Playing with Fire

What a feat!

By Gonzalo Duque

WE doff our hat once more to the Dagupan City athletes for ending up as a back-to-back champion in the Region 1 Athletic Association (R1AA) Meet, and to the special someone who made all these possible — Mayor Belen Fernandez.

This after Dagupan stunned all its rivals and nailed down its second title in this year’s R1AA meet held in Laoag City from March 6 to 11, eclipsing its performance the first time around when it emerged champion last year in Alaminos City.

Definitely, the honor goes to Mayor Belen Fernandez, City Schools Division Superintendent Lorna Bugayong and the Dagupan City Sports Commission, whose good teamwork and guidance inspired athletes to work extra-harder to ensnare the elusive gold.

Note that this phenomenon is happening only now, not during the term of then Mayor Benjie Lim when the best that the city could do was to be cited as “best in uniform.” Dagupan didn’t do any better during the terms of then Mayors Al Fernandez, Libring Reyna and Opring Manaois.

I say that Mayor Belen beats them all for bringing glory and honor to Dagupan as back-to-back champion in the R1AA Meet, a feat that will surely be etched in the history of the city.

Surprisingly, it takes a superwoman in the person of Mayor Belen to push Dagupan finally to the top of the R1AA. Her predecessors, who were all men, also tried but failed miserably.

 Her guts, patience, superb determination and commitment transformed the city’s core of young athletes, in just a short period of time to be of championship caliber.

Belen’s sacrifices initially paid off  when Dagupan landed first runner-up, in 2016, then repeated it in 2017, or just a breath away from the title.

With Belen, DepEd and the DCSC working ceaselessly to bring out the best among the local athletes, Dagupan dramatically pulled away to earn a historic first in the R1AA, where they ensnared 87 gold medals as compared to 72 last year.

What a feat!

Definitely, Mayor Belen Fernandez, who’s behind this awesome sports miracle, deserves another term or we’ll go back to just content ourselves to just being “best in uniform” and not the best in the playing field.

Congratulations Dagupan athletes and Mabuhay to the city’s number one sports patron, Mayor Belen Fernandez!

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What’s Belen secret that enabled Dagupan to shine and beat all its rivals in the R1AA meet for the last two years?

First, she saw to it that the youth, the children of Dagupan are worth investing in if not dying for.

She organized the Dagupan City Sports Commission whom she tasked with the duty of mapping out strategies to put sports in the city in all fields to higher levels.

Remember, because of her soft heart for the young, whom she dedicated some of her important programs and projects, Dagupan was adjudged as the nation’s most child friendly city in 2018, a national accolade that the city will likely earn again this year.

She did not only build multi-storey classrooms as well as gymnasiums for the learners but also hired top-notched coaches and trainors to hone them in their favorite sports..

Instead of doing away with the Olympic-size swimming pool built for the 1995 Palarong Pambansa just like what her immediate predecessor had wanted to do during his reign, she improved it so it can serve its other purpose as a training venue for young swimmers.

Don’t you know that under Belen’s watch, hundreds of children in the city have learned to swim through the yearly Summer Sports Camp, who can be trained further for the pool of reserve swimmers?

Dagupan today is R1AA’s swimming champion for four consecutive years now–all because  the city exploited full use of its Olympic-sized swimming pool for the regular training of local swimmers.

Incidentally, this facility is the only one of its kind in Pangasinan today.

For placing Dagupan in the nation’s sporting map, Mayor  Belen proved that she’s a lot smarter than perhaps all the mayors in the past.

For all these, Belen certainly deserves one last final term office!

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