“What a vibrant city this is. There is a mix of historic buildings and new infrastructures here.”
This was the first impression of Bacolod City by Acting Australian Ambassador Richard Sisson, when he and his fellow Embassy officials made a courtesy call on Mayor Evelio Leonardia at the Bacolod City Government Center today, June 29, a press release from the Bacolod Public Information Office said.
Sisson and his party, composed of First Secretary Georgina Harley-Cavanough, Security Services Manager Sandy Labrador, and Research Officer Amanda Fidelino of the Australian Embassy in Manila, are on official visit to Bacolod City and other places in Negros Occidental this week.
The mayor hopes that the visit of the Australian ambassador will pave the way for wider cultural, tourism, and business exchanges between Australia and Bacolod City, the press release said.
“Ambassador Sisson has shown his keen interest in our City. We take it to mean that we can expect vibrant positive exchanges between Bacolod and Australia in the future”, Leonardia said.
Joining the mayor in receiving the Australian delegation were Councilor Israel Salanga, City Administrator Em Ang, Secretary to the Mayor Edward Joseph Cuansing, Acting City Tourism Officer Sandra Ruth Sycip, and Executive Assistant Moises Dela Cruz.
Leonardia pointed out that prior to the pandemic, the City had earned several national awards and citations for its business and economic gains, and that when the crisis is over, it will be back on track.
The ambassador also attributed the continuing economic progress in Bacolod to the City’s enforcement of implementing minimum health protocols, like the use of face masks and face shields, and observing of physical distancing.
Prior to their discussion, a video was presented to the ambassador and his party about how the City fared before the pandemic, how the pandemic affected the local economy, and how the City is managing the situation now.
” We are the biggest city in Western Visayas and we create an environment conducive for business investments to rapidly grow”, Leonardia said
City Hall records show that in 2020 – during the height of the pandemic – a total of 23,545 businesses registered with the Business Permits and Licensing Office, or only about 2,000 short of 2019’s 25,637 business registrations, the press release said.
“It’s only an 8 percent drop and we hope, again in 2021, it will not be as bad as some sectors would project it,” the mayor said.
City Administrator Em Ang, who is the executive director of Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and coordinator of the COVOD-19 Vaccination Council (CoVaC), also briefed the Embassy officials of the Vaccination Program of the City.*