News Release

Bacolod City kick-starts housing program, other PPP projects

BACOLOD CITY – The city government here has jump-started the implementation of the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Housing (4PH), the flagship shelter program of the Marcos administration, with the construction of the initial set of housing units at the Arao relocation site in Barangay Vista Alegre starting last month.

As the first local government unit in the country to sign up for the program, the local leadership under Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez has tapped Scheirman Consortium for a joint venture agreement (JVA) to develop human settlements in identified locations across the city.

“We aim to build 10,000 units through this joint venture, with a total investment from Scheirman of PHP10 billion,” Benitez said.

It is among the projects being developed here under a public-private partnership (PPP), an initiative being encouraged under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. as the government seeks to expand infrastructure projects.

In his maiden State of the Nation Address, Marcos said PPPs “hold great potential for that expansion, for infrastructure development and for innovation.”

“By October, it will be finished,” Benitez said.

The Yuhum Residences will have a total of 3,464 housing units while the Yuhum Executive, which will rise on another city-owned property at the Reclamation Area, will have 7,200 units.

Under the JVA, the constitution of the buildings shall be undertaken by the Scheirman consortium “at no cost” to the city government and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development while the city government will provide the land upon which the human settlement/housing units will be built.

Another proposed PPP project is the development of the Manokan Country, a row of food stalls mainly serving the city’s famous dish, the charcoal-grilled chicken or chicken inasal at the Reclamation Area to promote food tourism.

After accepting the unsolicited proposal of property giant SM Prime Holdings, Inc. amounting to PHP4.5 billion, the city government is set to launch a Swiss challenge to allow third parties to make better offers or challenges.

“The innovations we are implementing to enhance economic governance and fiscal management are drawing strong interest, support and assistance from the private sector. Now, they are more willing to partner with Bacolod City,” Benitez said.

Another private firm has proposed to fund the development of the underground cabling system in the city at an initial cost of PHP200 million.

“We have granted the original proponent status to the one that submitted the unsolicited proposal. Now, we will be going through negotiations,” City Legal Officer Romeo Carlos Ting Jr. said.

Also, the city government has received a proposal for a joint development of the 40-hectare site of the old Bacolod airport from SM Prime., which recently acquired the portion of Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Benitez said they have been authorized by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to utilize the government portion of the area.

The property’s ownership has been divided between PAL and CAAP, each awarded 20 hectares, after the airport was closed when the Bacolod-Silay Airport in Silay City began its operations in January 2008.

PAL’s creditor bank, the Philippine National Bank, bid out its part of the property and sold it to SM Prime.

“We are still discussing the proposal,” Benitez said. (PNA)