DAGUPAN CITY — A youth leader here has vowed to help boost the Bangus Festival of Dagupan City in a bid to attract more tourists and investors that will further develop the city and push it to greater heights.

Christopher de Venecia, a former child actor on television and son of former House Speaker Jose C. de Venecia Jr. and his wife, Pangasinan Fourth District Rep. Gina de Venecia, said he is traveling to Iloilo City sometime soon to observe the Dinagyang Festival to find out what it has that makes it tick that the Dagupan Bangus Festival does not have.

The younger De Venecia, 29, who replaced his mother Gina as candidate for congressman in Pangasinan’s Fourth District, said he wants the Bangus Festival to be known more throughout the world since it not only promotes the city’s number one agricultural product bangus but also embodies the history of the city and its people.

A graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Ateneo de Manila University and now a weekly columnist and an editor of the youth section of the Philippine Star, De Venecia said he talked with Mayor Belen Fernandez of Dagupan who welcomed his help to provide more sophistication and flavor to the yearly Dagupan Festival.

He congratulated Mayor Fernandez for the innovations and surprises she puts into the Dagupan Bangus Festival yearly and for being open to suggestions to further improve the festival in order to catch the attention not only of the whole country but also the world.

At the same time, De Venecia suggested some initiatives to restore the Home Economics building of the West Central Elementary School which is the first command post of General Douglas MacArthur in Luzon when he and his troops landed in Dagupan on Jan. 9, 1945, some 71 years ago.

Noting that a library and a canteen are now located in that home economics building, De Venecia said he will talk with the Dagupan City government and the Department of Education so that this can be restored to its original state to remind the younger generations of Pangasinenses on the important role played by this edifice and the city of Dagupan during the war.

De Venecia suggested that the canteen and library be moved to another place in the school and that its area must be zonified in order to ensure more visitors and researchers who value their Philippine history to the site.

As to the funding for its restoration, De Venecia said he will ask the help of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the Department of Tourism as well as tap private companies to share their funds for the project. PNA /