Billionaire Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez said Monday, February 20, that he will personally pay for the about P16 million renovation and expansion of the Mayor’s Office at the Bacolod City Government Center.
Barring any legal obstacles he is planning to spend his personal funds for the renovation of the Mayor’s Office, and redirect the government funds allocated for it towards the repair of the city’s public toilets, Benitez said at a press conference.
His spending personal funds for the renovation of the mayor’s office is to make sure there are no issues that government funds are being used for his personal benefit, Benitez said.
However, the renovation and expansion is needed to make it an efficient working office that the city can be proud of, he stressed.
“It will be the face and image of the City of Bacolod,” he said.
The P16 million renovation and expansion of the Mayor’s Office, which some sectors have called too extravagant, is based on an estimate made by the City Engineer’s Office, which was approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod, he said.
“As a working mayor I found the premises of the mayor’s office too small,” he said.
The mayor said the P16 million renovation does not include the furniture for the office.
Bacolod OIC City Engineer Loben Ceballos said the expansion of the Mayor’s Office is needed to meet the needs of the volume of meetings and people who go there.
The mayor holds simultaneous meetings, so more space is needed.
The Mayor’s Office will have more sections for various needs, including two conference rooms and more staff areas.
The renovation will include the demolition of some walls, building new partitions, repair of office sprinklers, airconditiong, and electrical and plumbing needs, Ceballos said.
Some of the furniture from the old office that can be used will be retained, he added.
It will be easier if the mayor offsets the payment for the renovation of the Mayor’s Office that has already been bidded out by personally paying for the public toilets of the city that need repairs, Ceballos said.
The repairs of the public toilets are estimated to cost more than P16 million, Benitez said.
Ceballos expects the renovation of the Mayor’s Office to be completed in about six months, or sooner.*