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New Dagupan road cited

United States-based residents of Dagupan City are optimistic on the expansion of real estate by 30 percent brought about by the R200-million Dawel-Pantal-Lacao Road in the city which opened recently.

The road traverses the city's impressive array of fishponds and is expected to ease its worsening traffic problem.

"Our citymates abroad could hardly believe that our city would grow and expand by the simple expedient of a new road and bridge that came from House Speaker Jose C. de Venecia Jr.'s Countrywide Development Fund (CDF)," former Councilor and Association of Barangay Captains president Alfredo Dawana, who has a real estate business in San Francisco, California, said.

Speaking for Dagupenos and Pangasinenses living in San Francisco, Dawana, 67, predicted that the new Dawel-Pantal-Lucao Road "will literally break new ground and open new life in Dagupan which is a tribute to our leaders, especially the Speaker."

President Arroyo inaugurated the road recently, accompanied by De Venecia, Public Works and Highways Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr., and Mayor Benjamin Lim and other officials.

The five-kilometer road starts from Sitio Dawel in Barangay Bonuan Gueset, passing Barangay Pantal, and ends in Barangay Lucao, which is surrounded by the Pantal River and Lingayen Gulf, producer of the world-famous Bonuan Bangus. (Jun Velasco)

Dulmatin hurt in clash

A suspected Jemaah Islamiyah leader allegedly involved in the 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia in which at least 200 persons were killed and many wounded who later joined the Abu Sayyaf Group was reportedly wounded in an encounter with the Philippine Army in Sulu last week.

Brig. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, commander of the Special Forces Regiment, said that the PA received reports that said that Dulmatin, a Malaysian engineer who has $ 10-million bounty from the United States for his neutralization, was wounded during a firefight with Army Special Forces in Mount Dapo, Talipao, Sulu last Jan. 16.

Ortiz said the report is still being validated by field units in Sulu. "Based on signal intelligence... there are reports that he (Dulmatin) had sustained injuries... but there's no confirmation yet," Ortiz said.

The military had said that Dulmatin and another JI operative, Umar Patek, are with the main group of the Abu Sayyaf.

Army 1st Lt. Almirante Mijares, commander of the 8th Special Forces Company that engaged the Abu Sayyaf in the three-hour firefight, said he and his men also received reports that Dulmatin was injured. …