Monday, February 28, 2011

SM’s entry an emotional issue in Dagupan

by Mortz C. Ortigoza

The acrimonious debate recently on the venues where Dagupan  City Mayor Benjie S. Lim would deliver his State of the City Address was a treat to the people in and outside of the city.

All dressed-up to the occasion, members of the Sanggunian Panlungsod stubbornly waited at the narrow August   Chamber for the mayor to come, while a dressed- up Lim snubbed them and proceeded at the spacious City Astrodome to deliver his reports of his programs and misgivings on the politicized SP to the more than 3,000 yelling and applauding leaders and supporters who waited for him there.

Susmariosep, who needs an action thriller of a Lito Lapid or a Sylvester Stallone when we have adrenalin-powered clashes for free in Dagupan for sometime now?

But hold your horses, my man! The intramurals on when and how much would be the budget of the city after it undergoes the grinding machine of the SP is not yet the most exciting sight.

The most exciting and “bloody” treat that is still to unfold before our eyes would be how the SP led by Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez, a mall czarina, handles the application of giant retail store SM in case it starts to construct its edifice this year at the 12-hectare land in Brgy. Tambac.

 Since the entry of SM was emphasized by the speech of Mayor Lim in his SOCA, let’s dissect how the mammoth retail store run by SM Prime Holdings, Inc. bode with the present seemingly Manila-based-mall hostile occupants of the city council.

According to my source at the City Hall, the mayor told Hans Sy (scion of the owner of SMPI) when he visited the office of the former last year the obstacles he has to deal before he could lift a nail to start his construction activity.

He said that SMPHI should first get clearances from the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Environment & Natural Resources for the conversion of the real estate venue from agricultural to commercial.

After braving all these hitches, SMPHI should get a resolution from the SP for the amendments of its zone or land areas at Tambac from agricultural (swampland and fishpond) to commercial. This is where SMPI would find its Iwo Jima. The Sys would be likened to the Palestinians who have been given by Israel a round around on their search for an elusive land which they could call home.

The Belen-led SP would fight tooth and nail against SMPI to even cast its shadow at Tambac. Allowing SM Mall in the City, is like forcing the vice mayor to do a General Angie Reyes. But here is my poser: Would this resistance boomerang with the VM and her allies in case they successfully drive out SM?

Local political analysts believed that the SM thing is an emotional issue among the city folks than the stalled P568 million 2011 city budgets. It has a political price for its opponents to pay come 2013 poll.

Economically, the entry of SM would break the oligopoly in the giant retail business in the city that is led by the family of Fernandez.

This is no longer about the stalled increase of the pay hikes of city employees. This is no longer the prejudiced thousands of malnourished children that the SP deprives by not acting on the budget. Susmariosep, this is about the purchasing power of the tired and busted pocket of every Dagupenos who has been forced since time immemorial to buy their commodities at traditional mall in the city.

Remember, my dear Procopio: Upholding or stonewalling the entry of SM can define or ruin the political career of our politicians at the SP.


Woe to the cities all over the country. With the latest decision of a flipflopping Supreme Court on its third reversals of its decisions, the petition of 16 towns for cityhood is almost certain.

But the downside here is that the present 122-strong members’  League of Cities of the Philippines would see a reduction of their share of their Internal Revenue Allotments from the national government.

Cities like Alaminos, Urdaneta, San Carlos, and Dagupan would lose tens of millions of national funding a year that mostly comes from the share in the Value Added Tax .

But the hardest hit among them would be Dagupan City.

Poor Dagupan, its hands are not only tied with her critical City Council that is bent to reduce her P568 Million 2011 budget. But the piggy backing of the 16 towns outside the P100 million requirements in the annual local income for cityhood would surely deprive the city by more than P20 million share in the IRA annually. (Send comments to

No comments:

Post a Comment