With more pro-admin dads, Dagupan’s economic restructuring coming
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – With six pro-administration councilors winning in the 10 city council seats, the economic and tourism center (ETC) eyed by Mayor Belen Fernandez seems inevitable.
“Dapat mangyayari ito pag walang magba-block sa akin (This could happen if there will be no councilors who block my program),” Fernandez said in relation to her pet project’s ETC that could materialize through the amendment of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).
She said the ballyhooed project could generate employment like call centers, medical transcriptionists, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and others.
She explained that she could double the economic benefits of the people within her next three-year term if the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (Council) support the economic and tourism bill.
Those who are pro-Fernandez’s Liberal Party lawmakers who won the May 9 election were Maybelyn Fernandez, Dennis Canto, Netu Tamayo, Alvin Coquia, Jigs Seen, and Marvin Fabia while those with the opposition Nationalista Party identified with Vice Mayor Brian Lim were Luis Chito Samson, Red Erfe-Mejia, Nick Aquino, and Guillermo Vallejos.
The 10 solons and the new president of League of Barangays, an ex oficio member of the Council, would be expected to clash on the amendment of the 1978 CLUP that Mayor Fernandez emphatically pushes, saying it would be an economic linchpin for growth and high employment.
“If Fernandez could facilitate for the victory of the president of the League of Barangays after the October election, then the mayor can expedite the economic bills and other ordinances she likes,” a political expert, who asked for anonymity, said.
Last year, the mayor tangled with the opposition members in the Council who held her hostage by not approving the P768 million budget for this year.
That stand-off that took several months late last year that almost prejudiced the P153 million development fund (DF) in the 2016 budget.
Fernandez wanted that the CLUP passed as soon as possible so this city could compete with other cities and first class towns in Region 1.
“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.
Last April 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 the city is now among the top 20 local government units (LGU) in the country today as the Most Competitive LGU nationwide.
This, she said, was a big leap from number 44 in 2014 to number 19 in 2015.
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, whose family owns a chain of malls, explained that in case this city expands its commercial hub, businessmen would come 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,” she said.
With more employment being generated, she said more people would pay more taxes like income tax, from which this city gets a share through the internal revenue allotment.
“With a more thriving business climate, these workers spend monies in 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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