Dagupan exec: City government not giving new extension to beach shed owners

DAGUPAN CITY — Enough is enough.

This was pointed out by City Administrator Farah Decano when the Dagupan city government started tearing down on Tuesday some 100 or so beach sheds put up at Tondaligan Park by different persons offering these for rent to beachgoers.

Torn down too were extended canopies, unsightly comfort rooms and bathrooms, as well as sari-sari stores attached to the beach sheds, all of which are considered eyesores.

The owners of these structures asked for another extension of the deadline given them by the city government, but Decano said these had been warned many times to leave, that is why the city government is not giving in anymore to their new requests.

The first warning was made in August but the shed owners sought for a 60-day extension which was granted by Mayor Belen Fernandez. When the deadline lapsed in October, they again asked for extension, which was also granted to allow them to cash in on the expected influx of visitors to the beach during the Yuletide season.

But when personnel of the city engineer’s office showed up to finally begin the demolition on January 23, they held a rally and wanted to stop the demolition again.

The demolition team personally spearheaded by City Engineer Virgina Rosario returned the next day to finally tear down the structures.

City Administrator Decano explained the clearing of the area will pave the way for the rehabilitation of Tondaligan Park, a project being supported by Pangasinan Fourth District Rep. Christopher de Venecia who intends to construct a bay walk where tourists and visitors can frolic.

“We are doing this to make Tondaligan Park as a source of tourism. This is not only for the sake of our bangus but also for tourism as we have to address this too,” she explained.

She cited records of the One-Stop Business Center (OSBC) showing that there are around 160 existing Tondaligan shed owners majority of whom are not paying their dues to the city, hence they are not following the law.

Only 50 were found paying their regulatory fees regularly and in recognition of this, their sheds will be spared but will also be asked to leave eventually.

The rest, Decano said, had been delinquent since 2003.

“We had been tolerant about their stay in the beach and in fact they had been warned many times to remove their structures, but all these went unheeded,” she explained.

Under the rehabilitation plan of Tondaligan, all sheds will be opened through and through and not walled for any one to have an unobstructed view of the sea from the road.

As to the claim of the beach shed owners that they have not seen the plan for the rehabilitation of Tondaligan Park yet, Decano accused them of “lying”.

She said most the beach owners were present when former Planning and Development Coordinator Romeo Rosario, now a technical consultant of the city government, presented the plan to the Sangguniang Panlungsod sometime in September last year.

At the same time, Decano said that before Mayor Fernandez left for the United States to attend a Forum on Best Practices on Federalism and Good Governance, she directed the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) to prepare a package of assistance for the affected beach shed owners.

She refused to discuss this package yet till after Mayor Fernandez arrives on February 5. Leonardo Micua/PNA-northboundasia.com