Huwebes, Pebrero 17, 2011

SM is coming to Dagupan City

by Mortz C. Ortigoza
Has Dagupan City Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez given-up her stance that she and the majority members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod (lawmaking body) can gather and identify who among the 381 tricycle operators can be given a franchise?
Her stance and those of her allies at the SP, drew criticism from other quarters that accused them of usurpation of an executive function – a criminally punishable act.
After they passed the ordinance on franchise, Mayor Lim did not think twice to veto it.

In a tit-for-tat power-play-scenario that I told the Vice Mayor recently, she and the SP can override it with two-third votes, but warned her that Lim would expectedly run to the Regional Trial Court and file a Petition for Declaratory Relief with injunction.
It means the mayor will question the actuation of the vice mayor and the SP in court because of his belief that it is his work who and whom will be given a franchise.
“Ang mangyari po after three years there will still be no franchise kasi either of you will outdo each other in petitioning the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court,” I told the vice mayor in the vernacular after I ran out of English inside the session hall.
My source at the city hall told me that last Tuesday the vice mayor met the mayor to patch up the franchise’s stalemate.
He said the vice mayor and her allies have no intention to override the veto.
Is it of the no-franchise scare for the 381 new and old (whose franchised ended after the end of Mayor Al Fernandez’s administration) applicants? Or there is a deeper reason that made the vice mayor blinks?
(NOte: Was my source wrong when he informed me about Belen’s no intention to veto? Just this morning, September 13, The S.P has overrode the mayor. But the mayor seems not interested to question that at the court. Was he and the vice mayor agreed for something on their Tuesday meeting?)
The ongoing construction of the 5.8 hectares two-level Robinson’s Mall in Calasiao, Pangasinan was the reason that prompted Hans Sy, , scion of the founder of SM Prime Holding, Inc., to meet Mayor Lim at his office in Dagupan City.
According to my source, he agreed in principle with the mayor that before he builds the family-owned super retail store SM at its more than 5-hectare land in Brgy. Tambac, his family should consider the geographical and political realities of the city.
These realities are the conversion of those agricultural (fishpond) lands to commercial that need the imprimatur of the councilors in a resolution.
One of the curious questions that cropped-up after the mayor’s announcement:
Would Lim opening the city to the Sys undermine his chain of Magic Malls not only in Dagupan but in the neighboring towns of Mangaldan, Malasiqui, and Lingayen?
My source told me that Benjie said that as a mayor he has a higher calling in serving the people and not just his business interest.
He explained the upsides if the city hosts SM: It would jack-up the valuation of the real property tax the city could collect; increase tourism; and other multiplier effects that would bode well for the city residents.
But would this SM thing rekindle the old rift between the mayor and the vice mayor who have just kissed and made up after former vetoed the tricycle franchise?
Vice Mayor Fernandez as we know is the owner of the much bigger chain of CSI malls that competes with Benjie’s Magic, all over the province..
Would Belen and his majority of dads at the City Council block heaven and earth, hammer and thong, just to torpedo the conversion of the land at Tambac?
Or would the greater number of pro-Belen councilors abandon her and support Benjie in the number games to accommodate SM?
Remember, this is not between the devil and the big blue sea.
Susmariosep, this is between CSI and the Sys of SM who have much bigger, wider, and deeper pocket to change the perception and loyalty of everybody.
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