Mockery with Bulacan Bangus Festival

By May 4, 2021Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


THE Brian Lim administration made a mockery of the Dagupan bangus industry and the Bangus Festival with show of dispersal of bangus fingerlings at the Dawel River.

It was obvious that he and his barkada didn’t really care if Dagupeños joined them to celebrate the Bangus Festival because he decided to hold it while Dagupan continues to struggle with the continued local transmission of COVID-19.

That, and the expected pointed advisory and warning from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea himself who signed the declaration of April 30 as a non-working holiday, that health and social distancing should be strictly observed, what kind of a festival was Mr. Lim thinking of? A festival without people participating in the celebration? Obviously, that was the plan.

The festival Mr. Lim and his barkada had in mind had nothing to with celebrating the local bangus industry and the Dagupan Bangus brand. The “Bangus Festival” was held for one purpose only: To cover-up the take-over of the bangus industry and Dagupan Bangus brand by traders and growers from Bulacan and other towns outside Pangasinan.

Proof? Mayor Brian has not ordered an investigation into the reported daily arrival of Bulacan bangus in far excess of the stipulated provisions of the city ordinance he himself crafted to allow the official entry of Bulacan bangus. Instead, he orders the holding of a sham “Bangus Festival” to counter the truth about Bulacan bangus having completely invaded the city. He wanted to create the impression that the Dagupan bangus growers are having a heyday, and to label reports about the daily dumping of bangus from Bulacan and the takeover of the brand as fake news!

Note: Since Bulacan bangus is of inferior quality, it is sold at a lower price (but profitable) with claims that it’s still Dagupan Bangus but cheaper for benefit of consumers.

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BSL IS TURNING IN HIS GRAVE. While his father, former Mayor Benjie Lim left a legacy of developing and promoting the Dagupan bangus brand across the continents that allowed bangus growers to benefit from it, his son Mayor Brain Lim is leaving a legacy that left the Dagupan bangus growers at the mercy of the Bulacan bangus traders, and leaving the local industry on its own to survive the takeover of the Dagupan Bangus brand to alien bangus traders.

 I personally wonder what Councilor Celia Lim, loyal wife of the late Mayor BSL, and doting mother of Mayor Brian, feels about this – seeing her son who has no qualms trashing his father’s legacy in return for exchange for pecuniary gains from his daily protection order of Bulacan bangus to feed on his barkada’s greed.       

 Will she put her foot down to stop the son from trashing her husband’s memory? Perhaps not, but surely Mayor BSL must be turning in his grave. And those around Mayor BSL that broke their backs to stage a meaningful Bangus Festival must be clenching their fists out of frustration.  

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CITY IS BACK IN WAR VS. DRUGS – When nobody was looking, the illegal drug situation in Dagupan City has already turned from bad to worse, if not to worst since Mayor Brian Lim took the helm in 2019.

No thanks to Mayor Brian, there are already two barangays, Barangay IV and Barangay Mamalingling, in the city that are drug-cleared. This was made possible by newly appointed police chief P/Lt. Col Benjie Tremor. Thank God for his appointment, the anti-illegal war in the city is back on track!

During the time of Mayor Belen Fernandez, drug syndicates were on the run. But her attempt to have the city drug-cleared could not be realized because of one or two barangays could not establish the whereabouts of known drug dealers in their barangays. It actually meant the drug personalities took off to unknown places, so the barangays were effectively cleared. Unfortunately, establishing the whereabouts and status of the identified drug dealers is one of the criteria of PDEA to approve an application to be  drug-cleared.

So, under her watch, records show 29 were officially drug cleared. But were it not for the technicalities required by PDEA, Dagupan City was effectively drug-cleared!

Now comes Mayor Brain who did nothing to pursue the drug war in the city from Day One!

Notwithstanding the official tolerance demonstrated by the Lim administration, the city police is slowly winning the war again, starting with the two barangays. Thanks to Mayor Brian, the city’s 29 barangays are all drug-infected.

I commiserate with chief Benjie Tremor who’s been made to inherit the drug problems that worsened over the last two years.  These were indications that the illegal drugs trafficking in the city was being protected by city hall. Worse, there have been reports that some henchmen of Mayor Brian were among those arrested, and or already identified as drug personalities in the city.

To learn that PDEA discovered and raided active drug dens in the city was certainly a shocker, not after drug syndicates operating in the city have long scampered to other areas because business prospects were no longer promising since Mayor Belen took over.

But I have reason to be optimistic that the city’s police station, under Mr. Tremor, one of PRRD’s trusted men in the war on drugs, will restore the fear in the hearts of drug syndicates with him and PDEA leading the drug war in the city. Good hunting, Mr. Tremor!

Protection of illegal drug trafficking is a regular activity of drug syndicates. For illegal drugs to proliferate in the city, someone inside city hall is earning a pile every month for the protection. Guess who?

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LITTLE INCONVENIENCE.  I pray that the provincial board will not seek to stop the current strict border entry policy of the provincial IATF.  

The COVID situation in the NCR+ has not normalized and the surge continues. Then reported attempts of confirmed COVID patients seeking medical attention in Pangasinan also continue. These are external exigencies affecting the campaign of the provincial government and it behooves the latter to protect the bubble it is currently enjoying.  

The MGCQ level enjoyed by the province is precisely the result of successful efforts of the provincial, town and city governments to contain the spread of local transmission of the virus. But if the province takes its MGCQ status literally, to the extent of completely opening its doors, then we are risking losing that status earlier than the province deserves. 

That little inconvenience that Pangasinenses suffer through border checkpoints is what will save our board members, their friends and relatives from being infected with COVID-19.

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PROTECT NTF-ELCAC. Over the past weeks, the leaders of the political opposition led by LP and the Makabayan bloc, have been busy badgering the Duterte administration over the latter’s offensive operations against terrorists in our midst.

Their weaponized red-tagging strategy is again employed to harass military and police offensives against them.

Soon, the media offensive of the CPP-NPA-NDF on red-tagging to thwart the government’s campaign will be seen in Pangasinan. To offset this, it’d be useful for the provincial government and the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office to start planning and launch an intensive information campaign on the activities of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in barangays.

Since any information campaign by the insurgents will definitely dwell on misinformation, i.e., EJKs, fear of red-tagging, human rights violations of Anti-Terrorism Law, the provincial government and PPPO should already prepare to argue these in the barangays.

Close the doors on the CPP-NPA-NDF and Makabayan bloc now.

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