A legacy for naught?
By Ermin Garcia Jr.
HERE’S one legacy of the Espino administration that might eventually end up in smoke. I refer to its present efforts to keep Pangasinan’s culture and history alive and updated for the benefit of the next generation of Pangasinenses.
At a recent tête-à-tête with some officials of the Pangasinan Historical and Cultural Commission at the PUNCH office, (no, chairman Gonz Duque was not with us), I inquired into the group’s many initiatives and activities. I was extremely disappointed to find out that the Espino administration has not seen fit to provide an annual budget for its operations since its creation!
Without regular funding and support for its activities and the people in the commission, I am seeing a tested formula for failure in the making. Another potential great idea that will soon turn into ningas cogon.
I have no doubt that Chairman Gonz and the rest of the volunteer commissioners today will try hard as hell to keep the momentum going for as long as it takes, but I am not optimistic that its operations will last and I fear that its string of successful initiatives today would eventually come to naught.
It’s no secret that the spirit of volunteerism in this country always ends “until supply lasts.”
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The mandate and work of the commission today and tomorrow is invaluable.
Without any semblance of serious and committed efforts to preserve the province’s culture, history and heritage through the years, Pangasinan will just be another province likened to a melting pot that knows no history and beginning. The language would be extinct, there would be no distinction between migrants and locals. Bottomline, there would be nothing to be proud of as a Pangasinan community and as a people.
It behooves then upon Guv Spines, under whose leadership the commission was created, to set the standards for keeping the soul of Pangasinan intact. In other words, the Espino administration must put its money where its mouth is!
For starters, it must not only provide for an office where a set of regular employees can work, a set of computers equipped with advanced technology for databasing of information, articles and pictures of artifacts, memorabilia, etc., it must also provide for salaries of its officials and employees, fund for research and travel, etc.
Sure, the Guv Spines always picked up the tab for all events in connection with the celebration of Pangasinan Day under the auspices of the commission but these were just ad hoc activities that future administrations can easily do.
If Guv Spines wants to keep that legacy as the governor that cares and cared for the soul and inspiration of the province’s heritage, he must set the bar to keep the commission properly and effectively functioning for many other governors to follow.
Try P5 million initially and a 30 sq. m. office! The commission, for its part, can plan and set objectives and activities annually to deserve the budget. Let’s keep the Pangasinan fire and spirit vibrant and moving. Inumpisan mo Guv, hwag mong tapusin! Your vision, your legacy!
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Fire Player Gonz’ MadiLIM & MakuLIMLIM item last issue certainly floored me. Hand it to Gonz to come up with apt colorful images for his sound bytes to call attention to serious political and governance issues. I could not have written or said it better even given all I know about the string of corruption at the Dagupan City Hall under the Lim administration.
Gonz’s pun of the husband-son-wife slate’s attempt at wholesale, political control and ambitious establishment of a political dynasty was right on the nose! The manner by which the family initially sought to go about it on the sly is vintage Lim politics.
Gosh, many wondered why the Lim family even had to resort to an unimaginative stunt, making a mockery of the system just to make people believe that Mayor Lim’s son Brian and doting wife Celia were not going to be in the political race this year. The disgusting picture of son and mother at the Comelec showing Brian “laughing heartily” while Celia smiled gave an indication of the family’s ill humor. There was nothing funny about their “joke” unless they felt they got people fooled, and it was fun doing it. They fooled no one. What they accomplished was to confirm what Mr. Lim meant by his “Shared Responsibility” buzzword: Share political power with and among family members!
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Mr. Lim’s politics on the sly has become commonplace that his template today is practically predictable. Here’s how he started.
Recall that when he first raised the prospect of constructing a sanitary landfill for the city in 2001, a handful of housewives in Bonuan Binloc were made to carry placards demanding the closure of the open dumpsite before the local media. I had wondered why the need for a set-up when the idea of sanitary landfill on a stand alone basis was worthy of consideration. Little did I know that he was working on a timetable to make the city cough up P16 million for a P7 million property in San Jacinto that involved his business associate Jose Mariano Cuña in the scam that we’ve come to know as the Awai landfill project. The city still does not have the title and Mr. Lim has not demanded the return of the P16-M from Mr. Cuña.
Recall that when he advocated the transfer of the city hall to a better and more spacious area in 2002, the city was not aware that he had already negotiated for the city’s acquisition of the MC Adore property that ended up with the city paying P10 million every year a year for 5 years. He made two companies submit their respective cheap bids last year if only to show that the city has potential buyers for the hotel property, never mind that the bids would be ignored. When that didn’t move the city council initially, he set off to buy and control a Judas 9 in the city council to pave the way for his acquisition of the property. Fortunately, there was a Ryan Ravanzo and a Judge Emma Torio that stood in the way of Mr. Lim. What remains to be seen now, is what other gimmickry awaits the city to finally seal the deal for his chosen “partner”. Recall how he inveigled the city council to allow the cheap lease of the Magsaysay market to the Metro State Development Corp. (led by Alex Siapno) for a measly P1 million a year.
Recall how the city ended up with the P237 million loan for the grossly overpriced and now under-utilized Malimgas Market that Mr. Lim said would benefit stall owners and consumers! Recall how he justified the need for the regular dredging of the city’s rivers that left the city with a junk machine and undredged rivers and P40-M in public debt after 3 years? Recall how he used the children’s feeding program to compel the city council to approve its bloated annual budget in 2010 only to find out that it was used as an occasion to purchase noodles, rice, milk etc. overpriced by as much as 150%? Recall the city’s streetlights that were not subjected to bidding because he said the supplier was an exclusive distributor only to find out that the named supplier only sold thread not electric lamp posts! Recall how he pressed for the quick distribution of calamity funds in 2010 at the height of a typhoon only to find out that the funds were diverted only to favored barangay kapitans to help in their election campaign.
Now, it’s Benjie Lim for mayor, Brian Lim for vice mayor and Celia Lim for Congress using the substitution rule of the Comelec. Hmmm. The unexpected was the withdrawal of three candidates in the MadiLIM & MakuLIMLIM slate but what was expected and became true was the decision of the remnants of the Judas 9, namely: Jess Canto, Alvin Coquia and Red Erfe Mejia! to seek reelection in 2013 waving the Lim banner. (Karlos Reyna is the Judas 9’s Trojan horse in LP’s Belen Fernandez-Michael Fernandez slate).
So if someone asks you about Mr. Lim’s slate for the 2013 election? Just say MadiLIM & MakuLIMLIM then puke!