A new order from natural disasters

By July 29, 2022Out of the Fire

By Gonzalo Duque


I first hesitated to write any topic under the sun, but the call of duty made me change my mind. What happened Wednesday in Northern Luzon, which was jolted by a powerful earthquake (Magnitude 5 in Dagupan, Magnitude 6 in La Union and Magnitude 7 in Lagangilang, Abra, which was the quake’s epicenter) must not be taken for granted.

I ask everyone to pray for those who died, hurt and became victims of the earthquake, the strongest ever so far this year and in decades.  There will be many more natural disasters if we believe in prophesies of soothsayers that 2022 will not be a good year in PH.

Well, I can only surmise that based on the You Tube clips on natural disasters, all these could be parts of God’s plan of establishing a new order in the universe.

The war in Ukraine is now entering its sixth month, the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence of new and more lethal Omicron variants, plus the disease Monkey Pox, the world-wide economic recession—which is man-made though— and all kinds of crisis coming to the world and to our country could be signs that God is punishing some of us for our sins.

We can only just pray that God gives us the strength to mitigate our sufferings as we brave all these natural and even man-made calamities that are coming to us in succession.

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Before I give my opinion on the passage of a resolution by the Dagupan Sanggunian Panlungsod (SP) interposing no objection to the development of a 3.7 hectare lot as expansion project of the Eternal Gardens Memorial Park, I want to state that my parents are buried at Eternal Gardens. 

Of course, I’ll favor anything that Eternal Gardens wants to do to improve its premises. But I was informed by my sources that the approval of the SP resolution by a vote of 7-5 by the majority, (a classic example of the tyranny of numbers), undermined the objection raised by residents of Barangay Tapuac. 

So, other than the numbers, the said resolution, is clearly devoid of any merit. Let’s see whether that resolution or application by Eternal Gardens will be vetoed by Mayor Belen Fernandez. She has the final say whether the resolution will be given due course or not. 

I believe that the absence of a public hearing in Barangay Tapuac which the council should have conducted first before endorsing Eternal Gardens’ application rendered the resolution of the Barangay, and the SP null and void.

Public hearing is a very, very important requirement of the Local Government Code, even by the Constitution, and must not be taken for granted. Due process demands that the people should first be consulted on any issue that impacts on their lives and welfare.

The fact that residents of Barangay Tapuac submitted a petition objecting to the backfilling being done by Eternal Gardens sans the imprimatur of the SP, proved the absence of consultation. 

According to my sources, video clips of the massive backfilling of fishponds played at the insistence of the minority showed serious effects on health, sanitation and flooding, not to mention fish kills in adjacent fishponds. 

But I’m quite sure that the railroaded resolution will be vetoed by Mayor Belen once it reaches her desk because a lot of residents of Barangay Tapuac already manifested their objection. 

The majority in the SP must be told that it’s Mayor Belen calls the shots in Dagupan, not them. 

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Congratulations to Mayor Belen Fernandez for being elected Region I Chairman of the League of Cites of the Philippines.

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The earthquake last Wednesday instantly flashed into my memory the sad events that happened on July 16, 1990 earthquake that virtually brought Dagupan to its knees. Before the quake, I was presiding a session of the provincial board as vice governor.  We had to adjourn early at the request of Board Member Romy de Leon (bless his soul) to conduct an ocular inspection of a public school in Lingayen.

As we were traveling to the site, the van that we used suddenly shook. Aware that there was a powerful earthquake, we all alighted. We saw the cemented road ahead of us moving like a wave, like  an accordion. We panicked and asked for God’s mercy.  

As we thought of our respective families, we headed home to Dagupan moving through the long and snail-pace traffic along the Lingayen-Dagupan road. We thanked God, all members of our family were safe. 

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