By Mortz C. Ortigoza
ALCALA – Former Pangasinan Congressman Mark O. Cojuangco said the state-of-the-art corn and palay drying facility that formally opened last Thursday is the most efficient in the province.
He said the facility, together with its counterpart in Villasis town, funded from the share of this town’s Tobacco Excise Tax is bigger and cheaper compared to the one given by the South Korean government to the province of Pangasinan in Sta. Barbara town.
“Sobrang mahal iyon (Korean project) maliit ang capacity noon at saka ang gatung noon kerosene hinde ipa ”.
Cojuangco said the rice husk powered drying facility constructed by the Malaysian cost P80 million while the lot is worth P20 million.
A source said the Korean project in Sta. Barbara in partnership with administration of Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. cost P200 million.
“At saka mas maliit ang kapasidad niya (Korean project) at wala siyang bodegang ganito (kalaki),” the former solon said by referring to the huge space in the facility here.
Cojuangco said the facility could serve the farmers here and the nearby towns to dry with a minimal fee their corn and palay especially during the rainy season.
Mayor Ryan Paolo V. Mencias said farmers here could be charged 50 centavos per kilo while farmers outside this town could be charged 65 centavos on the same kilo.
The former solon said the minimal fee is not to earn a windfall but to recoup the electricity, the chaff and other costs of production in running the facility.
Cojuangco added the operation of the project, that could accommodate 400 tons of corn daily, is a rebuffed to his critics that called the facility white elephant.
Former Mayor Manny Collado said that the edifice and those at Villasis town have been conceptualized by Cojuangco when he was still a congressman.
He said he, the former solon, and former Villasis Mayor Nato Abrenica went to Malaysia to see how the huge machine was run.
“Noong pumunta kami in Malaysia. Sabi ng Malaysian nagbibilad din kami ng palay noong 10 years ago. Sabi nila within 24 hours pagka harvest nila diretso na sa dryer sa kanila . Panay mechanized sila kaya mabilis”.
Cojuangco said that in terms of the manufacturing of corn and palay drying facility the Malaysians are the leader in all of South East Asia.
The solon hopes that someday all the corn and palay dependent towns and cities in Pangasinan would have a drying facility.
“At dapat magkaroon ng ganito sa mga bayan-bayan sa buong probinsiya ng Pangasinan. Para hindi na kailangan lumayo pa at mag dry sa road”.
Aside from palay and corn the facility could dry too mongo and soybeans.