Sunday, July 7, 2013

Celestes, Espino to revive Hundred Islands' Glory Days

Celeste during his inaugural speech on
June 30, 2013 at the city gymnasium in
Alaminos City


ALAMINOS CITY - The once vaunted Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) here has been left on the dustbin of neglect after it was relegated out of the top 100 tourist spots in the country according to the city new mayor. “I just learned that the Hundred Islands was out of the Top 100 tourist spots in the country,” newly elected mayor Art Celeste told the multitudes who attended his inaugural speech in the public gymnasium here in June 30.
PIECE- PRIZED: An elated Pangasinan Governor Amado T.
 Espino (Seated 4
th from Right) watches Mayor Art Celeste
 delivered his inaugural speech in June 30, 2013 at the
city gymnasium.Alaminos City was a piece-priced for
 the governor where he defeated gubernatorial rival
and Alaminos City then incumbent mayor Hernani 

Braganza by more than 5000 votes. 
Celeste said that during the campaign period Governor Amado T. Espino told him how important the HINP in the province’s drive to attract visitors. The former congressman- turned- mayor deplored the pathetic state of the Islands once considered as one of the “8 Wonders of the World”. “Noong unang panahon iyong Hundred Islands kasama sa top places not only in the Philippines but in the world. One of the “8 Wonders of Natures” kasabay ng Ifugao’s Rice Terraces. Nalulungkot tayo until now wala ng development sa lugar but with this administration, I will be trying my best for the transformation of Hundred Islands,” he stressed.

Alaminos Mayor Art Celeste (Seated Right) and
Vice Mayor Earl Aquino (Seated Left) and Rep. Jesus
 “Boying” Celeste (1
st District, Pangasinan) (standing
between the mayor and vice mayor) and
the mayors of Western Pangasinan.
Celeste gave his stance when asked if the private sector can run or lease the HINP just like other tourist spots in the countries: “Siguro pag aaralan muna natin kasi there was an executive order. Hindi pa natin alam iyan kasi hindi pa natin alam what was in the contract signed by the city government and President (Gloria) Arroyo. Malalaman natin ang mga bagay na iyan few weeks from now. Unang-una titingnan natin diyan iyong status ng Hundred Islands. The content of the contract signed by the city government with the national government”. Executive Order No. 436 signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 21, 2005 transferred the administration, management, maintenance and operation of the whole Hundred Islands National Park (HINP), including all the activities, facilities and improvements thereafter, from the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) to the city government of Alaminos, Pangasinan in pursuit of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, which encouraged the transfer of power and authority from the national government to local government units, in line with the government’s devolution program mandated by the Constitution Celeste said his administration will study how the private sector helps boost the HINP.
 Celeste appealed to the thousands of supporters including the governor at the gymnasium that the provincial government and this city pass their respective resolutions and ordinances for the province to participate in the beautification of the Hundred Islands. He said the help of the governor, an aesthetic buff, and his elder brother congressman Jesus “Boying” Celeste (First District, Pangasinan) is crucial for the development of the premier tourist spot of the province. Celeste urged his city mates to give him three years to prove his worth. “Try me for three years pag wala akong nagawa tanggalin niyo ako as mayor,”he told the crowd.
He said he is not vindictive. He wants to set good politics among his constituents.
 “I’m willing to work with you. I hope you do”.
 But he has a message to some personnel at the city hall identified with the past administration who probably do not like their assignments in the forthcoming re-organization.
“Ayaw niyo ng trabaho, gumawa kayo ng paraan na hindi ko na makikita ang mga mukha niyo!” he declared. Celeste told his paper that he belies reports in other news outlet that he wants the airport project’s scrap.
 “No. Why should I stop the airport! Ang sabi ko lang it is impossible to push through with the project kasi we need a national support for that purpose kasi kung pondo lang ng siyudad hindi kaya. We need an airport (but) billion (pesos) iyan,” he said.

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