LINGAYEN --- Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. said in his 8th State of the Province Address (SOPA) last Monday that because of the full cooperation of all sectors, Pangasinan is now steadily on the rise. (Dahil sa maigting na pagtutulungan, naging tuloy-tuloy ang pag-angat ng ating mahal na lalawigan sa loob ng pito at kalahating taon na tayo ay nanilbihan).
He expressed sadness however that sometimes his administration’s gains are marred by “destructive” and “selfish” politics. (mapanira at makasariling pulitika).
He lamented the fact that for the last two weeks prior to the SOPA, some vicious articles in a national daily tried to malign his reputation and cast doubts on his personal integrity.
The newspaper used a certain complainant named Rolando Rea to sow intrigues and confusion over the 3-km walled proposed eco-tourism zone in barangay Estanza in Lingayen, the imposing structure allegedly bars the general public from accessing the Lingayen beach and is erected allegedly to hide black sand mining activity in the area.
“Ito ay isang malaking panlilinlang. (This is a big deception),” according to the good governor. Espino said that the original complainants (Brgy. Kagawad Vicente C. Oliquino of barangay Sabangan, Lingayen and his group) have since withdrawn their complaints against the establishment of the eco-tourism zone and denied reports that there is black sand mining activity in the area and that they have already pledged their support to the eco-tourism project because the DENR has already given its Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC).
Despite some criticisms maliciously spawned by the governor’s detractors, Pangasinan remains at the helm, bagging numerous awards like the Region I Best Performing Province in Local Governance, regional Hall of Famer in the aspects of local governance and consistent regional champion in other fields.
The Provincial Accounting Office bagged the National Most Outstanding Provincial Accounting Office in 2008 and 2013 and the Provincial Employment and Services Office sealed the National Best Performing PESO for the year 2012 and 2013.
“Our socio-economic indices point to continued progressive growth as per the record of NEDA. In 2013, our inflation rate which was 1.50% is lower than the regional inflation rate which was 1.90%, lower than the national inflation rate of 2.9%, “said the governor.
“Our consumer price index in Pangasinan is 132.5 in 2014, lower than the regional price index which is 134.3 and much lower than the national price index at 140.8.
The peso purchasing power of Pangasinan is 0.75, slightly higher than the regional rate which is 0.74. The poverty reduction is faster at 6.9% compared to the whole country which is only 1.3%, “ the governor stressed.
The Department of Agriculture has been honored as National Rice Achiever for two successive years, 2013 to 2014. The province rice fields have been continuously expanding from 181,344 hectares in 2007 to 256,262 hectares in 2014 and the ricefields’ yield have been continuously increasing too from 811,037 metric tons in 2007 to 1.292 million metric tons in 2014.
The province corn fields also expanded from 43,568 hectares in 2008 to 50,267 in 2014. In fact, 66.5% of the total corn production in entire region I come from Pangasinan.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also awarded the province as National Outstanding LGU in the management of Credit Surety Fund for 2013 up to 2014.
All these economic indicators mean only one thing, said the governor. “Our economy is undoubtedly on the upswing. (Tuloy-tuloy ang pang-angat ng Pangasinan).”