Dagupan mayor extends hand of friendship to vice mayor

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Saturday, December 17, 2011


DAGUPAN CITY -- Mayor Benjie Lim has extended the "hand of friendship" to his vice-mayor and vocal critic, Belen Fernandez, during a rare ceremony that both officials attended.

During the City Fiesta 2011 Opening and Lighting ceremony held early Thursday evening, the mayor offered the gesture to all other city officials, including Fernandez, who has been critical of his projects.

"I would like to humbly present my hand of friendship to all our city officials headed by Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez dahil ako ay naniniwala na panahon na upang tayo ay magkaisa," Lim said.

The occasion marked the few times Fernandez joined Lim, who are political rivals. Besides running under separate parties in 2010, both have rarely been seen together in public.

When Lim delivered his State of the City Address early this year, and when the new seal of the city was launched in the middle of this year, Fernandez was no show in both events. Ever since they assumed office, Fernandez has been very vocal about her criticisms against projects and programs of the city mayor.

"Hindi po natin pagbibigyan ang ating sarili mula sa araw na ito kundi pagbibigyan natin ang mga Dagupeno sa matagal na nilang inaasam-isam na pagkakaisa tungo sa isang tunay na serbisyo para sa lahat ng mga taga-Dagupan,” Lim said during the event.

Lim added: “Kung lahat po tayo ay isasapuso natin ang tunay na diwa ng pasko, marahil gaya ng sinabi ng kumanta kanina sa ating doxology, ang pagmamahalan lang ang susi ng lahat dahil hawak natin ang kapangyarihan. Tayong mga inihalal ng mga mamamayan dito sa Dagupan City ang may siyang tunay na kapangyarihan kung tayo ay magbubuklod-bulod at ibigay natin sa ating mamamayan ang tunay na serbisyong kanilang hinahangan.”

Even those who wield much power have to stay humble and simple, Lim stressed.

He added the true spirit of Christmas is expressed in four ways: true love, true understanding, real concern, and genuine humility.

Lim ended his much-applauded speech by saluting Fernandez and the members of the City Council (who were all present except for Councilor Maybelyn Fernandez). He then shook the hands of Fernandez and all the 11 councilors.

Fiesta Hermano Mayor Guillermo Vallenjos, Liga ng mga Barangay president, expressed his thanks to all the people involved in the city fiesta activities. Sangguniang Kabataan City Federation President Chester Gonzales, assistant hermano mayor, gave the closing remarks.

Lim and Fernandez led the switching of the giant "Christmas Tree of Peace" in front of the city museum, as well, as the Christmas light decorations at the bridges at A.B. Fernandez Avenue and at Perez Boulevard.

Meanwhile, the junior Koro Dagupeno (composed of elementary students from public schools in the city) and the choral group from Colegio de Dagupan rendered several songs after the opening ceremonies. (Liway C. Manantan-Yparraguirre/Sunnex)

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