Tuesday, January 10, 2017


DAGUPAN CITY – Mayor Belen T. Fernandez disclosed her plans to renovate the General Douglas MacArthur Park in Bonuan to become one of the tourist destinations in the city.
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She bared her plans on the occasion of the 72nd General Douglas MacArthur landing in what is now known as Bonuan Tondaligan, attended by   World War II veterans and members of the Knights of Columbus of the Msgr. Henry C. Schmitz Assembly CAN 2995.
Fernandez said she will use part of more or less P100 million cash surplus of the city last year to finance the renovation of the park, to be boosted by financial assistance from 4th District Congressman Christopher ‘Toff’ de Venecia who earlier committed to help improve the park.  

“We already have plans to renovate the park where we intend to build a short road from Tondaligan going to this park and with some sculptures depicting MacArthur and his troops landing in our city to be put along the way," she said.
The mayor added that they will also upgrade the statue of the General and put it in a lower elevation  so that people will have a closer look of him and appreciate his historical landing in our city,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez called on the members of the Knights of Columbus and the living veterans for a meeting at her office so that they can map out plans on how to renovate or remodel the park before she will leave for Washington D.C. in the U.S. as a member of a Philippine Mission to be headed by Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueño this late January.
On her trip to Washington D.C, she vowed to connect with Americans well versed on the subject in a bid to finally settle the issue on where MacArthur really first set his foot when he came to liberate Luzon island from the Japanese Imperial Army.

“Once we have settled this, we will make a representation with the National Historical Commission and Congress to recognize the claims of our own veterans that indeed the General first landed at the Bonuan Blue Beach,” said Fernandez.
The development of the MacArthur Park, she said,  will enforce plan to boost the city's  tourism program, which is among the many activities and programs lined up during  the city’s celebration of its platinum (75th) year of cityhood  
During the ceremony facilitated by the Knights of Columbus, Fernandez asked what if the landing of allied forces did not happen? What if General MacArthur’s forces did not come? What would probably our city be like today?
“We are what we are today because of the great sacrifices of our American friends and our own fellow freedom-loving Filipino war veterans,” she said as she lauded the veterans for risking their lives so that the Filipinos will be free.
Among the oldest veterans who joined the celebration was Alejandro Balolong, now 90 years old, who said he was an eyewitness to MacArthur passing by on board a military jeep on his way to downtown Dagupan.   (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO/Jan. 10, 2017)

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