Random Thoughts

Belen’s performance hard to beat

By Leonardo Micua

Shorn of endorsement from the Iglesia ni Cristo, while all of her teammates from vice mayor down to the last candidates got the nod of the religious sect, Mayor Belen Fernandez is still on her way to winning third and final term of office. 

This was indicated by pollsters and veteran political analysts, among them was veteran media practitioner and pollster Art Valenzuela. He maintains that because of her performance that transformed Dagupan into one of the fastest growing city in northern Philippines, Belen will be given a final term of office by her grateful constituents.

No amount of bashing or black propaganda, including vote-buying by his rival, can stop the Belen bandwagon, said Valenzuela, president and chief executive officer of Vox Populi whose outfit earlier polled that Belen is way ahead over her opponent.

It is well to mention that also picked by the INC were Belen’s runningmate Bryan Kua and all their candidates for councilor namely Michael Fernandez, Jose Netu Tamayo, Dennis Canto, Karlos Reyna, Marvin Fabia, Chito Samson, Kap Tess Coquia and Emong Vallejos.

Why the INC left out Belen is a question only the top leaders of INC could only answer. But Belen took this in stride as she had long anticipated it. In her previous post in social media, she still thanked the INC members and showed to them she still loves them and holds no rancor in her heart.

 We asked Art Valenzuela if the black propaganda against Fernandez, especially on the “tabon” issue, affected the chances of Belen getting reelected, Valenzuela answered no.

 He said the assertion by the bashers of unproven allegation without any scientific basis meant nothing when everyone, knew that floods were happening at the same time even in the most developed cities in the world.

He said Dagupeños know that Dagupan sank by about a meter deep during the 1990 earthquake, one of the reasons why Dagupan is already prone to yearly flooding.

Dagupeños should even be grateful that Mayor Fernandez and Congressman Christopher de Venecia are doing something to address this problem through the massive dredging of the Pantal and Calmay rivers at no cost at all to the city government. (Both Toff and Belen are now also building the first coastal road to San Fabian which will soon be linked westward to Binmaley and Lingayen).

“I sense that Dagupeños realize that if Belen and Toff are given another term, they can make Dagupan City move further forward and faster,” Valenzuela said.

Proof of this is their realization that it was Belen who made Dagupan City the richest city in the whole Region 1 as confirmed by the Commission on Audit, he added. Also it was Belen who transformed Dagupan as the most competitive city in the region and among the most competitive in the Philippines.

And she’s the only mayor in the region to attain a P1 billion economy budget for services for a city. Hindi yan madali because, malaki ang utang ng Dagupan when she started as mayor. She was able to reverse the situation after only six years in office.

He added he has no doubt many are now benchmarking Dagupan as a model for investments and public service.

Asked if the votes of the Iglesia ni Cristo can decide the election in Dagupan in this election, Valenzuela said he doubts because the registered voters in the city is over 107,000 .   

He cited the several cases: incumbent Mayor Al Fernandez was backed by INC in 2010, yet  he lost to come-backing Mayor Benjamin Lim; in 2016, former Cong, Mark Cojuangco had the backing of INC but he was beaten handsomely by Amado Espino III; Gov. Amado Espino Jr. won his reelection in 2007 even if his opponent Victor Agbayani was backed by INC.

He added that in1992, reelectionist Gov. Rafael Colet was endorsed by INC but he was beaten by Gov. Aguedo Agbayani in their return bout.

On the rampant vote-buying and vote-selling, Valenzuela had this to say: “Pangit talaga, It now comes to a point that those who are poor but have the skills and talents to serve as public servants, have no more chance to win for lack of money to buy votes… kaya, maski na incompetent but rich spoiled brat, he can win against candidates who are more skillful in political management than the former.” 

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