Dagupeños elect first woman mayor

19/05/2013 19:23


DAGUPAN CITY - This premier city in Pangasinan and Northern Luzon has a new mayor.

Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez garnered 43,839 votes, defeating Mayor Benjamin Lim with a margin of 4,140 votes. Lim was also a former congressman.

Fernandez made history by being the city’s first elected woman mayor.

Fernandez, who ran under the Liberal Party, said her mayoral bid was an “uphill battle.”

“But I was encouraged to fight and give my best because this is the time the city has to embrace our advocacy for pag-asa and pagbabago (hope and change) that we have been clamoring for,” she said.

“I assure you that I will deliver what I promised in my platform of government during the campaign,” she said, addressing the Dagupeños who supported her.

She said the “wind beneath her wings” was the big political clans in the city who rallied behind her candidacy like the De Venecias, Reynas, Manaoises, Duques, and Samsons.

After her proclamation, Fernandez said she got a call from President Aquino congratulating her. “I was surprised,” she said of the President’s call.

No less than Aquino publicly campaigned for Fernandez when he came to Pangasinan twice during the campaign period.

With three more years in his term, the President vowed to help propel Dagupan City to progress under Fernandez’s administration.

Fernandez, who once served as city councilor before becoming vice mayor, is the president of the CSI Group of Companies which has a chain of malls in various towns and cities in Pangasinan and nearby provinces.

Lim also owns a chain of malls here and elsewhere in Pangasinan and nearby provinces, thus people dubbed the city’s mayoral race as the clash of two mall magnates.

After she was proclaimed winner, Fernandez met her family and told them that she was relinquishing her post in their business so she could focus on the affairs of the city.

Meanwhile, Brian Lim, son of the outgoing mayor who ran under the Nacionalista Party, won as vice mayor.

Elected councilors were actress Maybelyn de la Cruz-Fernandez, Karlos Reyna, Alfie Fernandez, Jigs Seen, Marvin Fabia, and Joey Tamayo, all under Fernandez’s ticket, and Jesus Canto, Red Mejia, Guillermo Vallejos and Alvin Coquia who belong to the Lim camp.

Fernandez said her immediate thrust is to make Dagupan City graft and corruption-free as well as free from illegal drugs.