Lingayen- - -Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. has appealed to the members of the media specifically the television network which broadcasted an unfounded report in their late night news program aired February 24, claiming “a flesh-eating disease is fast spreading in the province of Pangasinan” to help the province recover from the ill-effects of the globally circulated story.
In an interview with the governor on February 28, he said that although the television network has officially stated their public apology last night, February 27, the governor finds it necessary for the network to exert additional effort in helping Pangasinan to get back into its normal state.
Gov. Espino said that the provincial government appreciates the network’s gesture of apology but the damage has been done and the least that the province seeks is its effort to help rebuild the image of Pangasinan as one of the country’s premier provinces.
“Six and a half years ago we ranked last among the four provinces in the region in terms of tourism. We did all we can to boost the industry until we became number one,” the governor said as he disclosed that with the negative publicity that went trending and viral on social media a lot of tourists retracted or cancelled their scheduled bookings in many hotels in Pangasinan specifically in Alaminos City (home of the famous Hundred Islands) and Bolinao town (the Boracay of the North).
Further, the governor said that due to the negative report three groups scheduled to hold Lakbay Aral at the Capitol cancelled their tours.
With this, Gov. Espino has urged the media and the TV network to help the province recover from the damage done by the story on the provincial economy, particularly, its thriving food, tourism industries and forthcoming summer festivals.
He also requested all Pangasinenses to brace themselves and help the provincial government disseminate information that the province is “worth visiting” and the people are healthy and friendly.
It can be recalled that early morning after the negative story came out the previous night on national TV, Governor Espino instructed Provincial Health Officer Anna Teresa de Guzman to immediately check on the true condition of a certain Mary Grace from Sta. Barbara and a certain Alex from Villasis who were allegedly reported suffering from a mysterious disease which the network linked to a “flesh-eating disease prophecy by a self-styled prophet Vincent Selvakur.”
“Nandiri ang mga tao sa Pangasinan dahil sa report at marapat lamang na mayroon some kind of serious correction not just of the report’s inaccuracy, but its impact on the livelihood of a lot of people and the credibility of the province as a major tourist destination,” the Vice Governor said.
In a press conference held February 25 at the Kalantiao building conference room -- the day after the alleged issue hogged television headlines -- Provincial Health Officer Anna Teresa de Guzman clarified the report as “unfounded, not true and baseless,” adding that it has caused panic not only to the people of Pangasinan but even more to those living abroad.
Medical experts had determined that the patient in Villasis suffered from “psoriasis” and that in Sta. Barbara, an adverse reaction to a multi-drug therapy of leprosy.