DAGUPAN CITY, February 14, 2004
 (STAR) By Eva Visperas - Better known for its bangus (milkfish) products, this city has officially set a new world record for the longest barbecue.

As part of the Bangus Festival held in May last year, more than a hundred thousand residents and tourists braved a heavy downpour to participate in the effort to simultaneously place 10,000 pieces of bangus on 1,000 barbecue grills, each grill measuring one meter long. Dagupan City toppled the previous record set by Peru at 617 meters.

"The longest barbecue measured 1,007.56 meters (3,305.64 feet) and was created by the people of Dagupan City, Philippines on May 3, 2003 as part of the city’s Bangus Festival," stated a certificate sent by the Guinness Book of World Records to the city government last Jan. 26.

This is actually the second bid made by the Dagupan City government to break the record for the world’s longest barbecue.

In 2002, the city government spent P2 million in a failed bid to break the record. The committee that handled the event failed to address the lack of charcoal and committed several errors.

The city government spent another P2 million, excluding the amount donated by several sponsors, in its second bid.

Mayor Benjamin Lim told The STAR that he received the letter confirming Dagupan City’s successful bid from Marco Frigatti, who is in charge of the Records Research Services of the Guinness World Records.

"It’s a long wait but it’s worth it," he said.

Lim added that this "proved one thing. What seemed impossible at first became possible because of community cooperation."

He said he has yet to sit down and discuss if they should maintain the record they set or make a bid to break another record for the Bangus Festival this year.

Because of the world record the city has set, Lim said the demand for Dagupan bangus products has increased in both local and international markets. This, he added, has fulfilled the vision of Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.

De Venecia has allocated several millions of pesos from his countrywide development fund for the propagation of Bonuan bangus at the Dagupan Bangus Hatchery. He is also helping in the funding of a multimillion-peso bangus processing plant in this city. — With Cesar Ramirez

‘John-John should apologize’ The Philippine Star 02/14/2004

CEBU — Instead of dragging others into the Perdido Lex controversy, it would be better for Vice Gov. John Henry Gregory Osmeña to ask for forgiveness from the Cebuanos if he has already spent the funds of the foundation, his gubernatorial opponent, Celestino Martinez Jr., said yesterday.

Martinez reacted to the conditions set by Osmeña in accepting the challenge of another gubernatorial bet, Gwendolyn Garcia, to undergo a lie detector test over the Perdido Lex issue.

Osmeña wanted Martinez to be included in the test before taking on Gwendolyn’s challenge. Martinez merely laughed at his rival’s condition.

Martinez said he has no knowledge about the Perdido Lex issue since the transactions happened at the provincial capitol.

He said it is not a political case either but a crime of alleged malversation of public funds committed by somebody at the provincial government.

Martinez said the circumstances are clear that "Perdido Lex is John-John Osmeña," alleging that it was the vice governor’s chief of staff, Willie Mulla, who followed up the transactions, and that it was his cook who was one of the foundation’s supposed incorporators.

Martinez also claimed that when the provincial board granted accreditation to Perdido Lex, Osmeña and board member Victor Maambong, committee chairman on accreditation, were still friends and political allies. — Freeman News Service

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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