DAGUPAN CITY – Mayor Benjamin S. Lim has humbly corrected the people’s impression that he is the “Father of Bangus Festival” and explained that it is not him, but rather the people of Dagupan.
Lim pointed out that 10 years ago he convened all the stakeholders of the city during his first term as city mayor for a visioning exercise and it was they who decided to stage a festivity that is uniquely Dagupan. “It was then that Bangus Festival came about,” he said.
To this date, Bangus Festival continues to captivate people from all over the country and draw thousands and thousands of visitors yearly in its celebration like the Panagbenga of Baguio City, the Sinulog of Cebu, Maskara of Bacolod, and Dinagyang of Ilo-ilo.
“We are launching another project this year, which will surely hold the interest of our tourists to come to Dagupan and see for themselves the beauty and the serenity of our rivers by riding the first river cruise in Northern Luzon,” said Lim.
“This is what makes our celebration this year different including the fact that the chairmen of this year’s festivity comes from the private sector in the persons of Beep-Beep Tan and Alex Siapno. We are also bringing back the ‘Kalutan ed Dalan’ to its birthplace, the whole stretch of A.B. Fernandez Avenue where most economic activity of the city is being held and not in just one mall,” he said.
Lim lamented, however, that at present the Bangus Processing Plant in Bonuan Binloc has not been operating six months after its inauguration in October.
“Sinasabi natin na ang Dagupan ay bangus capital of the world, pero hanggang doon na lang ba? Hindi po. Kinakailangan na ang ating bangus ay makilala sa boung mundo. Ang gusto nating mangyari noong mga nakaraang taon ay magkaroon tayo ng isang processing plant. Nagkaroon na tayo pero after six months of operation ay hindi pa rin po ito nag-proprocess ng bangus. Hiniling po natin na ibigay ito sa mga mamamayan ngunit sinabi ng nakaraang Sangguniang Panglunsod na hindi natin ito kayang patakbuhin,” he said.
“Nais ko pong ipaalamam sa inyo na itong bangus festival ay hindi lang po isang gimik. Ito po ay isang proyekto na ang ultimo nito ay magkaroon tayo ng mas maraming hanap-buhay para sa ating mga kababayan. Sinasabi ko ito para malaman niyo ang katotohanan,” he sadly said.
The festival formally opened with the celebration of a Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist officiated by Msgr. Renato P. Mayugba with Lim; Manang Celia C. Lim; city councilors Brian C. Lim, Red Erfe Mejia, Guillermo P. Vallejos, and Jesus Canto; Maximo Alexis M. Tan; Alexander Romulo G. Siapno; Rose Teng-Mejia; Nora G. Siapno, Rebecca Sanchez; the department heads; and Miss Dagupan 2010 Joanna Marie Solomon joining the mass-goers.
In his sermon, Mayugba encouraged Lim to go on with his good plans for the city and not to be mindful of those who are trying to pull his leadership down.
Lim reiterated Msgr. Mayugba’s message to those who were trying to pin him down and have this to say, “It reminds me of the bishop’s sermon this morning that kung maganda ang iyong intensiyon, huwag kang mag-alala. Gawin mo lang ang nararapat at tutulungan ka ng Diyos kung tutulungan mo ang iyong sarili.”
“Kaya’t bubuksan natin ang bangus fest ngayun hindi para sa kasikatan ng mga opisyal na nandirito ngayun kundi para sa pakinabang ng mga tao sa dagupan,” he stressed. (CIO – Joseph C. Bacani)