Four business groups yesterday issued a joint statement congratulating and supporting the Negros Occidental provincial government headed by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. for deciding to sell and lease the Capitol’s 7.7-hectare property in Bacolod City.
The provincial government last week announced the awarding of the sale and lease of the property to AyalaLand, but the Court of Appeals Wednesday issued a Temporary Restraining Order on the deal following a petition filed by SM Prime Holdings Inc.
The business groups’ support came a day after the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod also passed a resolution expressing appreciation and support for the Negros Occidental provincial government’s development plan, which it said, will ultimately boost the city’s business, economic, tourism, technological and historical landscape.
Roberto Montelibano – regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Western Visayas, Frank Carbon – president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, John Yap – president of the Southern Negros Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Lucio Chua – president of the Northern Negros Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed the business community’s joint statement of support.
With the decision to develop the property into a mixed-used integrated project that includes residential, commercial, office, hotel and convention center developments, we believe jobs will be created and visitors will be enticed to visit the province, they said.
The governor said he is thankful to the Bacolod SP and the business community for their support.
“I think the majority of the people of Bacolod support us,” he said.
Meanwhile, a text message circulating yesterday said “the Filipino-Chinese and the entire business community in the province and the city of Bacolod is supporting Gov. Marañon and the provincial officials against SM. Boycott of SM and its businesses in the city will start if SM will continue its case against the province. Surely the people will go with this call. Pls pass.”
SM, as of presstime, had not issued a response to the text message.
Negros Occidental Board Member Patrick Lacson, who was absent when the Negros Occidental Sanggunian Wednesday approved the contracts for the sale and lease of the Capitol’s property to Ayala, in a text message to the media yesterday said “This is not an issue of whether SM or Ayala (should win), but the way we treat investors, which must be with respect and care.”
“When SM cried out foul, with their disbelief of the way things were done, the least we could have done, especially the provincial council was to have given them time, and transparently heard their side because they deserve our utmost respect…and check and balance is the essence of or duty,” he said.
Lacson said his colleagues felt they should approve the contracts as soon as possible so he “decided to be absent…to avoid grandstanding and creating tension in the Capitol.”
He said he is saddened by the SP's unanimous decision but since a TRO was granted by the CA, at least they might see his side on the matter.
“I hope they are not the ones spreading the boycott SM messages because that would add insult to injury,” he added.*CPG