MAGANES: Why all the fuss on Dagupan City’s CLUP and Zoning Ordinance?

June 26, 2017 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Lately, critics of Dagupan City Mayor Belen T. Fernandez have came out into the open. They derided her plan to transfer the City Hall to a new site in Lucao District saying that it is a move to benefit the  Fernandez family.. They are now questioning the implementation of the new Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and the Zoning Ordinance, which has been approved by the Hosing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), an agency tasked to review and approve CLUPs.
I could not understand the wisdom of Mayor Fernandez’s critics. The CLUP passed the requirements needed by the HLURB, otherwise it should have been disapproved like the one that was prepared in 2003. The critics claimed mhat the CLUP did not pass the requirements like the “Final Committee Report” of lawyer Alfie Fernandez who was then the chair of Sangguniang Panlungsod’s Committee on Land Use. They also averred  that opposing opinions and views were not included to the documents submitted  to HLURB. In short, the critics said that the documents submitted to HLURB were tampered. They are now crying in the wilderness to nullify the CLUP as well as the Zoning Ordinance.
I can’t help but think deeply of their arguments. Dagupan City’s CLUP and Zoning Ordinance was not the same as that prepared in 2003 as that was disapproved by HLURB.  Beside if that was the same document of CLUP, then it has ended last 2013 given the ten years lifespan of CLUP and Zoning Ordinance. The new CLUP is effective from  2015 up to 2025. This means that the preparation of it attuned to the timely desired changes for development growth of the city.
In preparing the CLUP and Zoning Ordinance, several processes imposed by HLURB have to be followed and observed. Before the multi-sectoral plans have to be prepared, the socio-economic profile (SEP) of the city has to be updated using primary and secondary data. The updated SEP shall be the basis of preparing plans and programs covering sectoral development such as infrastructure, agriculture and fishery, tourism, cooperatives, health and social service, peace and order, environment and ecology, etc. The translated programs will then affect land uses, thus commercial areas, tourism areas, institutional areas, agricultural areas, etc. shall be considered. These changes shall be embodied in a zoning ordinance that will accompany the CLUP.

After the CLUP and Zoning Ordinance have been drafted, these will be presented to the public through multi-sectoral approach. The contents of the draft have to be studied by the public, whether or not, beneficial to them. They have the right to voice out their oppositions, if there, be and these have to be embodied in the minutes of the meeting on public hearing.  After all the arguments have been consolidated, the public will be asked whether they will approved the proposed CLUP and Zoning Ordinance. If majority of the attendees, supports the CLUP and Zoning Ordinance, the Sangguniang Panglunsod prepares a resolution endorsing the same to the mayor who shall then transmit to HLURB for review -approval and rejection. These processes were taught to us when I took a special course on urban and regional planning in the School of Urban and  Regional Planning at the University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus. I have helped Dasol town in the early 2000s in preparing its CLUP and Zoning Ordinance with the late Floro Abella and former Provincial Administrator Raffy Baraan.
Dagupan City’s CLUP and Zoning Ordinance had passed the afore cited requirements, ergo it was approved by HLURB last May this year. The passing of the CLUP and Zoning Ordinance was a tedious process. There were oppositions to it, but then the majority of the city’s aldermen passed it. The minority group had no means to contest it.
Now that the city government of Dagupan City is set to implement its new CLUP and Zoning Ordinance, critics, hopefully not because of politics, have begun to oppose the implementation. They are now challenging the legality of the CLUP and Zoning Ordinance and coming out with nasty comments and the impression that the passage of the documents was tainted with corruption. What is disheartening is the use of social media in expressing opposition of the same. The critics could challenge the CLUP and the Zoning Ordinance to the HLURB or maybe even to the courts. Insinuating corruption is a tall accusation especially if not backed by concrete documents and testimonies of the witnesses.
I am not a Dagupeño but I love Dagupan City. I was once a resident of the city for almost seven years. I have seen its development and even failures particularly when it was devastated by the earthquake in July 1990. I have seen the rubbles caused by the calamity. I have seen also its rise from the effect of the earthquake when politics were set aside. The officials of the city with non-government organizations (NGOs) worked together to make Dagupan City as it is today. With the new CLUP and Zoning Ordinance, we need to see a new city answering needs of time for the Dagupeños.
The city government has to pass the tests of the critics. Through its leaders, Mayor Belen Fernandez, Vice Mayor Brian Lim,  members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, village officials and city employees should work together to make Dagupan City rise up from the slumber of development and progress. While we could not discount the fact that it is still a major city in the northern part of the country, it will be a pity if it will be overtaken by new cities like Urdaneta, Alaminos, San Fernando City in La Union as the premier city of Northern Luzon.
To the critics of Mayor Fernandez, this I have to say. Why don’t we give her the chance to prove her worth as the leader of Dagupan City? Enough of the allegations for corruption under her watch. As I said, if such allegation could be substantiated with pieces of evidence, then file a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman. Politics has to wait in 2019. Let’s work together for the betterment of Dagupan City.
(For comments and suggestions, email me at or Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at Read the online edition of Northern Watch at )

Entry filed under: News.

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