After facing public criticism that the approved budget of P16 million for the renovation of his office is excessive, Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez has made the decision to personally finance the project.
The mayor in a press conference said that barring any legal impediments, he plans to use his own money for the renovation and redirect the approved funds towards improving public toilets throughout the city, including the 16 toilets in the Bacolod City Government Center. This decision was made after reports surfaced regarding the poor condition of public toilets in the city, Benitez said.
The mayor, however, defended the cost of the office renovation, stating that it is within the budget and supported by estimates from the City Engineering Office, as well as approval from the city council.
He explained that no major renovation had been carried out on the mayor’s office since the building was constructed 15 years ago.
The mayor described the current office space as dark, inadequate and not conducive for effective work, especially for a working mayor like himself. The limited space is a hindrance to his daily operations and the delivery of services to the people of Bacolod City. Therefore, the renovation plan involves expanding the office space to accommodate support facilities and the addition of a conference room to cater to the mayor’s administrative and official functions, he said.
The mayor added that the renovation estimate will also cover the cost of demolishing the existing facilities, as the buildout is not in an empty space. The estimate would also cover the complete rewiring of the facility, ensuring that the renovated space would be equipped with modern electrical systems, he explained.
In spite of criticism, Benitez maintains that the renovation will result in an office the city can be proud of, and will benefit future mayors as well.