DAGUPAN CITY (PIA) – Governor Ramon Guico III delivered his first State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Monday, March 27 at the Sison Auditorium in Lingayen, Pangasinan, with the theme: "Reclaiming our Values, Refocusing our Visions."
Governor Guico reported before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members and the entire populace of Pangasinan his accomplishments for the first nine months of his term as Pangasinan’s leader.
One of the notable accomplishments of the provincial government of Pangasinan is the improved care and treatment of the Provincial Jail’s persons deprived of liberty with the increase in meal allowance from P70 to P100, and provision of regular medical checkups.
In terms of safety and security, Governor Guico reported that 87% of all barangays and 63% of all municipalities and cities were drug-free and the crime rate in the province also decreased by 16% by the end of 2022.
The provincial government provided assistance to local towns and other provinces that were ravaged by calamities and natural disasters through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).
Plans to establish a first responders team and to hire personnel to guard the province’s borders were also mentioned.
Strengthening borders is a priority to safeguard the province from criminal activities and the spread of infections that will affect livestock such as African Swine Flu and Avian Flu.
The provincial government institutionalized a feeding program in collaboration with private companies as well, and formed a stronger partnership with the province’s farmers to ensure food security.
Governor Guico cited that aside from being the Bangus Capital of the Philippines, Pangasinan is also the biggest supplier of malaga in the country which the province should capitalize on.
He likewise shared the provincial government’s feat of taking over the second largest salt farm in Pangasinan in order to eventually establish the Pangasinan Salt Center which will help not only the province, but also the entire Philippines to be self-sufficient in the production of salt.
Meanwhile, in terms of investments and promotions, Governor Guico mentioned the establishment of the Provincial Economic Development and Investment and Promotions Office and plans to conduct an investments and promotions summit in Manila to showcase Pangasinan to a wider and broader audience, and perhaps to encourage investors that may put up international and branded accommodation establishments in the province.
Investment in the people through volunteerism was also a key accomplishment of Governor Guico’s administration as they established the Pangasinan Volunteerism Office last December 2022 as the province hosted the celebration of the National Volunteers Month – a first in the country.
Tourism was also cited to be one of the driving forces in generating jobs and income for the people of Pangasinan.
Governor Guico spoke about the See Pangasinan Listening Tours that were conducted in Natividad, Alaminos City, and Mangatarem last September 2022 wherein he was introduced to various tourism stakeholders in the farm tourism and eco-tourism communities and local tourism officers.
A total of 355 tourism enterprises also became accredited through the regular Mobile Accreditation Caravan conducted in partnership between the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office and the Department of Tourism Region 1.
Perhaps the most notable accomplishment in Pangasinan’s cultural affairs since the beginning of Governor Guico’s term is the establishment of the Pangasinan Museum in the Casa Real.
Renovations and museum preparations are currently ongoing, at the cost of P35 million.
Among the launched approaches to boost tourism while preserving the environment is the establishment of the Baywalk Development and Management Office, which will open many opportunities for Pangasinenses.
In terms of infrastructure, Governor Guico shared the provincial government’s plans to build better housing for locals and to determine safer locations for future housing projects, to be led by the Provincial Housing and Urban Development Authority.
The governor said, upon consulting with Housing Secretary Jerry Acuzar, projects like these were especially supported by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos, Jr., thus gaining the support of the national government.
Plans for the establishment of the Pangasinan Polytechnic University and the construction of the Pangasinan East-West Expressway, being re-named as the Pangasinan Link Expressway or PLEX, were also highlighted in the governor’s address, along with other strategies to establish, renovate, and strengthen farm-to-market roads.
Governor Guico’s first SOPA concluded by urging Pangasinenses to pursue the unifying vision that “By 2031, Pangasinan is the premier province of great opportunities, sustained socio – economic growth, and a place where one can experience life at its best.” (JCR/AMB/PIA Pangasinan)