We will all rise under my term—Belen
“NO Dagupeño will be left behind under my administration”.
This was stressed by former Mayor Belen Fernandez during another campaign caucus in Sitio Calamiong in Barangay Bonuan Gueset, where she made a last-ditch appeal to the voters to vote straight Team Belen-BK so real progress that they have not yet seen in their beloved city for the past three years can be had.
She campaigned along with his running mate Vice Mayor Bryan Kua and Councilors Michael Fernandez, Dennis Canto, Teresa Coquia, Luis Samson Jr. Karlos Reyna and Joshua Bugayong, former Councilors Jeslito Seen and Emong Vallejos, Danila Cayabyab and Diane Delano.
Fernandez was instrumental in making Dagupan the first billionaire city in Region 1, which was considered something phenomenal because when she inherited the city government from her predecessor in 2013, the city’s finances were in the red. It then had a deficit if P37 million and even had accumulated unpaid electric and water bills.
On top of that, the city could not pay many of its contractors whom it engaged to undertake some projects,
The survival of her administration that year was short of an economic miracle given its huge big financial deficit. But through moderation of expenses, on top of adopting belt-tightening measures, she succeeded in wiping out the deficit and managed to pay all the arrears of the city.
Many consider the six-year reign of Fernandez as mayor as the golden age of Dagupan having been adjudged as the most competitive city in Region 1 and one of the most competitive in the entire Philippines.
In fact, Dagupan—the only independent component city in Region 1–became the envy of most cities, a model in fiscal management and a sensation overnight. Then, its economy was on a continuous downward trend when she left office.
“Please vote straight Team Belen-BK, which means not only me and Vice Mayor Bryan Kua but also the rest of my team in order to ensure a stable future for Dagupan,” she said. “Together, we can make Dagupan great again”.
Fernandez said she will revive the Dagupan Investment Board which was instrumental in inviting big investors to put up ticket projects in Dagupan, many of which are already operational and the construction of others are still ongoing.
Still ongoing construction is the multi-story Ace Hospital along De Venecia Expressway and the series of condominium and high-end mall and park of Fil Invest in Lucao.
SM Center Dagupan as well as the City Mall in Mayombo all went through the Dagupan Investment Board, Fernandez added.
These ticket projects put up by outside investors created jobs, livelihood and tremendous opportunities to Dagupenos, Fernandez stressed, adding that when all these are completed, they will surely enrich the coffers of Dagupan in terms of taxes that they will pay to the city.
She also vowed to reopen city hall to all Dagupenos after being inaccessible for almost three years, to afford anyone the chance to see their mayor and bring their problems directly to her.
Fernandez was told of the sad experience of a group of fish vendors who wanted to see the mayor to ask for help when they were driven away from the area where they were selling for the last 30 years. They were not allowed to enter the city hall for the reason that “His Honor” was not there.
Vowing to be most visible to her constituents, Fernandez said she longs for the day she can again make around the public market everyday even before the break of dawn.
Corollary to this, Fernandez slammed the present administration for its being a slow foot in reconstructing the long dilapidated Magsaysay Fish Market despite the fact that P10 million was allotted for this project in addition to the other P10 million financial outlay given by the Department of Budget and Management from way back.
She recalled she left a budget for the reconstruction of the Magsaysay Market and wondered where the budget of the same had gone.
According to Fernandez she will stop all “kotong” activities in the city and issued a stern warning to all those responsible once she is already in the saddle, they better pack up or voluntarily resign.
“There will be no kotong under my administration because this malpractice is bleeding the poor and gives them no chance to improve their lives,” Fernandez continued. (Leonardo Micua)
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