the tourism industry," Leonardia said.

"Hosting the MICECON is like joining the big league in the industry. This is also in line with the projection that tourism is going to become the biggest industry in the world. So we are preparing the city for that eventuality," the mayor added.

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) declared Bacolod City as the winning bidder in the hosting of the 2018 MICECON.

The TPB and MICECON National Organizing Committee conducted a two-day ocular inspection of the SMX Convention Center, various hotels, and tourism facilities here on April 26-27.

The ocular inslection was led by TPB MICE Department and Concerns- OIC Teresita Landan, MICECON 2018 project manager Jasmin Parra, and MICECON Organizing Committee members Karen Miranda, Sherdoll Bayona, and Nica Tolentino, and Department of Tourism - Region 6 (Western Visayas).

They were assisted by Councilor Em Ang, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Tourism; City Administrator John Orola, and City Tourism Officer Ma. Elma Gerasmo.

At a welcome lunch for the TPB and MICECON Organizing Commitee, Leonardia underscored the Bacoleños’ warm smiles and unique hospitability, as part of the city’s tourism pull.

"Hosting this MICECON should be just the start, something that should spark that tourism of revolution of sort," he said.

"Now that we will have MICECON, I feel that we can even now have a more scientific approach in our tourism plans," he said.

"We will reap the benefits of MICE. Thank you so much for giving this to us and I know you expect much from us," the mayor added.*/CITY PIO
Bacolod City Hall employees hold sportsfest- 29- April 2018
The employees of the Bacolod city government, belonging to the Bacolod City Government Employees’ Union (BCGEU), are currently holding their annual Employees Sports Festival.

The sportsfest opened Friday [April 27] with a parade of colors at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds.

Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, representing Mayor Evelio Leonardia, opened the ceremony with the lighting of the urn.

He was joined by a representative of Cluster 8.

The BCGEU members, working in various offices and departments of City Hall, are divided into eight clusters.

BCGEU president Allyn Luv Zamora- Dignadice said the union members are competing in four games: chess, bowling, basketball, and volleyball.

The sportfest will culminate on June 15.*/CITY PIO
Bacolodnon one of Panaad outstanding agri-preneurs - 23- April 2018
A Bacolodnon restaurateur was one of the 62 outstanding Negrense agri-preneurs awarded during the Pasidungog sa Panguma kag Pangisda 2018 awarding ceremonies at the Panaad Stadium Saturday [April 21], as part of the 25th Panaaad sa Negros Festival

Jesselle Hyacinth Suarez- Hablo, manager of Sir Jess, located at Doña Juliana Subdivision in Barangay Taculing Bacolod City, received the award from Senator Cynthia Villar and Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.,

Suarez-Hablo was accompanied by Romeo Garcia, officer-in-charge of the City Department of Agriculture.

Other officials at the awarding rites were Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-6 regional director Remia Aparri, Department of Agriculture-6 regional director Remelyn Recoter, Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino, Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena and Sangguniang Panlalawigan members.

The 29-year-old agri-preneur said Sir Jess serves produce and products from their own farm.

Their famous products are turmeric, basil and oregano piaya.

Their family started raising quails in 2005 and when she graduated in 2010 as a culinary arts student at the Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA) University of St. La Salle, she helped in their family business.

"Gina-promote namon nga dapat ma-appreciate naton ang local resources sang aton province because more na ta subong sa fast food unlike nga dapat back to basics ang aton gina-kaon para maging healthy kita," Hablo said in an interview.

Aside from their restaurant and farm, they also have 7,000 calamansi trees. They supply other restaurants and markets and promote their own calamansi juice.*/CITY PIO
Bacolod chosen to host MICECON in August - 23- April 2018
After a thorough evaluation, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) has awarded to Bacolod City the honor of hosting the 2018 MICE (Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions & Exhibitions) Conference or MICECON in August.

TPB Chief Operating Officer Cesar Montano handed the certificate of award to Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who was accompanied by Councilor Em Ang and Executive Assistant Rodel Parcon, at the TPB office in Manila Wednesday [April 18].

Leonardia said, "Perhaps some people may not comprehend how big is this, but this is really big in the tourism world. This is like a new discovery that can catapult our city to unprecedented heights of the tourism industry."

"This is projected to level up our city in the overall outlook that tourism is the next biggest industry in the world. So we are preparing the city for that eventuality."

Ang, who is also the chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Tourism, said MICECON is the biggest gathering of the country’s influential professionals and practitioners involved in MICE.

"Approximately 600 participants from the MICE industry are expected to attend this event. Airlines, hotels, resorts, convention centers, event organizers and exhibit organizers are just some of the participants in this year’s MICECON," she added.

"The event is also expected to help boost and promote tourism in Bacolod and Negros as MICECON showcases Bacolod and nearby areas’ travel destinations, including the province’s local products," Ang added.

The Bacolod City officials met with TBP and MICE officials at the TBP office Wednesday to discuss the requirements of the hosting.

Montano, in his letter to Leonardia, thanked the mayor for their comprehensive bid to host the 2018 MICECON, adding that after a thorough evaluation of their bid, the MICECON Organizing Committee has accepted the Bacolod bid with "great pleasure."

"The infrastructure, support services, and amenities make Bacolod ideal for our event," Montano said.

"We believe that Bacolod’s hosting of this event will provide a tremendous boost to the city’s growing tourism industry and support your objective of promoting the City of Smiles as a MICE Destination," Montano added.

The bidding process started in early January this year, where the Bacolod City delegation, led by City Administrator John Orola and Ang, submitted the bid documents and met with TPB officials and MICECON Organizing Committee several times prior to the eventual awarding of the hosting to Bacolod.

Part of its hosting requirement is the location of the host-city, wherein the venue should be a "leading urban tourism destination possessing state-of-the-art hospitality and meeting facilities."

The first MICECON was hosted by Subic in 2010. After that, it was hosted by Cebu-2011, Davao-2013, Clark-2014, and Manila-2015.

MICE represents specialized sectors of business and industry, which require higher standards of tourism services and facilities.

MICECON consolidates and strengthens all sectors involved in the MICE industry by providing an ideal platform for a comprehensive educational program and trade opportunity for Philippine MICE and tourism practitioners.

MICECON likewise aims to showcase new developments, establishments, and products in the host-city, increase the levels of creativity and professionalism, and further upgrade capabilities of host-city in targeting and handling the MICE market.*


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