Dagupan rated one of the most competitive cities in the country

Dagupan City’s competitiveness and performance continue to improve over the years based on the overall rating given by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center during its roadshow presentation on the city’s state of competitiveness on October 5.

 Out of the ten most competitive small-sized cities, Dagupan scored the highest in quality of human resources and third in infrastructure.

 From a 5.80 rating in 2003, the AIM team said that the city has increased its level of competitiveness to a 6.25 rating based on its 2005 Philippine Cities Competitiveness Ranking Project (PCCRP).

 ”With the participation of our citizenry, Dagupan City will become even more competitive in the years to come,” said Mayor Lim in his welcome remarks.

 The AIM team, led by program manager of AIM policy center Leah Umali, presented the 10 strongest indicators that contributed to the city’s high level of competitiveness, as: average rent of commercial space, number of tertiary educational institutions, number of vocational institutions, number of banks and lending institutions, incidence of theft per 100,000 population, hospital beds per 100,000 population, adequate phone signals, connecting to telephone lines from other service providers is easy, rest and recreational activities are adequate and internet service providers are adequate.

 Umali also cited Dagupan as one of the best implementors of participative governance where the local government unit, non-government organizations and the private sector adhere to a common vision.

 However, Lim said that the city government is more concerned with the factors that pulled the ratings of the city because it ranked 12th in both dynamism of local economy and responsiveness of local government, 16th in quality of life, 19th in linkages and accessibility, and 31st in the cost of doing business.

 ”We shall dig deeper into these factors in order to improve our rating,” Lim stressed.

 The roadshow, which is part of AIM’s Philippine cities competitiveness ranking project, gathered government officials, city hall employees, professionals, businessmen, non-government organizations, the religious sector, academic institutions, banking and medical institutions, civic organizations and the media sector.

 After the presentation, an open forum that aired various concerns of the different sectors was conducted by the AIM team. Leziel T. Cayabyab

City Fiesta preparation in full swing

Dagupan City’s preparation in staging the 2006 Dagupan City fiesta is in full swing as the calendar of activities that are worth the attention and visit not only from local guests but international tourists as well are already lined up for this year’s celebration.

 According to Coun. Librada “Dada” Reyna, 2006 fiesta hermana mayor, this year’s celebration will not only focus on the major events done each year but will also highlight worthwhile activities for Dagupeño children and their families since the fiesta coincides with the Christmas season.

 Reyna bared that this year’s theme “Celebrate Life” will feature various events ranging from social, educational, economic, cultural, sports and religious activities.

 She said that this year’s celebration promises to be a globally spectacular event through a series of activities that include the trade expo, family carnival, singing contest, dance festival, photo contest, sportsfest, beauty pageant, garden show, car show, street party, acrobatic show, dog show, cheerdance competition, fluvial parade, street parade, lantern and costume parade, live bands, cultural entertainments, homecomings, fireworks display, among others.

 ”We want to let our guests, especially Dagupeños, know that aside from witnessing the traditional events, they will also experience new and exciting activities,” Reyna pointed out.

 In connection with the preparation of the fiesta celebration, the hermana mayor said she started meeting with the chairpersons of various events committee in as early as June 28.

 ”We will not be able to stage all these activities without the support of the community and the private sector,” she stressed.

 The month-long celebration of the city fiesta is slated on December 1 to 30. (Leziel T. Cayabyab)

Iwata officials visit Dagupan for bilateral ties

The sister city relationship between Dagupan City and Iwata, Japan ushered in a new phase of relations after Iwata City officials visited Mayor Benjamin Lim anew on September 13 to discuss the possibility of economic, cultural and educational exchanges.

 ”They came to Dagupan not only to renew ties but to discuss the possibility of exchanges between businessmen, Rotary clubs and student exchanges,” said Mayor Lim.

 Lim noted that the sister city relationship between Dagupan and Iwata almost disappeared after the Marcos regime.

He further added that the bilateral relations entered in a new era after the city government of Iwata invited Mayor Lim along with five high school students to attend the celebration of their 30th anniversary of sisterhood ties on July 27 to 30 this year.

It was learned that Lim invited the presidents and past presidents of various Rotary Clubs based in the city to join the discussion that is expected to include their involvement in the establishment of a business partnership between the two cities.

The bilateral talks dwelled on the interest of both cities to establish a study exchange program for high school students.

 Both cities agreed to study thoroughly the planned educational exchange program before deciding on its eventual approval.

 Lim said that once approved, the qualified high school Dagupeño students will be sent to Iwata during their school vacation period from April to May.

“Just like the Milpitas study exchange program, this is another venue for the Dagupeño students to observe the academic environment and educational system of Japan as well as experience the culture of Japanese students,” Lim stressed.

 The Japanese officials informed Lim that they have already visited Dagupan City five years ago. (Leziel T. Cayabyab)

NHI experts survey 7 Dagupan landmarks

A team of experts from the National Historical Institute (NHI) arrived in Dagupan City on September 1 to gain new insights and perspectives about the city by visiting its 7 historical landmarks.

 The NHI group, headed by supervisor for history research Lorelei Deviana and history researcher Maria Luisa Valerio, both architects, surveyed the 7 sites as jointly recommended by the Dagupan Heritage Commission and Metro Dagupan Culture and Arts Council (MDCAC).

 Priority in their list of landmarks was the home economics building at the West Central Elementary School which General Douglas MacArthur used as temporary headquarters after landing at the Lingayen Gulf, in fulfillment of the “I shall return” promise he had made before leaving the Philippines for Australia to spearhead Allied preparations for the liberation of the Philippines and other Asia-Pacific countries from the Japanese. Next on their priority list was the Gabaldon Schoolhouse, also found at the West Central.

 According to Nora G. Siapno, MDCAC chairman, the history experts were amazed upon seeing the century-old buildings still standing erect and even survived the devastating earthquake 16 years ago.

 ”This is a major boost in our tourism landscape. Dagupan will surely benefit from the institute’s much needed expertise – assisting the city executives educate its citizenry and stakeholders on heritage conservation and preservation,” Mayor Lim said during the group’s courtesy call on him at his City Hall office.

 Other landmarks they toured were the City Hall, PNR station, Spanish and American stations, ancestral house of the De Venecias in Tambac and the landing site of General MacArthur in Bonuan Gueset, which is now a subject of controversy due to a landowner’s claim of ownership of the vicinity.

 ”We should follow great cities of the world where preservation, conservation and restoration of old structures are high on their priority list. Tourism has earned these cities enormous sums of money,” stressed Carmen Prieto of the heritage commission.

 Before departing, the NHI group thanked the city government for its warm reception and hospitality.Leziel T. Cayabyab

1st national Luzon agribusiness meeting set August 17

A meeting on the First North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle will take place in Leisure Coast, Dagupan City on August 17.

Presidential management staff (PMS) director general and designated champion for the North Luzon Super Region Arthur C. Yap will preside in the said meeting. Yap, whose mother is a Dagupeña, was the former secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

The meeting aims to discuss with local government units the commitment of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to develop North Luzon as an agribusiness quadrangle as announced in her 2006 SONA and determine various areas of cooperation.

During the affair, various government agencies will report on the status of on-going programs in the Super Region as well as discuss measures to ensure their effective implementation.

Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin Lim along with the city officials and other local executives are expected to attend the meeting and participate in the discussion of agribusiness projects.

The one-day meeting will tackle farm-to-market road projects, irrigation projects, post harvest facility, energy projects, airport projects, seaport projects and road and expressway projects.

Mayor Lim is expected to bring up for discussion the proposed Bangus Processing Plant, the flagship agribusiness program of the city. (CIO/Leziel T. Cayabyab)