Random Thoughts

BOARDWALK OF COASTAL ROAD?  Or cop versus cop. Or should I say police general versus police colonel? But let’s include in the battleground the Department of Public Works and Highway.

It’s about the the boardwalk project of retired police general and 2nd District Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil that should be referred to as coastal road, according to retired Senior Supt. Sonny Verzosa. Both are from Lingayen.

Colonel Sonny, as he is called by many local newsmen, cried foul to the ongoing construction of the boardwalk that was originally built at the beachfront in the Capitol building in Lingayen that is now extended up to Binmaley.

Col. Sonny has been speaking in radio programs expressing his concern about it, ranging from the alleged substandard work of the structures being built to corruption.

In one of his posts in his Facebook page, Col. Sonny wrote: Kung titignan mo yon riprap parang mataas pero nakapatung lang pala sa buhangin. As sure as the sun rises in the east, the riprap will give way once the sand erodes. Anak ng pusa talagang niloloko nyo na mga taong bayan.”

He continued, “You are giving false sense of security to the residents in the area knowing they are protected by that sanamagan riprap tapos ampaw lang pala yon protection nila! Mapapamura ka talaga eh – Tapos sasabihin nyo ‘Acts of God’!”

Mad. Yes, Col. Sonny is mad.

He also pointed to the poor protection of the riprap which he said is “constructed with cobble stones (bigger than pebbles but smaller than boulders) and stacked up only without any binding material like; cement or gabion wires. Ang galing naman nag design nito! It’s obvious DPWH engineers don’t give a damn whether this project will last or not. Basta pitpit sigue … Sigurado yan pagna-washout yan isisisi kay God. Ang rason nila ‘Acts of God’.”

Here’s another post: “A portion of the on going drainage canal project along the Lingayen – Binmaley Baywalk… but do you think it will serve its purpose! Common sense dictates that the fine beach sand will fill up this canal before rainwater comes rushing in. Do DPWH engineers consider other factors like environmental when making engineering plans? Villagers in the area know better than you… pitpit lang alam nyo!!!

Alikas ko manbura-buray sangi to la nen Col. Sonny ed pasnok to. Kalma lang Colonel. Thank God we had the chance to talk to Congressman Pol Thursday night.

The usually soft-spoken congressman said he respects what Col. Sonny thinks (and writes). “It’s part of democracy. I have nothing against them…Talagang ganyan,” he said. He said he encourages people to be vigilant so that projects like the quality of the project by agencies concerned is assured.

Then, he said the project for which he is instrumental in sourcing out its funds is named as Project Lingayen Gulf Baywalk. Nowhere in the document in the project that it refers to it as coastal road, he said.

It is a baywalk because it is designed for tourism purposes, he added. (Honestly, I’m one of the tens of thousands enjoying our walk and the beach view in that area).

Bataoil also pointed out that in times of emergency or and an alternate route is needed, it can also be be used for that purpose. “As years go by, maybe beyond our generations, that shoreline in Lingayen Gulf might extend because that’s a natural phenomenon,” he said.

“And somewhere in time, that baywalk might already be too far away from the shoreline so it’s up to the future leaders later to decide if they it should be retained as a baywalk or for another purpose,” he said.

On the issue why drainage is necessary, Bataoil said DPWH told him it is a needed component to ensure that it will last long (referring to the main carriageway). “If you build a house, there is a provision for drainage and in like manner, one also makes a provision of drainage for the baywalk.

Okay, both of them have valid points.

But I wondered why Col. Sonny was suddenly crying foul over this project that has already been in existence for some years and still being continued up to now?

 “Baka may maapektuhan kayang property ang mga Verzosa sa continuation ng project na ito?” one friend asked.

Now I remember that sometime in February I attended a wedding reception held in a famous resort fronting the beach in Lingayen where tables and chairs were set up at the shoreline.

I saw a cemented portion at the right side of the resort facing the sea along the shoreline which was used as parking area. “Government project ba ito o pinagawa ng resort management?” I asked myself.

Pero putol yung cemented road. Then, I got curious. Why?

With this running issue, my curiosity peaked.  “Hindi kaya karugtong yun ng baywalk project pero na cut sa portion ng resort na yun kung saan sila nagsasagawa ng mga kasalan?”

I browsed my files and found out the resort was owned by someone surnamed Verzosa. Oh, no, could it be Col. Sonny? But my grapevine said it’s a very close relative of the good colonel.

Pak, pak, ganern pala.—Tita Roces


 A REFERENDUM? NUTS! – After the “antis” were roundly beaten in the series of public consultations (on the planned city hall transfer) in the barangays, Councilor Red Erfe-Mejia again started making the rounds demanding for a referendum, despite the legal opinion shared by lawyers that a referendum on the issue is  not applicable. The issue at bar is a simple draft ordinance that can be decided by the councilors as representatives of the people.

After participating in the public consultations where he was allowed to say his piece each time, taking as much time as he wanted, and failing to get support from the barangays, his goal is obviously simply to continue delaying consideration of measure in the city council.

To justify his demand for a referendum, he even had the temerity to say that not many people attended the consultations and a referendum will allow all people of Dagupan to vote on the matter. Tsk, tsk, tsk.  He favored the consultations then, now he tells the people it was not legitimate.

Question now is: Will the majority in he city council be bullied by one man to again further delay the proceedings in the council?

A referendum is deemed illegal and inappropriate by R.A 7156 or the Local Government Code, and it can not be made legal even by a “hakot” crowd demanding for it.

As President Abraham Lincoln once said: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Lawyers maintain that RA 7156 allows only for the holding of a public consultation when the matter for consideration is a simple draft resolution. (In this case, consultations were done in six barangay clusters).

Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo, a lawyer, said a referendum can only be allowed when there is a recall proceeding initiated against a certain public official or when a new town to be carved from a bigger town is created or when the issue is of national importance such as amendments of the constitution or changing the name of the Philippines into something else.

For instance, Congress called for a referendum thru the Commission on Elections when the people of Urdaneta and Alaminos. were asked on whether they favor the approved legislation making their towns as cities.

Told this, perhaps he can convince Cong. Christopher de Venecia to file a bill in Congress calling a referendum in Dagupan City to decide on the transfer of the city hall. Let’s see if he can fool the congressman or make the congressman make a fool of himself.  Leonardo Micua

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