Dagupan City of our dream amid floods
By Jun Velasco
“ The highest revelation is that God is in every man,” Emerson
DAGUPENOS must be biting their nails whenever they see their city submerged in flood during the rainy months.
It’s been an accepted fact that bangus city is sinking, and those who swear to heavens to fight tooth and nail to preserve it come hell or high water may be indulging in wasteful exercise.
Of course, we leave it to the authorities, our city officials to lead in steering us to safety during calamities.
No, it doesn’t mean we can’t put in our two cents’ worth of novel ideas to enhance the environment.
Maybe, our esteemed mayor, Benjie Lim, and the Sanggunian won’t begrudge us if we bare an outlandish idea cooked from atop a tower overlooking the poblacion at the junction of A B Fernandez and M H del Pilar one rain-soaked afternoon.
No, this isn’t our own idea; it’s a group-idea, inspired by BSL’s boldness of spirit with an imagined city struggling to break from the doldrums and inertia of many years… and supplanting this hodge-podge of structures and kaleidoscope of signboards of a free – wheeling capitalist society with a beautifully planned metropolis.
Joking aside, there’s a concept Dagupenos might embrace as a Godsend by Ascend Advertising led by Mabel Mendoza, sister Luchi Arcinue, and hubby-and-wife team of Mc Can Ericson egghead Gerry Nisperos and wifey the former Marvie Sanchez of Bani, Pangasinan that would supplant in one fell swoop a dream city that could only be realized under a leadership oozing with steely resolve and will power.
Some aspects of the dream city idea came straight from the big white wash made by then Fist Lady Imelda Marcos if only to conceal the ugly shanties and slums of Metro Manila from foreign visitors.
Part of the idea came from Bulletin columnist Ambassador Jose Zaide’s recent article with the head “Walking Backwards Into The Floods.” He said we should not call on President Aquino to say something about the flood problem, but rather, environmental architect Jun Palafox.
Instead of building dams, which would harm low-lying towns, we should live with, and not against this natural phenomenon– flood.
Build yourself an ark, Zaide said matter of factly.
Denuded forest should be revived and enhanced “and even turned into key features of the city.” Zaide was talking about Manla.
Nearer to home, Mayor Lim was on target when in Primera Balita, he said that floods have been here for years, and it’s plain idiocy to counter it by elevating streets. His talk was transmitted to us by Gerry Nisperos who promised to write about it in his column in another paper.
Back to Zaide, he said “We can borrow from New York City’s innovative ‘soft infrastructure’ approach to it from big storms: in lieu of a literal wall around lower Manhattan which would only perform in a flood… an ecological infrastructure that would allow water in and out of lower Manhattan, put up Islands and marshes (and mangroves) along the edges of the city to diminish the force of storm surges.
“Build porous pavement which would prevent the city from shuttling down in the event of a flood.”
In another page, we came across old pal Erik Espina’s idea of seriously considering a Venice Manila.
These random thoughts should show how laymen would readily lend their homespun views on an issue that works like the mythical rock of Sisyphus, which keeps returning to where it is due to the universal force of nature.
Back to the admen group that’s trying to visualize Dagupan’s highest potential, as millennium city — and not one that’s plastered with stopgap or makeshift measures that won’t last anyway.
From where we sat at Oscar Arcinue’s tower, we saw tangled electric wires and white walls filled with soot.
“Ano kaya, Gerry, if offer to white wash these walls to the city government and assist in face-lifting and probably beautifying the Dagupan poblacion?”
His immediate reaction was “baka kontrahin ng mga critics from the other side?
Wala na akong sinabi.