ORTIGOZA:Dagupan Mayor eager to defeat political foes
Election campaigns in Dagupan City are not that unexciting after the challengers of Mayor Belen Fernandez and Vice Mayor Brian Lim withdrew in the May 9 electoral derby.
Fernandez, according to my source, was hell bent to see a 10-0 sweep in favor of her Liberal Party’s ticket for the city council.
The ticket is pitted with the Nationalista Party’s slate of Vice Mayor Lim who was just spared a huge financial war after multi-millionaire Pogo Chico Barangay Chairman Dean Bryan Khua, a first cousin of the mayor, withdrew in the race probably as part of the compromised asked by the Lims.
(Lim’s mother Celia challenged Fernandez for the mayoralty. Both families are political and business rivals.)
One of the factors on Fernandez’s determination to see her 10 councilmen bets wiggle to victory, funded by her financial juggernaut, was when she was held hostage by opposing councilors since last year after she submitted to them the approval of the P768 million 2016 budget.
“600 emergency workers and 500 scholars will lose their jobs and privileges and more than one hundred million pesos goes down the drain,” the mayor told me last early January when I accidentally met her at the residence of Speaker Joe de Venecia.”
The other factor was the arrogance of a councilor in a nighttime fiesta celebration in a village.
My source informed me that when the mayor ascended to the stage to join the barangay chairman and village councilmen, the city councilor snubbed her even everybody in the stage stood up and shook her hand.
This councilor was one of the brains in the procrastination of the P768 budget that fortunately was approved in the middle of January after it got the goat of the 31 village chiefs who would be deprived by P80 million for each of them of the city projects.
“They should know that when she became a mayor in 2013 she implemented a lot of projects in that village,” the source narrated.
The tell-tale that the mayor was resolute to frustrate the foes was her presence in the campaign trails of her party.
After I read at the Pinoy Aviators’ Community Page Group at Face Book the aircraft static display at Clark of the American, Australian, and Filipino troops who used them at the military exercise dubbed as Balikatan 2016, I told myself to go again there just like last year.
The display was on April 9 (Saturday) 2016 at Haribon Hangar of the former American ran Clark Air Base in Pampanga – an almost three hours drive from my home in Dagupan City.
“Be there at least before 8 am because the free show was for a half day only,” the announcement at Aviators’ said.
When I stepped on the hangar I saw people of various persuasions like the group of noisy Aeta (mountain people) children milling curiously near the different air assets.
“Gusto ninyo rin ba mag piloto ( Do you want to become a pilot),” I asked two tiny curly haired and wide eyed black skinned Aetas who looked like Vice President Jojo Binay, with a worn-out clothes of course, as they clambered just like what they do in the trees to a huge Sikorsky MH-60G/HH-60G Pave Hawk of the U.S Air Force.
“Oo, gusto namin maging piloto!” shouted by the duo whose province mate who made raves and waves globally is Allan Pineda Lindo alias Apple Dee Ap of the Black Hawk Down, er, Black Eyed Pea hip -hop group.
“Was this the same chopper used by the (U.S) SEAL Team 6 in inserting themselves near a military academy at Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 10, 2011 to kill Osama bin Laden?” I posed to one of the pilots who were in a group of the crew of the American made combat chopper.
“Hey Jim, was this the same chopper used by SEAL Team 6?!” the pilot shouted at a sergeant who was amused watching the antics of those Aetas jumping in and out of the chopper.
“I ain’t know, sir!” the sarge shouted back.
Even though the Yanks there ain’t know the choppers used in extracting the SEAL Team 6 and the cadaver of ole’ man Osama, I found later that what was used in Pakistan were the stealth Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanches or a modified UH-60 Sikorsky Black Hawk.
When I embarked in the Australian P-3 Orion, a U.S made Multimission Maritime Aircraft or MMA that saw service in the 1960s, I asked the Aussie crew there the difference between the AWACS and P-8.
They said that the P-3 and the modern P-8 have the same functions as ship interdiction and anti submarine warfare plane, only the P-8 is more advanced while the AWACS are airborne early warning against enemy’s aircraft.
“Son of a gun, the first time I learned about those AWACS was when I was in high school reading those old stacks of Newsweek and Time Magazines of my (retired air force) father about the Israelis freaking out in the mid 1980s as they would be vulnerable after (U.S President Ronald) Reagan decided to sell the Saudi king five E-3 Sentry AWACS and eight KE-3 refueling aircraft, with spare parts,” I told the Aussie, whose English diction amused me since I did not know I was inside an Australian plane.
“Where you from, man? Your English is different. It could not be a Mississippi accent,” I posed.
“No mate, you did not see the huge logo outside our plane, the big Kangaroo there – that’s Australia,” he told me.
“Sorry sir, I ain’t know you’re from Australia. The farthest place I’ve been was only in Binondo and Divisioria in Manila,” I told them.
(NOTE: You can read the exhaustive version of my article on the different fire powers by the U.S at Clark Air Base by clicking here or Google “U.S, others display combat assets at Clark”)
(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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