By Leonardo V. Micua
DAGUPAN CITY, Mar.21 (PNA)–Three special boats are being built here to take the place of the former Dagupan Ferry that was plying along the Dawel River but grounded to the halt in June last year when its boats were towed away by men of former Benjamin Lim, just weeks after he lost the election, claiming that these were privately owned.
His conqueror, Mayor Belen Fernandez, no longer pursued claims to these boats but instead solicited the help of the private sector so that the boats customized for river ferry will be replaced.
Fernandez said two multi-national companies, Unilever Philippines Incorporated and Procter & Gamble Philippines responded and donated the funds that will be used in building three new boats to serve the new version of the short-lived Dagupan river cruise.
The new version called Island Tours that aims to certainly lure local and foreign tourists is set to be launched by Mayor Fernandez this summer during the Bangus Festival 2014.
The mayor thanked Uniliver and Procter & Gamble for donating the money used in building the three boats to make way for the Island Tours in place of the River Cruise.
She said this time, no one will tow away the boats as these are all owned by the city government of Dagupan.
Fernandez acknowledged the help of the two multi-national companies during the Presentation and Adoption of the Dagupan City Integrated Coastal Management Plan and Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for the Conduct of Water Quality Monitoring Tests and the Upper Sinocalan on March 20 at the City Museum.
Fernandez said the Island Tours will seek to promote the city’s island barangays of Pugaro and its Sitio Suit; Salapingao, Lomboy, Calmay and Carael and boost the local tourism as well as fishery industry.
“This will certainly trigger a boom in our tourism industry, which is part of our program and will specially help our island barangay mates boost their livelihood under our program “One Barangay, One Product” which we launched recently,” said Fernandez.
Under the river renewal project of the city dubbed as ‘Sa Ilog Ko, May Pagbabago’ (In my river, there is change) Fernandez allowed the small fisher folk last October to take back the rivers for themselves that were exploited for years by private individuals where they set up illegal fish pens to boost the city’s aqua-culture and tourism industry.
With the program now in place, Barangays Pugaro, Salapingao, Calmay-Carael, and Tanap-Dawel are now engaged in culturing high value fish like seabass, alangat, lapu-lapu,(groupoers) malaga (siganid and a fish called “talakitok”, Fernandez said. (PNA)