DAGUPAN MADE HISTORY – The gritty Dagupan athletes wrote history for the city when they clinched the 2008 Region 1 Athletic Association (R1AA) meet in style, finally ending their title drought since the meet began in mid-70s, even when it was still known as the Ilocos Region Athletic Association (IRAA) meet.
It was historic because no other period in the annals of the city did our athletes from both public and private schools achieve such a rare feat that finally acknowledged Dagupan as a powerhouse in sports in Region 1.
We recall that since the administration of then Mayor Alipio Fernandez Jr., the city never went past fifth place. Dagupan was never in contention nor was it expected to be in all past R1AA meets. Suddenly, the city started to attract some interests in 2013 when Mayor Belen Fernandez assumed office as mayor for the first time. After 3 years of preparation, the city’s athletes found their composure and pocketed the first runner-up honors in 2016 and 2017.
No other person was responsible for the resurgence of sports in Dagupan but Mayor Belen Fernandez who was once a basketball player of her beloved alma mater Luzon Colleges, now University of Luzon. As a true sportswoman, she understood what athletes feel and need when they face their opponents in sports.
Recalling how it was for all athletes then, she made sure that before the Balon Dagupan athletes and players were sent off to Alaminos City for the 2018 R1AA, they all received a P4,000 training allowance. Only then did she feel justified to rally the team to “bring home the championship”.
With this as rallying cry of the chief, the motivated team did exactly what the mayor asked them to achieve for the city and for themselves. They all gave their best and finally delivered the championship to the city after playing second-fiddle for two consecutive years to other teams.
This year, they closely studied what went wrong in the last R1AA meet and agreed on a strategy how to accomplish their mission this year.
While the choice of Dagupan as venue of the swimming event in the R1AA meet gave the Balon Dagupan swimmers an advantage, their superiority was never doubted by those who watched them plunge into the water. Their medals -32 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze medals – spoke for them. Their 2018 win showed that swimming is, indeed, a veritable gold mine for Dagupan.
Fortunately, Mayor Belen assumed the post in time and saved the Olympic-size swimming pool built for the Palarong Pambansa in 1995 from being demolished as planned by then mayor Benjie Lim. The swimming pool was already completely neglected, left to tear away and exposed to all elements.
Belen, with the Dagupan City Sports Commission (DCSC) that she organized, had the swimming pool rehabilitated and refurbished and opened it for regular training of swimmers, putting Ms. Finnela Sim, a former member of the De la Salle Green Archers swimming team during her college days, in charge.
Mayor Fernandez worked closely with the Department of Education to prepare the athletes in tip top condition and provided the needed logistical support, i.e., uniforms, shoes, sporting gears, etc. aside from their training allowances, that no mayors before her were prepared to give.
She hired professional coaches in swimming, archery and in other sports discipline to help prepare the athletes of DepEd-Dagupan.
All these produced the desired results in addition to medals in swimming, Dagupan collected 10 gold medals in arnis, seven in gymnastics, six in taekwondo, one in secondary basketball for boys and and one gold in the new and unfamiliar sport pencac silat.
Today Dagupan athletes and players are looked up to not only in R1AA meets but also in the Palarong Pambansa and the Batang Pinoy National Games.
As athletics proved to be the Achilles heel of Dagupan, Mayor Fernandez is mulling on acquiring a land in the city where an Olympic-size oval can be constructed as cinder path for the city’s undiscovered great athletes. – Leonardo Micua
PEACE BE WITH YOU — It looks like change has come, for the Pangasinan Police Office at least, in extending invites for the media about events happening about police matters.
Some media practitioners have noticed this. It is very obvious, and judging from the exchange of notes I have gathered from media colleagues, it’s a welcome move.
The sudden positive change was noticed when Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula took over as police regional director.
We met Sapitula only once since he became RD of Region 1. He looks amiable and media friendly.
Newsmen surmised this is possibly the reason why the PPO suddenly became sweet and nice with its invites. Follow the leader kumbaga.
You see, the observation especially of the ladies in media, is that when Chief Inspector Norman Florentino became the head of Police Community Relations and spokesman of PPO, they hardly get invited to cover police events in PPO.
Worse, merong favoritism daw.
I must admit I received invitation once in a blue moon in my Messenger account invites for media coverage in PPO. Others don’t at all.
I receive spot reports from PD Lee, not from Florentino, who is supposed to do the task for the media. Others don’t get any spot report at all.
I have also stopped sending text messages to request for some added info to Florentino, especially on statistics, as there was not even a courtesy reply from him.
But what elates me and the rest of media is the change of heart of our dear PCR.
Did someone whisper to Sir Florentino to mend his ways and be friendly to the media? Now media friends tell me imbitado na sila for media coverage. Hurray for that.
Our friends also hope sana tuluy-tuloy na Sir ang pagbabago para maganda ang samahan.
And please, be accessible too, to all, not just to a selected few, for media interviews.
Para peace na talaga.—Eva Visperas
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