Punchline

Killing Binmaley tourism potential slowly

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

THE protest of homeowners and resort owners in Barangay Buenlag in Binmaley against the construction of a dike along the baywalk is meritorious.

The DPWH cannot insist on constructing a dike fronting the resorts as the only option to protect the baywalk. Surely, there are other designs and concepts that can serve both the interests of the government and the private sector. What should not happen is for government to unilaterally decide on the construction without any consultation with the affected sectors and residents.

I am dumbfounded that Binmaley Mayor Sammy Rosario did not and has not even lifted a finger to seek a suspension of the construction to allow for a dialogue to take place. The dike as being constructed today will, without a doubt, totally diminish the potential of the town’s beach front as a primary tourist destination that can give Lilngayen and Dagupan a run for their money. 

What is even alarming about the continuing construction are the pipe outlets directed out to the beach that will flush out all forms liquid wastes from the beachfront. These are exactly the pipe outlets that caused the pollution of the Boracay beach

Cong Pol Bataoil, whose initiative and bright idea spurred the construction of the baywalk that introduced a new lifestyle to many local residents, also should not take the resistance of DPWH at its face value. There are new studies how the bridges and structures can be protected from force of waves and undercurrent. A dialogue and willingness of all sectors to work together for an acceptable compromise solution can make that possible. 

What is simply totally unacceptable and unproductive is for DPWH to resist any call for change in the design without considering the damage it has done and will do to the tourism potential of the town and the impact on the livelihood of the fishermen.

Binmaley has the full potential of a being a major beach destination in Pangasinan, DPWH shouldn’t kill that prospect and deprive the Binmaleyans of a profitable livelihood in tourism.

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MACARTHUR LANDED IN BLUE BEACH. There are more testimonies that point to the fact that Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed in Blue Beach (Dagupan City) than on any area further from Dagupan. Not in San Fabian. Not in Lingayen. Not in Binmaley.

Mike Villa-Real, vice president of Philippine Veterans Bank and point person of the bank in promoting our WWII veterans’ legacy, posted on his Facebook account the picture of Gen. MacArthur wading through the beach as recorded by photographer Carl Mydans and whose caption he quoted: “Gen. MacArthur landed in Bonuan Blue Beach, Dagupan during the Lingayen Gulf Landings.”

With that, Mike wrote: “Hope this would help clear up the local debate there on where he actually landed.”

Now, may I add to the Dagupan trivia landing.

I’m posting below a picture I found of my father (in trench coat) circa 1945, standing beside Gen. MacArthur as they were about to enter the general’s appointed temporary headquarters at the West Central School compound.

What the picture appears to saying is: MacArthur found it convenient to set up his headquarters in Dagupan City shortly after he landed because his main ship was anchored at the Blue Beach.

I rest my case for Dagupan City.

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PAYBACK FOR BSL. I’m afraid the LI-FE camp just got a one-two-three knockout punch with the filing of a civil case against Vice Mayor Brian Lim’s dad – former Mayor Benjie Lim and his businessman-friend Jose Mariano Cuña over the Awai land deal that resulted in the city’s indefensible loss of P16 million.

Perhaps, this political nightmare for LI-FE could have been avoided if only the family of VM Brian had helped Cuña return the P16-M that the city government demanded. That he (and Cuña) ignored the two demand letters was a costly miscalculation of the political will of his family’s political archenemy, Mayor Belen Fernandez.

The Lims obviously didn’t think Mayor Belen would have it in herself to file a civil case against their patriarch who by the way has not been seen nor heard of since the eve of May 2013 elections after he collapsed and was rushed to the Makati Medical Center.

The case filed presented double-sided blade that cut into VM Brian’s political life – how to defend his father’s integrity and how to parry the blows on his campaign following the principle of the fruit of the tree.

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VINDICATION. Personally, The PUNCH finds vindication in the filing of the case. We were the lone voice that exposed the details of the insidious attempt of the Lim administration to defraud the city government on the first year of BSL as mayor.

We brought to the public the details of the transaction for the 30-hectare in Barangay Awai in San Jacinto, from the time a sham rally that was staged in Bonuan demanding the closure of the dumpsite to justify the establishment of a sanitary landfill for the city, to the timeline and details of the purchase of the land by Cuña from the original landowners, to the railroading of the resolution of the city council to approve the purchase in spite of the legal complications posed by tenants, the business relationship  between Mr. Lim and Cuña and the illegal profiteering that was being manipulated to make the city government lose without any thought of accountability.

Even our efforts to call the Lim administration to produce the land title after paying P16-M were never echoed inside the city hall.  After the city treasurer and city auditor posed no objection to the immediate payment of P16-M, both did not find the failure of Cuña to produce the land title that establishes ownership of the city government as irregular. 

What we found shocking was the cavalier attitude of the Lim administration in responding to investigation and hearings called by DAR over the complaint of the tenants. Mr. Lim ignored the hearings and didn’t appear the least troubled when DAR decided the city had no right over the purchased land! If that wasn’t called height of his arrogance, I don’t know what is.   

Well, payback time is here, untimely and regrettable it may be for VM Brian. 

VM Brian will have to suffer the brunt of his father’s alleged corrupt activities unless  his father BSL can come forward to clear himself which the city strongly doubts he can. The rumors have it that he is either in coma and has not recovered and certainly will not be in a position to clear himself against incontrovertible documentary evidence available to the city government, or is well and fully recovered. Nobody knows for sure except for the fact that the true state of his health has remained a well-guarded secret of the family since 2103.

Alas, that secret will have to give way to the legal system that demands accountability.

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