The fish pens are back!
By Ermin Garcia Jr.
IN case you haven’t noticed, the once clear and clean Pantal River along the De Venecia Hi-Way in Dagupan Cty is beginning to be blotted again with fish pens, the scourge of the river!
There are only two ways that this can happen. 1) The agriculture office headed by Emma Molina is already manned by corrupt officials and personnel who have been promised a million in return for turning blind, deaf and mute until harvest season, pretty much like how the Judas 9 threw away their principles in life in return for their share of the pieces of silver, or 2) Dagupan Mayor Benjie Lim ordered Ms. Molina to open a special window /desk for “transactional” enforcement of the city’s fishery ordinance as a fund raising for the campaign expenses of the MadiLLIM -MakuLIMLIM slate and promised Ms. Molina spare bones after sharing the loot with his favorite lapdogs masquerading as legitimate journalists.
Either way, Ms. Molina is now administratively (and criminally) accountable for her failure (or refusal) to enforce the city’s ordinance. In fairness to her, she was seen as a no-nonsense enforcer in the past so it is likely that Mr. Lim is again using the city’s officials to front for his illegal activities. Unfortunately for her, even if this is the case, she still cannot be absolved of her participation in a conspiracy to defraud the government for knowingly allowing her office and herself to be used against the interests of the city.
But through it all, do you think the Judas 9 in the city council would even dare ask: “What’s happening?” They won’t because privately they know what’s happening. They know everything including the unreported income due the city from the festivals and fiestas. Right? Councilors Brian Lim, Red Erfe-Mejia and Guillermo Vallejos?
Tsk-tsk. We have yet another public officer compromised under the Lim administration. I expect more to follow for as long as Mr. Lim is mayor of Dagupan. I know Ms. Molina will certainly not be the last. But for her colleagues sake, it would help if she tells all why she found herself in this incriminating situation as a public officer.
Or perhaps City Administrator Vlad Mata would care to help clear her name. Or will he simply leave Ms. Molina alone with her personal dilemma because his explanation would only serve to incriminate himself and his boss? Besides, how can he justify “transactional” enforcement of the ordinance?
* * * * *
BSL’S NEXT TARGET. Still in the city, Mr. Lim is clearly attempting to pull a fast one over the Department of Education by presiding over the groundbreaking for his unfinished business in the city – the construction of an unnecessary and costly 21-lying bed primary maternal and child hospital that would bleed the city dry for years – without the tacit approval of the DepEd to move out from the premises.
Not only did he attempt to hide his groundbreaking affair from the public (and the DepEd officials) but went on to deodorize the stench of the graft-tainted project by having an official from the DoH and other representatives from the health sector attend and endorse his official “launch”.
I am certain he was already told that there is no way the DepEd will agree to transfer the pupils of the Guadiz Elementary School to a three-storey building. But everyone knows it would have to if the school’s classrooms are razed to the ground, a strong possibility given the already known practice of some businessmen who are keen on possessing a property for “development” by hook or by crook. (I am told Mr. Lim knows how it works and actually knows some of them).
So all things considered today, it is not likely that DepEd will agree anytime soon to move a big bunch of rambunctious pupils to a place where they will be running up and down the stairs of a three-storey school building every hour without risking daily injuries among the young wards!
Until then, the DepEd should be warned and learn a lesson or two from the most recent “value-engineering” escapade of the city hall – the MC Adore caper. Mr. Lim stopped at nothing to sell the hotel to his business friends based on a timetable. He even made Judge Emma Torio look stupid and irrelevant and useless (whether incidentally or by design no longer matters). I dread the thought of seeing one or two city school officials being made scapegoats over his planned demolition of the school campus.
I only hope that the city school officials, led by Ms. Gloria Torres, are courageous enough to advise DepEd Sec. Bro. Armin Luistro that there is absolutely no justification for the transfer of the school to give way to a very costly primary care hospital particularly when the Region 1 Medical Center in the city is about to construct an 11-storey building to expand its services and facilities with a P1-B budget, courtesy of Cong. Gina de Venecia; and that a 3-storey school classroom will pose a daily risk and hazard to the life and limbs of pupils.
* * * * *
FUND-RAISING FOR LIM TICKET. Sec. Luistro must know that the bottomline for Mr. Lim’s hospital project is not about improved health care, or schoolchildren’s welfare but what the construction of another future white elephant building can deliver to his campaign funds. Why else would he insist on rushing to start the construction before campaign period if not for the early release of the fund for the project, in time for the campaign period?
One can only surmise how much the MadiLIM-MakuLIMLIM ticket already earned in campaign funds from the sale of the MC Adore Hotel making the city lose at least P100-M in revenues; the unfinished and ridiculous P10-M Tsunami Hill at the Pugaro Island, the unaccounted income of the city from the 2011-2012 Dagupan City Fiesta and Bangus Festival, etc.
Now, it wants to collect from the hospital project at the expense of city’s parents and students.
* * * * *
NO-WIN SITUATION. At the rate press conferences are being called by groups allied with either the Braganza-Lomibao ticket or the Espino- Calimim tandem, it doesn’t look like voters will learn anything valuable to guide them in choosing who among them deserve their votes. It will be a no-win situation for Pangasinenses.
If the trend of the activities, i.e., talking about the investigation of cases filed, etc. , I’m afraid the Espino-Calimlim tandem will have the edge in name recall since the duo had all six years to chalk up accomplishments in the province while the Braganza-Lomibao tandem have limited claims for themselves.
The LP team and its allies would do well to veer away from further discussion of the cases filed against Guv Spines and move on talking about their vision for the province – what their election can mean to Pangasinenses. Their biggest mistake would be to make the legal cases make them win by default because when they do, they will have a long way to gain and win the trust and confidence of their constituents.
The NPC ticket, meanwhile, while it can creditably count on its string of accomplishments in the area of education, health, culture and economy, Guv Spines and VG Ferdie must not forget that people need more than what they already have. If the promised vision of the Braganza-Lomibao ticket catches the imagination of the people, NPC ticket can find itself in rough waters. Nani and Art are charismatic enough to be able to fire up some following. Guv Spines and VG Ferdie cannot and should not stand on past accomplishments alone, they must articulate further what can make Pangasineneses a better lot than most in the region.