DAGUPAN CITY – The late Mayor Alipio “Al” Fernandez, Jr. was conferred the title of “Pinablin Ama Na Dagupan” following the unanimous approval of a resolution authored by ABC President and Ex-Officio member Dean Bryan Kua, during a special session of the Sanggunian Panlungsod (SP) at Metroplaza on August 10.

Since Mayor Fernandez’s demise on August 9, Liga President Bryan Kua advocated for the award along with various city department heads led by Atty. Farah Decano that urged  for the conferment on Mayor Al Fernandez as ”Pinablin Ama Na Dagupan”.

The title given was in recognition of Fernandez’s achievements in a lifetime, especially his accomplishments and contributions to the city during his stint as a public servant.

Mayor Fernandez dedicated many years in service to the city, including serving as number one Councilor, as Vice Mayor then as Mayor from 1992 to 2001 and 2007 to 2010.

Dagupan City received many awards and recognitions under the auspices of the late Mayor Fernandez. These include Special Citation for Most Business-Friendly LGU award from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with German Technical Cooperation in 2009, Best Component City Disaster Coordinating Council in 2009, UNICEF’s Child-Friendly City Leadership Award in 1991 among many others.

He also received numerous awards on behalf of the city including being the Most Supportive City Mayor in Sports Development (1988), Most Supportive City Mayor to Non-Formal Education (1997), Most Supportive City Mayor in the Implementation of Nutrition Programs (1996-1997), Progressive Alliance of Citizens for Democracy’s Most Outstanding City Mayor – Urban Category (1995) and the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Outstanding City Mayor – Urban Category (1994).

Fernandez was also responsible for numerous infrastructure projects such as the City Museum, the City Library, the People’s Astrodome, Senior Citizen Building, City Health Office, PNP Building, the Market Building at Herrero-Perez and even the Welcome Arches found in all entry and exit points in the city.

Some of the many projects launched by Fernandez included the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in 2008, Pawil Dagupan Program in 1999, Philhealth Insurance coverage for qualified indigents, the sidewalk recovery and the accreditation of the city’s One Stop Business Center (OSBC) as ISO 9001:2000 in 2009.

He also launched the Gilon Gilon Festival in 1997, which served as precursor of the Bangus Festival.

After his terms as the mayor, Fernandez, Jr. also served as Undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and was later appointed as Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration.

Liga President Bryan Kua dwelt on his personal experience with the late mayor  when he proposed the resolution.

“Napakalaking tulong ang naibigay nila sa aming mga barangay captains. He was a mentor to all of us. He was always there to help us whenever we faced challenges. He was like a father to us, ” said Kua.

Meanwhile, Councilor Joey Tamayo disclosed that the lifetime recognition is rightfully awarded to the late Fernandez.

“Karapat-dapat lang na igawad ang parangal na ito sa isang lider na mabait, maka-Diyos at makatao. Isang tunay na Ama na lingkod bayan, at nag-aasikaso sa lahat ng kanyang mga anak,” said Tamayo.

Meanwhile, Majority Floor Leader Councilor Maybelyn Rose DC. Fernandez, who presided over the session, lauded Kua for coming up with the resolution.

“He (Fernandez) was a true father to every Dagupeno. We wish to thank the barangay captains, headed by ABC President Bryan Kua, for pushing this resolution. I am sure that the family of the late Mayor Al Fernandez will appreciate this gesture.”

A copy of the approved resolution will be given to the family of the late Mayor Al Fernandez for their information. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)