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PIA Press Release

Pangasinan foundation date finally determined

By Danny O Sagun

Dagupan City (10 February) -- Finally, a date has been determined as to when Pangasinan was born as a province.

It is April 5, 1580, based on available historical records as thoroughly researched and studied upon by the Research and Study Committee created by Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr last year.

The committee, chaired by former Vice-Gov. Gonzalo T. Duque, in its meeting Monday at the Capitol Resort Hotel adopted the date based on two historical events.

It was in the year 1580 when Pangasinan was organized into a political unit under an alcalde mayor who at the time had the authority as head of province with judicial function. No exact date was made available in historical records however.

On April 5 in the year 1572, Pangasinan was made an encomienda by the Spanish royal crown to receive officially instructions on the Catholic faith, thus the province was then organized under one leadership and had identity before the Spanish royal court.

After thorough deliberations on the researches made by members of the committee, the group decided to choose April 5, 1580 as the founding date for Pangasinan.

Board Member Alfonso C. Bince, Jr., committee vice-chair, drafted a proposed ordinance for the purpose. He said the measure is due for consideration and enactment by the provincial board in its next regular session.

The proposed measure stated that "it has long been the dream of Pangasinan leaders, historians, researchers, academicians, educators and other sectors of society to determine the foundation day or anniversary of the province."

Duque noted that Pangasinan appeared to be the only province in the country which has not determined its foundation day. Bulacan has set August 15, 1578 as its foundation day, while Pampanga was said to be founded on December 11, 1571. He said there was no proof when Bulacan became a province and yet the province has been observing that day.

Pangasinan, for its part, has been observing November 13 as "Pangasinan Day" in honor of the late House Speaker Eugenio Perez, a noted Pangasinan leader, although no provision in the law stipulated that the date was the foundation date for Pangasinan, observed Duque.

Duque also said the date was the birthday of the former House leader and thus could not be made as the foundation day for the province so that there was that necessity, he stressed, to determine the nearest date based on historical records.

A microfilm from the archives in Seville, Spain was the basis for the commissioning of the province as an encomienda on April 5, 1572. Dr. Rosario Mendoza Cortez in her book Pangasinan, 1572-1800 (UP Press, 1974), stated that Pangasinan was "among those organized into alcaldias mayor in 1580," citing Miguel de Loarca?s Relacion delas Islas Filipinas (1582) and Bishop Domingo Salazar?s confirmation in his chronicle in 1588 stating that the province was "among the seven well-populated provinces of Luzon which had an alcalde mayor... before 1856."

The National Historical Institute affirmed that the province was one of the provinces created by Governor-General Ronquillo de Penalosa in 1580 with Don Pedro Manrique appointed as alcalde mayor. But there are no available documents showing the exact date of Manrique?s appointment.

While Pangasinan might have been trading with Chinese merchants before the Spaniards came, there was no evidence to prove that the province was already a political unit then, leading the committee to disregard suggestions that the foundation date should be traced back to the pre-Spanish era.

The committee also set aside the creation of Pangasinan as a province under the American colonial regime thru Act No. 86 on February 16, 1901 entitled "An Act Extending the Provisions of the Provincial Government Act to the Province of Pangasinan," noting that Pangasinan already existed as a province prior to the American regime.

The proposed measure however introduced a colatilla stating that the date shall hold true until new and more conclusive evidences are discovered. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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