Feature: Pangasinan cries "Number 1"
By Danny O Sagun
Dagupan City (11 February) -- The vision of Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. is to make Pangasinan number one in Region 1 and if possible in the entire country.
Provincial Administrator told the Lingguhang Talakayan sa Kapitolyo last Monday that indeed the developments taking place in the province already point to the realization of the governor's vision.
Asked to qualify as to the basis for that claim "Pangasinan No. 1" as press releases from the provincial government wanted to portray, Baraan said that it was actually "a battlecry" that can be attained given the strong will of the present administration to go for it.
He fired statistics though to prove that Pangasinan has already outpaced other provinces in the region in terms of delivery of basic services and upgrading of infrastructures and facilities particularly public hospitals.
He said that the province now is number one in tourist arrivals from only number three in 2007. Health insurance enrolment of indigents with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation reached 225,000, a big leap from the 26,000 indigent families enrolled in 2007.
Health services have greatly improved with the upgrading of hospital facilities and addition of buildings, he said.
The province spent some P1 billion for the construction, repair, rehabilitation and upgrading of roadlines, government buildings and facilities, hospitals, school buildings and agriculture extension facilities. Some P159 million was spent for the renovation and upgrading of hospitals and its facilities.
The provincial Capitol is now a major tourist attraction in the province because of the major facelift it underwent, he said. The province also boasts of the famous Hundred Islands, the Manaoag Church and other tourist sites.
Foreign investors have already expressed interest to do business in Pangasinan with the laying of basic infrastructures like the Sual Port which is expected to be completed in two years, he said. Three groups of Korean investors are willing to establish a retirement village and to invest in mining, agri-business, electric car manufacturing and other ventures, he bared.
The biggest province in Region 1 in terms of population and land area, Pangasinan, which he said, lagged in development for the previous years, is bound to leap forward and may yet become truly number one in the near future and leave behind what he called "missed opportunities" in the past.
He along with hospital chiefs and department heads who also graced the media forum debunked claims by the previous administration that it was the one which delivered more services to the people. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]