Mayor Belen to critics: Don’t underestimate Dagupenos
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – Mayor Belen Fernandez rebutted the propaganda heaped on her administration by critics in the media for not hiring consultants from the University of the Philippines.
“Bakit, inunderestimate mo? Hinde ba magaling ang city planning natin? Hindi ba magaling ang mayor natin? Hindi ba magaling ang engineer natin? Doon sa U.P Planades, gumastos tayo ng two million pesos, anong ginamit natin doon? Wala!”she said.
She said the reason why she did not hire the services of technical experts of the University of the Philippines’ Planning and Development Research Foundation, Inc. (UP Planades) was first, the city government has the capacity to do the planning like the Comprehensive Land Used Plan (CLUP); second, the two million pesos spent on the technicians from U.P. by former Mayor Benjamin S. Lim could wisely be used to amortize the hundreds of millions of pesos loaned by the previous administration.
Planades is a non-stock, non-profit foundation engaged in research, consultancy and extension services, academic development and training in environmental, urban and regional planning and related disciplines.
Fernandez cited the advice of the group that this city should have a Class A gymnasium.
“Wala, kasi doon sa UP Planades nakalagay pala doon, sa 2030 dapat ang Dagupan ay magkakaroon ng Class A gymnasium. I pinatayo ko na e, five years ago. Hinde na ako umabot ng 2030. Ang Stadia ay world class,” she said, referring to the structure her family owns..
In the 2016 budget, the mayor cited, this city’s old air-conditioned astrodome had been given several million pesos appropriation for its repair.
She said that people should not depend on the government on projects like construction of huge buildings that entails tens of millions of pesos.
The funds, the mayor cited, should be best allocated to social services to the poor, dredging of rivers, building dikes to prevent the perennial flooding that haunt this city, and others.
“Ang ibig sabihin noon hindi tayo lahat puwedeng mag depende sa government. Kailangan ang mga investors hayaan natin silang nag expand.”
The mayor said however that three years ago her family wanted to invest for a world class hotel in Barangay Lucao but was undermined by former Mayor Lim.
“Three years ago I and my family were geared to build a swanky hotel. But what happened? The Lim Administration did not give me the business permit to build it,” the mayor said.
“Sino pa ang mga presidents ng mga national organizations that should be coming in Dagupan but instead preferred Iloilo, Cebu, and other cities because our city could not accommodate their number,“she said.
The mayor also lashed at her detractors why they bellyached on the ten million pesos included in the 2016 city budget she intended for backfilling a low level area.
That fund, she cited, is a preparation from the pledge of Congresswoman Gina de Venecia that she will look for funds in Manila for the construction of the new city hall.
“Hinde naman puwedeng pagka sabi ni Manay may pondo ka na sa city hall kung saan ka kukuha panambak. Ang plano natin advance tayo,” she said.
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