Dagupan mayor laments: Some councilors blocking city’s progress

DAGUPAN CITY — Mayor Belen Fernandez revealed that some members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) tried to block up to the very end the approval of proposed 10-year Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of Dagupan in a bid to stunt its growth and development.

In a press conference Wednesday night, Fernandez said the executive department has proposed the CLUP to the SP since October 2014 but the latter, particularly its committee on land utilization, sat down on it for a long time.

“When we followed it up, it was only in March 2015 that it was endorsed for public hearings. They conducted public hearings five times and lo and behold, the report was only out May 27 with a recommendation of the chair of that body and another member signing that it (CLUP) be subjected for further study,” she said.

Four other members of the committee dissented on the report of the chairman which was the basis of majority floor leader Councilor Maybelyn Fernandez in including the CLUP as among the items in the agenda during the SP regular session on June 7.

After the confusion caused by the abrupt adjournment of the session by the presiding officer and the reconvening of the session by eight councilors after three minority councilors followed the presiding officer out, the CLUP was approved after brief deliberation.

Mayor Fernandez claimed that despite the argument of Vice Mayor Brian Lim that the CLUP was not validly passed as he already adjourned the session, the people of Dagupan know who among the city officials are continuously blocking the progress of Dagupan.

The mayor said among all the cities in Region 1, Dagupan is the only one which has not updated its CLUP and therefore lost its competitiveness with the neighboring cities.

In meetings of the League of Cities of which she is the incumbent press relations officer, Fernandez said she felt ashamed every time she was asked when the city had last updated its CLUP.

It is the CLUP which the investors first ask when coming to invest in a certain city and the mayor is sad that despite this drawback, some members of the city council are still blocking it.

“To tell you the truth, our CLUP was last updated in 1978. There was an attempt to update it in 2003 under the term of then Mayor Benjamin Lim but it was not ratified by the National Housing and Land Use Board and did not become operational,” she said.

Fernandez said this was returned to the city council by the National Housing and Land Use Board for amendments as its life span was 30 years and not the required 10 years.

No amendment was made whatsoever, that was why that CLUP proposed in 2003 never became operational, Fernandez said.

“We need a new CLUP for Dagupan to stay in competition with the other cities in the Philippines. Investors that would come to the city need suitable areas to put up their businesses and where local businessmen will also expand their business,” he added.

The mayor said she is sad because some city officials continue to block the growth and progress of the city.

As to the claim of Lim that the Fernandez family would be the first ones to be benefited by the CLUP, the mayor said it is just incidental that her family owns some of the fishponds identified as among the new growth areas.

She said decades ago when she was not yet a city official, her family already owned lands located in Barangays Lucao and Pantal and had no inkling whatsoever if these will be made later as among the growth areas.

“Thus the claim of the minority bloc that my family had a pecuniary interest in the CLUP is baseless and unfounded,” Fernandez said. PNA/northboundasia.com