Punchline

Mayor Brian’s legacy mantra

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

I hope Dagupan Mayor Brian Lim was correctly quoted when he said “good government projects must not be stopped simply because of politics…” or something to that effect because if that was true, he has a great legacy waiting for him!

Not too many politicians these days would dare think that way. For their own selfish reasons, most politicians would want full credit for any project launched under his or her name not realizing that by improving on a project started by his/her predecessor, people do forget the ‘original’ and get enamored with the improvement, and people are ready to give full credit to the successor.  This is the legacy of Mayor Belen that certainly Mayor Brian can offset if he follows his mantra closely.

Mayor Belen did not articulate that mantra, she just did it.

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR BRIAN. Take the Bangus Festival` as an example. That was started by Mayor Benjie Lim in 2003. When Mayor Belen Fernandez took over the reins of the city, she had no second thoughts about continuing and expanding the celebration that was not originally started by her. To this day, memories of the annual grand celebration of Bangus Festival are of those she organized. He can change that, too.   

Another program that Mayor Belen labored to develop and expand was the sports program of the city which was launched by Mayor Al Fernandez, and continued by Mayor Benjie. Her efforts paid off! Check out the numerous awards and recognitions that the Dagupan team won rebranded as Balon Dagupan.

The development of the Tondaligan Park was set off by Mayor Benjie. And Mayor Belen took it upon herself to further expand the development. What Dagupeños see and enjoy today has the Balon Dagupan trademark.

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LAST IMPRESSIONS LAST. But nothing is permanent in this world. Memories of man are limited by what he sees, not by what he saw in the past.

So if Mayor Brian has it in himself to pursue his mantra, he has a better chance at giving the last impression because Mayor Belen has a number of still unfinished projects and he can very well leave his mark on. He need not come up with novel ideas, just introduce creative ideas to improve on the programs with his footprint.

Mayor Brian has laid the premise for his administration to improve on ongoing programs of Mayor Belen, and to set his own mark on these and no one can deny him what’s due him. He’s the mayor.

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IS IT ABOUT POLITICS? However, I note serious missteps this early that deviate from his mantra.

There is the Waste-to-Worth program initiated by Mayor Belen. It’s a program hailed by environmentalists worldwide. But early on, he already indicated that he wants another waste management project. Why? Is it because Mayor Belen started the work on the baseline? Given the status of the program, he has a lot going on for him by simply pursuing and continuing the discussions with the project partner, Sure Global Philippines Inc.

While he balked initially at the idea of pursuing it, he’s entitled to change his mind.  But the bigger consideration that he must consider is whether the project will make him if he continues it, or unmake him if he pulls out the city government from the agreement. Unmake him because by refusing to comply with the agreement, he and the city government will make him criminally and civilly liable that can make the city lose P1-billion overnight.  On this one, he can make it easy for himself by being enthusiastic to keep the city’s commitment.

Then there is the evacuation facility that Mayor Belen initiated in Barangay Pugaro. It appears that Mayor Brian is not convinced about the practical aspect of an evacuation center for the benefit of the island residents. Rumors have it that he intends to stop the evacuation facility and instead pursue the discontinued Tsunami Hill that was started by his father Mayor Benjie, the project that geologists found completely impractical if not irrational. But he has the opportunity to make an evacuation facility that will address all environmental concerns in the island.  But why is he not inclined to continue? Because of politics?

Then there is the budgeted fund for the construction of the new city hall. He has indicated he wants to stop the construction and shift the budget instead for social projects.  Duh? A new city hall is long overdue and is therefore, a good project. His is the opportunity to improve on the design and construction plans with which to leave his mark, Tatak Brian! Besides, the idea of a new city hall was broached by his father Mayor BSL… it was shifted to another direction after the MC Adore Hotel, BSL’s original plan, was lost to the Cabangon-Chua group. Mayor Belen picked up the ball and planted the seed for it. For Mayor Brian to simply turn around and thumb it down would be inconsistent with his mantra. Because of politics?

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QUO VADIS JOEY? What’s happening to Dagupan Councilor Joey Tamayo?

He who authored and saw to the passage of an ordinance legitimizing the donation of a land to the city, yet questions the background of the same ordinance today.

It’s about the land donation of the Pablico family of a portion of its property to the city government which in turn was donated to six families. But because of an unverified rumor about the ownership and donation, he launched an inquiry believing it would salvage his honor for crafting the ordinance if he questions the veracity of the rumor.

By questioning the motive of the family at this stage, during a regular session with media in tow, instead of quietly validating the rumor and defend his efforts that led to the ordinance, he only incriminated himself as having been careless in the past having an ordinance passed with the city government’s imprimatur on the donation and turnover of the land.

And by recklessly and irresponsibly attempting to shift the blame to the past city administrator and city legal officer for the rumored mess, he exposed himself as politician who cannot be depended upon to stand up for himself, to be accountable.

But bully for him, ironically it was still the family that stood up for him, he who doubted the family’s integrity. But what he cannot salvage is his demeanor as a politician, that he cannot be expected to stand up on his own, one who’d rather blame anyone but himself.

Actually, I thought I already saw a hint of that when he became defensive when I said he should be held accountable should the Dagupan Bangus brand be ruined because of the passage of the city ordinance protecting the Bulacan bangus over Dagupan Bangus in the city.

Now this…. tsk tsk.

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