ORTIGOZA: Why Dagupenos should envy Iloilo City

June 18, 2016 at 10:31 am Leave a comment


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“Iloilo City has left Dagupan City by countless miles in progress,” I told last week my elementary classmate as I sipped my latte at Starbucks in Manduriao, Iloilo City by pointing the overlooking world class ten lanes complete with gardens and bicycle lanes  Benigno Aquino Avenue or commonly called the Diversion Road.
Just like the pipe-dream in Dagupan, three growth centers have been carved-out in Iloilo that became a linchpin for her economic mega growth that experts compared her now to Cebu and Manila.
“Iloilo had done these economic leaps for the past several years while the anti-progress vice mayor and councilors in Dagupan procrastinate since 2014 to approve the revised Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) (the old CLUP was created, susmariosep, in 1978),” I told Mayor Belen Fernandez and Councilors Netu Tamayo, Jigs Seen, Alvin Coquiao, and Marcelino Fernandez, the last two kept nodding their heads in agreement, in a press conference called by the Mayor last Wednesday after the CLUP was approved by the City Council.
Its approval however was tainted by acrimonious debate, disparaging accusation,  and  adjournment by Vice Mayor Brian Lim and his three councilors’ allies.
I told them that Iloilo has new triangular economic hubs in Kapideco (Ayala Project) Estates, SM Properties, and the Megaworld Iloilo Business Park.
These billions of pesos investments draw thousands of Ilonggos as call center agents and other workers in the malls, townhouses, restaurants, hotels other companies there.
The call centers, according to Wikipidea, source-out their employees from the countless universities and colleges there.
Workers in Dagupan City and the huge almost three million populated Pangasinan province have to find jobs in the congested Imperial Manila because leaders in Pangasinan, except Mayor Fernandez, could not decide how to provide employment for them.
I told the mayor that to enlighten our officials and people in the city about our being a “pariah” is to send somebody to Iloilo City to document and video it and show to her family owned widely subscribe cable TV the chutzpah made by leaders there for us to follow if not envy it.“Para magising at maingit tayo sa katotohanan na because of parochial thinking naiwanan na tayo ng ibang siyudad,” I stressed.
Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia about the ballyhooed Iloilo City’s economic “miracle” :
“Underground provisions for public utilities such as electricity, water, telephone lines had been provided, thus finally removing the spaghetti wires along the stretch of Diversion Road. The project included additional three pedestrian overpasses, a footbridge across Dungon Creek, jogging and biking lanes, and a beautiful landscape”
The project cost Php 300 Million and was finished in 2013. It was conceptualized by renowned Filipino architect Paulo Alcazaren, who also designed the Iloilo Esplanade and Singapore’s Clarke Quay”.
“Iloilo International Airport is the 4th busiest in the Philippines with international flight to Singapore and Hong Kong and vice versa serving passengers from Western Visayas Region, Palawan and Mindanao”.
Gee whiz, I recalled my conversation with Pangasinan First District Congressman Boying Celeste where the latter told me that an international airport in Alaminos City and a casino in Bolinao town would be a spark plug for the economy of the First District because they would cater to high roller gamblers from proximate neighbors China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to pour their monies in those two local government units.
The places especially Bolinao not only attract gamblers but  draw them and their families to frolic at the pristine beaches there and cool their heels in the world class hotels like the world class Puerto del Sol Beach & Resort, Villa Soledad Beach Resort, El Pescador and countless others.
Pangasinan leaders should gather their acts together to lobby for an airport from the national government otherwise we would be eclipsed by my former home province North Cotabato.
The operation of the airport there in my hometown M’lang was held in abeyance as the province’s governor Lala Mendoza would not sign the final paper afraid that her pet peeved former Governor Manny Pinol, proponent of the airport, will look good.
Now that Pinol is handpicked by President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte to be his Secretary of Agriculture, Mendoza, who lambasted Duterte and Pinol  in a press conference weeks before the May 9 poll, became conciliatory with her former gubernatorial rival.
That demeanour could usher for her to sign the proverbial dotted lines of the final document for the airport in M’lang to open for business.
With the operational airport there, economic-turn-around of cheap agricultural products there like sweet pomelo, lanzones, durian, and others would flood the Luzon and Visayan regions.
That would be a multiplier-effect for the people of the province that could boost their standard of living.
Another economic phenomenon, just like our Iloilo lesson, we in Pangasinan and Dagupan City should be ashamed of.
(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too attotomortz@yahoo.com)

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