Gov’t should do something serious about the floodsBy Neal H. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The McAdore Hotel is an abandoned building in Dagupan City. When it was built years ago, it was the pride of Dagupan, earning the monikers “International Palace” and “Star of the North.” The owners had such grand plans for it.
Alas, the owners fell on hard times; the bank foreclosed the property and sold it at a public auction. The city government bought the building for P50 million, planning to renovate it for a new city hall. But the city government scrapped the plan upon learning it could not afford the huge cost of the renovation.
Several years ago, the city government decided to sell the building at another public auction, with the approval of the city council. The Cabangon family bought it at much more than the winning bid price of P119 million. The contract required the winning bidder to shoulder other expenses related to the sale. The buyers paid a total of P8,925,000 to the Bureau of Internal Revenue for capital gains and documentary stamp taxes. They also paid a local transfer tax of P892,500 to Dagupan City and P554,135 as registration fee of the property’s titles.
Dagupeños are happy because they will be getting a new landmark, a definite boost to tourism for their city. Already, the family has opened a branch of City Savings Bank at the ground floor of the building. More business activities are in the offing that will surely liven up the city’s economy, said Pangasinan Gov. Amado T. Espino during the bank’s formal opening.
Furthermore, the opening of a renovated, refurbished McAdore Hotel will be a boost to tourism in Dagupan, which is famous for its Bangus Festival launched by former Mayor Benjie Lim to promote Dagupan as the home of the country’s most delicious milkfish. When the renovation is completed, McAdore Hotel is expected to provide 130 more rooms for the thousands of foreign and local tourists who flock to Dagupan for the Bangus Festival every year.
Alas, the city risks losing all these benefits because of politics. On a mere technicality, the regional trial court of Dagupan issued a decision declaring null and void the city council resolution authorizing then Governor Lim to initiate the sale of the property. The decision was issued by the court in connection with a petition filed by a city official questioning the validity of the resolution that authorized the sale.
The petition was filed in July 2012, but it took the court almost a whole year to decide the case. What took it so long? The court’s timing is questionable.
But then, it ceases to be puzzling when you consider that the ruling was handed down on May 20, 2013, exactly one week after the May 13 elections that ushered in a new city administration.
Smells like a case of political one-upmanship. A judge seeking to win pogi points with the new administration to be in its good graces?
Politics threatens to scuttle one big opportunity for Dagupan to boost its tourism potential and economy.
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Officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Transportation and Communications, and the Metro Manila Development Authority should sit down and seriously plan ways to relieve the periodic flooding of Metro Manila streets and the infernal traffic jams that occur every day.
Every time it rains, parts of Metro Manila become a vast lake and a huge parking lot for thousands of vehicles. The traffic jams last Monday night in many streets of the metropolis, which were triggered by the flash floods that were caused, in turn, by the heavy rains, was like entering, in the words of Dan Brown, the gates of hell. A trip from Chino Roces Avenue in Makati to Quezon City took me more than three-and-a-half hours on Edsa. It was worse on C-5. Traffic on the whole length of the thoroughfare could not move for four hours.
It is not enough to cross your arms and blame the floods on the squatters who throw their garbage into the esteros and the streets, which eventually block the drainage system. Something must be done to stop them from doing that.
Why not require the families receiving billions of pesos in monthly cash transfers from the Department of Social Welfare and Development to police their neighborhoods against the indiscriminate disposal of garbage?
Why not crack the whip on the DPWH and the MMDA to hurry up with their flood control projects? They knew the rainy season was coming and they should have finished the flood control projects before then.
It’s the same thing every year: the indolence and laziness when the sun is shining, the floods when the rains come, and then the inevitable finger-pointing: “Don’t blame me, blame him!”
The “daang matuwid” has become the “daang binabaha.”
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PAHABOL for Father’s Day: Among the many greetings I received last Sunday were two messages from friends whose thoughts I like and am repeating for readers.
One is from Fred de la Rosa, editor of the Manila Times: “The exemplary dad is the average Joe who is lowly paid but manages to raise, feed, clothe, shelter and send his kids to school.”
The other is from Carmelita “Twinkle” Valdez, a former reporter of ABS-CBN and now a press consultant of the Philippine Gaming and Amusement and Gaming Corp.:
“What is a dad? A dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall, picks you up, brushes off the dirt and lets you try again.
“A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes but instead lets you find your own way even though his heart breaks in silence when you get hurt.
“A dad is someone who holds you when you cry, scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed, and has faith in you even when you fail.”
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