Dagupan officials clash over transfer of City Hall building

>> Sunday, October 8, 2017

By Liezle Basa Iñigo

DAGUPAN CITY – City officials here are still divided on the proposed construction of a new city hall in another location, with the possibility of a referendum being eyed to settle the issue.
Vice Mayor Brian Lim, who is opposing the project, said the people of Dagupan City can file a petition with the Commission on Elections.
“It is a fair contest, we can see those who are in favor and those who are not,” Lim said.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod  on September 14 approved the transfer of the city hall to the Pantal-Lucao area and the reclassification of the property donated by spouses Kerwin and Mary Ann Fernandez for institutional use as a government center.
But the minority bloc, led by Vice Mayor Lim, strongly opposed the transfer of the city hall to the land of Mayor Belen Fernandez’s brother.
Lim believes it violates the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials.
Lim, said it’s better to renovate and beautify the old city hall like what Pangasinan Capitol did.
“Ang tama po sanang gawin dito ay iyong ginawa ni Gov. Amado Espino Jr. he did not transfer  the capitol, he made sure na it is presentable, that’s why it is a major tourist attraction in Pangasinan.”
Nine of the members of the SP, with one objection and one abstention, agreed that the proposed site within the Pantal-Lucao road is consistent with the spirit and intent of the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
Mayor Fernandez said it is appropriate to accommodate the erection of a new, modern and state of the art government center in the Lucao-Pantal area
Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo, a lawyer, Tamayo noted that if the land is donated by the mayor’s brother, no graft and corruption will be committed.
Tamayo cited an opinion by Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Austere Panadero that there is no conflict of interest even if the donor of the land is the mayor’s brother.
Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia said that the move will bury the city in debt.
He cited the many problems in the city that needs immediate attention, including traffic congestion, and massive flooding.

“It does not make sense. Why not just focus on the city’s pressing problems instead?”


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