In a very unexpected and surprising political development, gubernatorial candidate Hernani “Nani” Braganza scored a very impressive and dazzling campaign when he along with his running mate, Arturo Lomibao, virtually “conquered” the second district of Pangasinan, a well-known bailiwick of Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. Hundreds of cheering exuberant townsfolk from the towns of Urbiztondo, Mangatarem and Bugallon positively responded to Braganza’s campaign dubbed “Lakbay Pangasinan, Lakbay Pagbabago,” vowing to give him their all-out support.
The Liberal Party in Pangasinan, Braganza explained, would focus on grassroots campaigning and deliver its messages directly in far-flung barangays which comprise the largest number of voters in the 45-day campaign period.
“We’ve seen and heard how Alaminos rose from a rural town to become a bustling city through Mayor Braganza’s modern governance, something that we also want to be replicated in our town and of course the whole province,” said a local meat vendor from Mangatarem.
A halo-halo vendor, Carla Ocoma, of Urbiztondo, said he believes Braganza is a leader as effective as President Benigno Aquino III, saying “basta manok ni PNoy manok din namin.”
No less than the President during his visit last March 15 in Dagupan and Alaminos, appealed to Pangasinenses to vote Braganza for governor so that they can also benefit from reforms and programs similar to those successfully carried out by Braganza in Alaminos. “We are very excited and full of hope. I pray that Braganza will be given by our people a chance to serve” a farmer during a rally in Bugallon said after appealing to Braganza to stop the onerous 300 percent real property increase imposed by the Espino government.
Mayor Braganza stands tall on his “giant projects” in Alaminos city such as the airport, public university, hospital, convention center and hotel, factory, housing, free food for elementary pupils and computer laboratories with internet connection in all barangays.
MANLELUAG HOT SPRING
Braganza was accorded thunderous applause in Mangatarem when he vowed to prioritize the development and protection of the town’s Manleluag Hot Spring into a major tourist attraction.
“The people of Mangatarem know very well the potential of their great natural resource and are very disappointed by the ineptitude of concerned agencies to develop it into a popular tourism destination,” Braganza said.
In 2005, Mayor Braganza convinced then President Gloria Arroyo to return to the local government of Alaminos the management and care of the Hundred Islands National Park arguing that the park could be more effectively run by the local government.
Braganza was proven right. From an annual 45,000 local and foreign tourist arrivals before the turnover, HINP is now drawing almost 200,000 tourists and generating huge revenues for Alaminos and more jobs for its unemployed.
FACTORIES FOR SWEET MANGO, KAWAYAN
Mayor Braganza pointed again during a rally in Urbiztondo that in order to generate more jobs and investment, “Pangasinan must have huge factories for our local products.” “We have the sweetest mangoes of San Carlos and an abundance of bamboos in the third district but we have yet to see factories so that we can not only market our produce in other provinces but also outside the country, while giving employment at the same time, said Braganza.
Braganza vowed to help as initial move the putting up of “trading posts” in every town for the various products in Pangasinan such as the puto of Calasiao, tapa and peanut brittle of Mangaldan, sweet mango of San Carlos, longaniza of Alaminos and many others to give them the needed promotion.
Braganza took pride in his administration’s E-Kawayan Factory which gave wide-ranging benefits to his constituents not only in Alaminos but in the entire first district.
With the total log ban, our government now focuses on the use of bamboo which is not only good to our environment but also to bamboo growers and factory workers. The E-Kawayan factory in Alaminos employs out-of-school youths who were trained to make tables and chairs for public schools and other world-class furniture made of bamboo.
ESPINO WILL FALL IN BUGALLON
During the rally in Bugallon, many residents led by Mayor Ric Orduña expressed their disappointment with their adopted son, Amado Espino Jr, as they even vowed to campaign for Braganza.
“Dito sa Bugallon nagsimula si Amado Espino sa pulitika. Dito rin namin siya ibabagsak,” said Orduña, a former friend and trusted political lieutenant of Gov. Espino. Orduña has filed a criminal charge of plunder with the Ombudsman, accusing Gov. Espino of pocketing more than PhP900 million from the proceeds of jueteng and other illegal numbers games in Pangasinan. Another former ally of Gov. Espino, Fernando Alimagno alias “Boy Bata,” has submitted his own affidavit at the Ombudsman’s office confirming Orduña’s allegations. Alimagno confessed to being one of the country’s biggest jueteng operators. Orduña explained that he has chosen Braganza as his gubernatorial bet as he was aware of Braganza’s accomplishments as a public servant, both in the national and local government.
He also noted that Braganza was one of the few Pangasinan mayors who had never taken a bribe from jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling. “Malaki ang paghanga ko kay Nani. Walang jueteng sa Alaminos dahil ayaw niyang tumanggap ng lagay. Malaki rin ang nakita kong pagbabago sa Alaminos mula nang maupo siya bilang mayor,” Orduña said.