BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Dagupan’s Bangus Festival lost a bit of its luster today, with the death of its originator, former Mayor Benjamin Saplan Lim, Wednesday morning, January 16. Lim suffered a major stroke last May 2013 and has not recovered since. He was 66 years old.
Benjie Lim was a successful entrepreneur with a chain of malls in Pangasinan. During the term of President Fidel V. Ramos, he was appointed as manager of Duty Free Philippines and transformed it into the 4th largest source of revenue for the government.
He became representative of the 4th District of Pangasinan in 1998. After serving one term, he won as mayor of Dagupan in 2001. The next year, he started the Bangus Festival, one of the biggest such festival in Northern Luzon, usually running on the last week of April.
During his term, Lim started the socialized housing program in the city which he called Bangusville. He also began the rehabilitation of the Dagupan River and launched the Dagupan River Cruise Program. He regained his post as mayor in 2007 and was on his third term when he suffered a stroke.
He was replaced by Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez, who remains the city mayor.
Benjie Lim is survived by his wife Celia and children Irene and Dagupan Vice Mayor Brian, who is trying to regain his father’s former post. – Rappler.com