Bacolod was named by Manila Times as the Top Philippine Model City among the 145 cities in the country making it the most livable urban center in the country.
The Manila Times, one of the most respected broadsheets and the country’s oldest newspaper at 119 years old, has chosen Bacolod as the No. 1 Model City among a shortlist of 37 select cities. Bacolod bested the other cities based on the following criteria: Peace and Security, Rest and Recreation, Research and Development, Health and Education, Clean and Green, Road and Home, Livelihood and Employment, Youth and Elders, Tax and Services, and Emergency/ Disaster Preparedness.
The Manila Times’ “Philippine Model Cities” is a forum that aims to recognize effective and innovative local governance that improves the quality of life and make local business environments friendlier.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia led city officials in accepting the award for Bacolod City at the awarding ceremony at the New World Manila Bay Hotel in Manila.
Joining Leonardia were Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilor Em Ang, Councilor Dindo Ramos, City Administrator John Orola, City Planning and Development Office head Mary Jean Ramos, City Development Council vice chairman George Zulueta, and acting PIO head Danny Dangcalan.
“This credible and prestigious award validates what Bacolod is now. This inspires us even more to promote a culture of excellence, not just for contests like this, but to cultivate a high sense of responsibility in our people,” Leonardia said.
We will not allow mediocrity, he stressed.
For his part, Gasataya said in a statement, “Bacolod City is indeed not just ‘back on track but back on top.'”
Gasataya added: “We assure everyone of our continuous cooperation for our city in order to address concerns that need immediate solution.”
Familiaran said, “The award proves that Bacolod is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Indeed, Bacolod is back on track.”
In his opening remarks, The Manila Times President and Chief Executive Officer Dante Francis “Klink” Ang 2nd, explained that the awards “aim to recognize effective and innovative local governance that improves the quality of life, make local business environments friendlier, and overall makes this country a great place to live.”
Philippine Model City Finalists
Rounding the Final 13 in The Philippine Model Cities list are (in alphabetical order): Batangas, Davao, General Santos, Laoag, Mandaluyong, Naga, Parañaque, Quezon, San Fernando, Sta. Rosa, Tagaytay, and Zamboanga.
These cities also received special awards based on several social indicators in the criteria.
- Safe Haven Award for peace and order – Sta. Rosa City
- Environment Friendly Award – Batangas City.
- Business Friendly Award (for ease of doing business) – San Fernando City, Pampanga
- Retirement Haven Award – Tagaytay City
- Social Services Oriented – with Quezon City for Programs for Youth Development and Empowerment, and Zamboanga City for Programs for Health and Elderly.
- Wealth Center Award (investment friendly and improved tax system) – Mandaluyong City
- Livelihood and Employment Haven Award (jobs and programs for self sufficiency of residents) – Naga City.
- Road Home Award (public infrastructure and public housing projects) – General Santos City
- Emergency and Disaster Management Award (improved emergency response and rescue, equipment, etc.) – Laoag City
- Tourism Hub Award (business and leisure tourism) – Davao City
Philippine Model City Judges
Judges included prominent Filipino urban planner Felino Palafox Jr., founder and managing partner of Palafox Associates; lawyer Lea Roque, head of Tax Advisory and Compliance Division of P & A Grant Thornton; Rosemarie Bosch-Ong, director of Wilcon Depot; and Marife Zamora, chairman of Convergys Philippines Services Corporation.
Also attending the awards rites were Dante Ang II, president, chief executive officer, and executive editor of The Manila Times, and his father Dr. Dante Ang, chairman emeritus of The Manila Times, and newly appointed presidential special envoy for international public relations by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Speakers included Palafox, Roque, Vickram Cuttaree, program leader for Sustainable Development of World Bank Philippines; and Michael McCullough, managing director of KMC MAG Group.
Previous Awards Received by Bacolod City
Bacolod City had also won similar awards in the past, and recently – all during the mayorship of Leonardia.
In 2008, MoneySense magazine chose Bacolod as the “Best Place to Live in the Philippines.”
In 2012, popular blog ikwaderno.wordpress.com named Bacolod as the “Most Livable Philippine City.”
Early this year, another social media group, The Conyo Times, ranked Bacolod as “The Best City to Live in the Philippines.”
Likewise, in 2007, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry chose Bacolod as the “Most Business Friendly City in the Philippines.”*