PLATFORM OF GOVERNMENT. Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia (2nd from left), who is seeking a third and final term, prepares to sign the platform of the government of his local coalition Grupo Progreso during a press conference at Business Inn on Thursday afternoon (March 24, 2022). He is joined by reelectionist Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran (left) and Dan Atayde, vying for Bacolod’s lone congressional seat. (PNA photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)

BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Evelio Leonardia has bared the list of programs that will be pursued by his coalition Grupo Progreso (GP) should they be elected to serve in the next three years as the local campaign for the May 9 elections kicked off on Friday.

Ahead of a mass, caravan, and mini-rally at the Reclamation Area on the first day, the mayor, who is seeking a third and final term, led his party mates in the symbolic signing of their platform of government in rites held at the Business Inn on Thursday afternoon.

“This is being given to the public so they will know our intention. The vision here is clear that we would like Bacolod City to further develop, improve and be livable, vibrant and resilient city, where business and industry shall flourish under a climate of peace and fair competition. Innovative, inclusive and sustainable, where government serves its people responsibly and compassionately,” Leonardia said.

He added GP’s platform, which has a three-pronged program, is “essentially still a continuing fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)” aligned with the city’s “dreams and aspirations to recover that past and to bring back the glory that was there before the pandemic struck”.

It is anchored on health and social services, economy and infrastructure, and “Smart City” framework for local government.

Leonardia, a member of the Nacionalista Party, said “in the spirit of transparency and ensure accountability to Bacolod electorate,” it has been GP’s tradition to issue a written platform of government duly signed by members of its slate.

Also part of the GP line-up are businessman Dan Atayde, who is eyeing Bacolod’s lone congressional seat, and reelectionist Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran.

They are joined by reelectionist councilors Cindy Rojas, Renecito Novero, Dindo Ramos, Israel Salanga, Archie Baribar, and Carl Lopez.

Others vying for City Council seats are former councilor and city administrator Em Ang, physician Chris Sorongon, former Central Negros Electric Cooperative board president Ed Guillem, Barangay 18 council member Jonathan Diaz, broadcaster Marlon Solidum, and Information Technology professional Cashmere Montalvo, daughter of former mayor Jose Montalvo.

On March 26, the GP candidates will also hold an opening salvo at the public plaza.

Leonardia, who is being challenged by former Negros Occidental third district congressman Alfredo Benitez, is pushing for the continuity of his administration with a “solid track record to boot” amid his opponent’s call for change in Bacolod. (PNA)