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‎Dagupan’s Belen Fernandez gets praise for full transparency in updating ancient land use plan

Jul 4, 2016 @ 14:05

Re-elected Dagupan City Mayor Belen T. Fernandez has been cited for getting the citizenry involved in rebooting the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) ‎which was formulated way back in 1978.

The updated CLUP addresses three vital areas, namely Land Use Planning, Zoning Ordinances, and Sectoral Strategies. Due to this, an up-to-date and thorough understanding of Dagupan’s current socio-economic and geophysical environment was necessary before undertaking the initiative.

Fernandez held five separate public hearings conducted, in the spirit of inclusion and transparency, to properly represent a major cross section of Dagupan,

The non-government advocacy group Transparency In Public Service (TIPS) took note of the city administration’s adherence to full disclosure.

“Despite its tremendous importance in affecting the lives of constituents, a CLUP is not something that a common citizen knows about, or is actively involved in,” noted TIPS spokesperson Brent de Jesus. “The local government of Dagupan took remarkable steps to make sure that the public had full access to the development of the CLUP every step of the way. Not only is this the ideal way to engage the citizens, it will result in plans that will truly benefit the majority,” he added.

The revised CLUP aims to further improve the city’s economic activity by adopting a new spatial strategy that will enable barangays to catch up with urban area development.

This is done by grouping contiguous barangays into growth centers, and each growth center treated as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) site. These centers then become the focus of more intensive policy interventions, investments, and decentralized services.

“Since this is a new concept in city planning, the local government went to great lengths in order to explain and educate the people,” de Jesus explained. “Apart from public discussions, relevant documents and key points were likewise posted on various social media channels, as well as traditional media such as print and television,” he pointed out.

The approval of the new CLUP likewise augurs well for Dagupan, as this will jumpstart infrastructure and development projects in newly identified growth areas such as Lucao-Pantal tourism growth center, Poblacion growth center, Caranglaan-Tebeng growth center, and the Bonuan growth center.

“Our CLUP has long been overdue for updating, but I am glad that we got it done,” said Fernandez. “It was the full participation of the people that resulted in such a groundbreaking and progressive plan. Truly, the city’s progress is the people’s progress,” she said.

Despite being one of the premier cities of Pangasinan and Region 1, Dagupan City used to operate under a CLUP drafted almost four decades ago. In contrast, neighboring cities such as Laoag, Candon, Vigan, San Fernando, San Carlos, Urdaneta, and Alaminos have updated their plans within the last ten years.

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