Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sans foes, Dagupan zooms to economic height – Mayor

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY – The mayor here sees that without the hostile opposition councilors, who block the budget and her economic agenda, she could bring this city to a new economic height.
TEAM BELEN of the Liberal Party in Dagupan City.
Dapat mangyayari ito pag walang magba-block sa akin (This could happen if there will be no councilors who block my program),” Mayor Belen T. Fernandez said in relation to her pet project’s economic and tourism center (ETC) that could happen through the amendment of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).
She cited the ballyhoed project could generate employment like call centers, medical transcriptionist, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and others.
She explained that she could double the economic benefits of the people here within her next three years’ term if the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (Council) support her economic bills.

Other cities left Dagupan in the race

“Akalain mo naiwan ang Dagupan City ng Iloilo, Cebu, Baguio City mahigit sampung libo ang kanilang empleyado, bakit tayo wala? Kasi wala tayong bagong lugar for investment (Can you just imagine Dagupan City has been left by Iloilo, Cebu, Baguio City with their more than ten thousand workers, why we don’t have that numbers? We don’t provide a site for those investors)”.
She cited Barangays Pantal, Tambac, Caranglaan, Lucao, and Bonuan areas as probable sites for the ETC.
Fernandez had a brushed off last year with the opposition members in the Council who held her hostage by not approving the P768 million budgets for this year.
That stand-off that took for several months late last year almost prejudiced the P153 million development fund (DF) from the 2016 budget.
“600 emergency workers and 500 scholars will lose their jobs and privileged and more than one hundred million pesos goes to the drain,” the mayor told this paper early this year.
She cited also the loss of P20 million in the Bottoms-Up-Budget (BUB) and the P5 million from the Seal of Good Governance (SGG) and the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) from the Department of Local Government.

Thanks to the intercession of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia, Congresswoman Gina de Venecia, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese Socrates B. Villegas, and the pressures exerted by the 31 village chiefs that made the lawmakers capitulate by approving the budget last January.
The village chiefs for instance feared the lost of P81 million from the Development Fund intended this year for projects in their barangays.


For the May 9 election, the opposition Nationalista Party has reelectionist Vice Mayor Brian Lim and Nick Aquino, Red Erfe-Mejia, Chito Samson, Emong Vallejos, and Teddy Villamil for the Council while Mayor Fernandez’s Liberal Party enlisted Dennis Canto, Alan Coquia, Marvin Fabia, Maybelyn Fernandez, Alfredo Quinto, Jr., Jeslito Seen, Joey Tamayo, Mark Tan, Iza Vargas, and Fe Vidal.
Both re-electionist Mayor Fernandez and Vice Mayor Lim are unopposed in the May’s poll.
Recently, a radio report said that a complainant filed an election disqualification case at the Commission on Election against the five opposition lawmakers because they were seen abetting a bingo game in the villages amid the election period.

Mayor wants to see her bets win to erase stigma of economic pariah

A source, who asked anonymity, said the mayor is hell-bent to see all her candidates win so she can amend the CLUP that could usher the economic growth of this city.
“Ang CLUP natin ay 1978 pa, di ba nakakahiya iyon? Ang Calasiao nag upgrade na, ang Urdaneta City nag upgrade na, ang La Union nag upgrade na. Naiwan na ang Dagupan City. Noong kauupo kung mayor, ang Dagupan City ay No. 78 in terms of competitiveness. No.78, di ba nakakahiya?,” she told this paper earlier.
This month this city was adjudged as second Most Competitive Component City in Region 1 by the National Competitiveness Council and the Regional Competitiveness Committee in Region 1.
Mayor Fernandez said that the city is now among the top 20 local government units (LGU) in the country today as the Most Competitive LGU nationwide.
This, she cited, was a big leap from number 44 in 2014 to number 19 in 2015.

Economic Tourism Center and jobs in the city

She said her economic tourism center's project was immediately endorsed by the Department of Science & Technology when she showed the final copy to them.
“Maganda ito, ito ang gusto namin na mangyayari. Gusto natin magkakaroon ng economic center,” she quoted a high official of the DOST who was impressed upon seeing the ETC.
Fernandez, a successful owner of chains of malls, explained that in case this city expands its commercial hub, businessmen would pour in here and create jobs.
kasi trabaho ay ibibigay natin na ibibigay sa mga mamayan para umasenso ang Dagupan. Ganito ang effect. Bakit si mayor pina-priority niya ito? Para gumanda ang kita ng bawat members ng pamilya”.
With more employment being generated, she said more people pay more taxes like income tax where this city gets a share from the allocation from the national government through the internal revenue allotment.

With a more thriving business climate, these workers spend monies to stores, restaurants, and others. They can be a multiplier effects to other business that could generate another employment for the people,” she explained. 

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