Lingayen – To further bolster efforts to eradicate poverty in Pangasinan, the Archdiocese of Lingayen – Dagupan and the Province of Pangasinan led the signing of “I CARE Commitment” which enjoins the church and the state represented by the provincial government in a partnership “to reach out to the masses.”
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President, and Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr., along with Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim, Jr.; Fr. Hernan Caronongan, Ministry of Social Action (MISA) Caritas Director, and Fr. Allan Abuan signed said commitment during the Poverty Summit held at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) Gymnasium last September 5.
Archbishop Villegas, who delivered the keynote message on the earlier part of the summit, asked the parishioners to contemplate on the sufferings of Jesus Christ as he urged them to reach out to the poor and needy.
“The year of the poor (2014-2015) calls for the intimacy with the Man on the cross. The richest is the man who loves, and the poorest is the one who thinks for himself,” he said.
Giving emphasis on three theological virtues – faith, hope and love, the Archbishop exhorted the Catholic Church devotees to desist indifference and selfishness as he stressed that “all blessings from God are meant to be shared.”
For the part of the province, Governor Espino bared that under his administration, the provincial government has implemented the ‘Point of Care Program’ (POC) in partnership with PhilHealth which entitles poor Pangasinenses to avail of the ‘no balance policy’ in hospitals run and managed by the province.
To assure the quality of services offered in hospitals of the province, Governor Espino noted that the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital (PPH) in San Carlos City had already gained its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) status in May 2014. The Provincial Health Office (PHO), on the other hand, is the first health office of a provincial Local Government Unit (LGU) in the entire country that was awarded the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Certification in January 23, 2014.
On top of the healthcare development thrust of the incumbent provincial administration, massive rehabilitation and upgrading of building and facilities of the 14 district and community hospitals were undertaken since 2007 to cater to the growing number of patients admitted in hospitals of the province.
With all the developments done in hospitals of the province, the provincial chief executive noted that many Local Government Units (LGUs) from various parts of the country have visited the province to have a closer view and to express intent to adopt and replicate Pangasinan’s best practices in hospital management.
The Espino administration remains steadfast on its poverty alleviation efforts and employment generation programs conducted by the Provincial Employment Services Office (PESO) which are all geared towards bringing a brighter future for every family in the province.
As part of the I CARE Commitment, Fr. Caronongan had also explained to the parishioners the MISA-Caritas Lingayen Dagupan: Becoming Neighbor Program.
/Mark Gerry Naval Oblanca