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Pangasinan to regulate use of groundwater

Lingayen, Pangasinan—To conserve and sustain an adequate supply of water, the use of groundwater in the province of Pangasinan will be regulated.

In its regular session on January 29, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) approved an ordinance sponsored by Vice Governor Mark Ronald DG. Lambino for the said purpose.

“Indiscriminate drilling and excavation of wells, as well as unregulated use and excessive extraction of groundwater, not only dry up scarce water sources but also destroy the environment, resulting in contamination by toxic or hazardous materials, seepage, and chemical residues,” the ordinance stated.

The ordinance pointed out that indiscriminate drilling and excavation of wells may lead to land subsidence or a decline in land surface elevation, which can cause flooding, pipeline breakage, or even the collapse of buildings and other structures.

Based on the updated Master Plan on Water Resources Management in Two Selected River Basins (Pangasinan River Basin and Tigum Aganan River Basin) reported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), an estimated 60% of groundwater withdrawals in the Pangasinan river basin are from unregistered wells.

Saltwater intrusion, as reported by the agencies, is often observed in deep wells, and adequate underground surveys and checking of groundwater quality should be conducted before groundwater development in the Pangasinan River basin.

“The NWRB has further concluded in its Study on Integrated Water Resources Management for Poverty Alleviation and Economic Development in the Pangasinan River Basin in the Republic of the Philippines (2011) that the depletion of groundwater in the provinces of Bulacan, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija has been accelerated because of inadequate groundwater use regulation in those areas; in particular, the excessive abstraction of groundwater within the Pangasinan river basin is causing the deterioration of the quality of groundwater and lowering of groundwater level/land subsidence,” the ordinance said.

As noted in the ordinance, the provincial board of Pangasinan aims to ensure a sustainable potable water supply while preserving the environment and ecological balance by regulating and monitoring the use of groundwater within its territorial jurisdiction.

Owners and/or operators of wells without NWRB permits and the requisite Local Government Unit (LGU) permits shall be penalized. The penalty includes P5,000 or imprisonment for three months.

(Ruby R.,Bernardino/PIMRO)

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3 Barracuda Energy Corp. to donate PhP10M to Pangasinan

LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—The 3 Barracuda Energy Corp., a registered renewable energy developer undertaking the development of a 550 MW solar plant in Bugallon town, is set to give a cash donation to the Provincial Government of Pangasinan (PGP) amounting to PhP10 million.

The donation, as stated in an approved provincial board resolution on January 29, is part of the corporate social responsibility of the energy developer in its desire to help the province uplift the socio-economic conditions of communities within its jurisdiction through the provision of financial assistance.

“Whereas, the 3 Barracuda Energy Corp. intends to transfer and convey unto the Province of Pangasinan the amount of P10,000,000.00 by way of donation,” the resolution authored by Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Member Vici M. Ventanilla stated.

Furthermore, it was disclosed in the resolution that “the Province of Pangasinan, as the recipient of the aforecited donation, undertakes to utilize the financial assistance granted by the 3 Barracuda Energy Corp. solely and exclusively for official use, such as related to education, health, disaster response, and the like, and shall accrue to the General Fund of the Province.”

Hence, a Deed of Donation will be executed to be signed between the province, represented by Governor Ramon V. Guico III, and the 3 Barracuda Energy Corp. through its authorized representative.

“The amount donated can be used by the province to cater to and respond immediately to the various necessities of the people, especially in times of calamities and emergencies,” the resolution cited.

(Ruby R. Bernardino/PIMRO)

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First-ever Pangasinan Marathon

Lingayen, Pangasinan – Almost 400 runners from the province, Quezon City, Cavite, Pampanga, and Laguna joined the first-ever Pangasinan Marathon held at the Capitol Plaza on January 28, here.

The event aimed to promote a healthy lifestyle, good mental and physical fitness and, strengthen camaraderie and sportsmanship.

(Chona C. Bugayong, Orland Llemos/PIMRO)

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Manila Water reaches out to Provincial Government of Pangasinan

LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—After Governor Ramon V. Guico III cleared the air on the termination of the concession agreement worth PhP8 billion, which died a ‘‘natural death,” Manila Water Philippine Ventures (MWPV) rolled up its sleeves and reached out to the Provincial Government of Pangasinan (PGP) to explore avenues for the revival of the project.

In a press statement dated January 26, MWPV stated that it reached out to the Provincial Government of Pangasinan (PGP) to explore the revival of the botched concession agreement.

“PGP and the consortium of MWPV remain open to explore partnerships on water supply for the province even after the concession agreement has been deemed mutually terminated at the close of 2023. This presents an opportunity to revisit the conditions precedent of the old contract and renew partnership for the benefit of Pangasinenses,” the press statement added.

Earlier, the PGP through Provincial Legal Officer, Atty. Baby Ruth Torre uncovered several irregularities concerning the project, including the confirmation and approval of the Certification of Successful Negotiation that came before the execution of the certification, the non-publication of the Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Submit Comparative Proposals in Reference to the PPP Provision, and no proof of payment of the Performance Security Bond, among others.

As disclosed by Governor Guico, his administration is not against the project, as the PGP’s thrust is to invite more investors that could produce more revenues for the province.

Under the concession agreement, MWPV will invest PhP8 billion in the next 25 years for the establishment of an infrastructure that will source water from the Agno River through riverbank filtration technology.

A total of 14 towns and cities will benefit from the project. These are the towns of Villasis, Malasiqui, Mangaldan, and Sta. Barbara, Calasiao, Mapandan, Manaoag, Binmaley, Lingayen, San Jacinto, and San Fabian, and the cities of Dagupan, Urdaneta, and San Carlos.

Currently, the company has an operation unit in the town of Calasiao through a 25-year joint venture agreement with the Calasiao Water District. (Ruby R. Bernardino/PIMRO)

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Pangasinan Polytechnic College to open doors on Valentine’s Day

Lingayen, Pangasinan – Pangasinan Polytechnic College, the first college fully owned and run by a provincial government in the Ilocos region, will open on February 14.

Governor Ramon V. Guico III announced the good news during the regular flag-raising ceremony on Monday, January 29.

The governor expressed gratitude to the team members who were part of the establishment and the inception of PPC. He said the province is keen on pushing for quality and accessible education for Pangasinenses.

Offering free college education and vocational courses to qualified students in the province of Pangasinan, the establishment of PPC signifies the fulfillment of the current administration’s commitment to provide and secure a brighter future for Pangasinense youth.

The establishment of PPC was supported by Provincial Ordinance No. 300-2023, passed by the provincial board on June 26, 2023, and amended through Provincial Ordinance No. 314-2024, based on consultations and standards set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on January 22 of this year.

Gov. Guico stated that aside from academics and athletics, the value of spirituality should be given importance.

“I believe, as one of the rulers of the province and as a person, we should also give much weight to spiritual development,” he said.

It can be recalled that in his first year as provincial chief executive, the governor felt optimistic that with the institutionalization of local universities and colleges, or LUCs, many LGU-sponsored education institutions would succeed from their beginnings, just like what happened to the University of Eastern Pangasinan, which made Binalonan the “hub of education” in eastern Pangasinan.

“The Pangasinan Polytechnic University is not a business-as-usual transition. It is a mind-altering aspiration that will soon be translated into reality,” Gov.Guico earlier said.

Qualified students of PPC will receive a full scholarship, covering tuition and miscellaneous fees, provided they adhere to the terms of the contract.

Under the governor’s direction, three campuses will be established in the towns of Lingayen, San Carlos City, and in the eastern part of the province.

Dr. Raymundo Rovillos, former chancellor of the University of the Philippines Baguio, was named the inaugural president of the PPC, the first college fully owned and run by a provincial government in the Ilocos region.

(Ruby R. Bernardino & Chona C. Bugayong/PIMRO)

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Cases of influenza, dengue, typhoid fever, acute gastroenteritis in Pangasinan down

LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—The Provincial Health Office (PHO) of Pangasinan disclosed that cases of influenza virus, dengue fever, typhoid fever, and acute gastroenteritis covering the period from January 1 to 22, 2024, are lower compared to the same period in 2023.

Based on the report from various inter-local health zones (ILHZs) in the province, current typhoid cases decreased by 60%. The towns of Bayambang, Malasiqui, Pozorrubio, and Sta. Maria incurred one case each during the first 22 days of January 2024, while there were 10 reported cases last year covering the same period.

Typhoid fever is a life-threatening infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi that is usually spread through contaminated food or water.

Surveillance data on influenza showed that cases last January 1–22, 2023, totaled 177, while 145 cases were reported during the same period in 2024. This shows a decline of 18%. Current data likewise discloses that Alaminos City has the highest number of cases with 29, followed by Lingayen Town with 17, and Binmaley with 10.

Influenza, also known as flu, is a contagious respiratory ailment caused by influenza viruses that can cause mild to severe illness and, at times, can lead to death if not treated.

An update on dengue recorded that 72 were afflicted from January 1–22, 2024, while 83 were recorded in the same period in 2023, thus translating to a 13% decrease. However, a single death was recorded involving an 11-year-old child from Binmaley town on January 9.

Dengue is a tropical disease caused by a virus caused by mosquitoes. The virus can cause fever, headaches, rashes, and pain throughout the body.

On acute gastroenteritis cases, the PHO noted a decrease of 23%. From January 1 to January 22, 2024, data showed 373 cases, while a total of 486 were reported in the same period in 2023. Included in the PHO current watchlist are the following: San Carlos City with 25 cases; Calasiao with 23; Lingayen with 20; Mangaldan with 17; Bolinao with 15; Bayambang with 14; and Dasol with 13.

Acute gastroenteritis is a disease that occurs when food or water is contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms such as Clostridium perfringens, Vibrio cholera, and E. coli. coli) or their toxins are consumed. Symptoms of the disease include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

The PHO warns the public to guard against illnesses by drinking enough water or fruit juices and by practicing proper hygiene, which includes regular hand washing.

(Ruby R. Bernardino/PIMRO)

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SP approves daily wage rate of newly-hired JOs & COS workers in PGP

LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), in its regular session on January 22, approved an ordinance entitled, “An Ordinance Prescribing the Daily Wage Rate of Newly-Hired Job Orders and Individual Contract of Service Workers in the Provincial Government of Pangasinan.”

Authored by SP Member Jerry Agerico B. Rosario, the ordinance stated that “Section 12 (3), Chapter 3, Title 1 (A), Book of the Administrative Code of 1987 provides that the Civil Service Commission (CSC) shall promulgate policies, standards, and guidelines for the Civil service and adopt plans and programs to promote economical, efficient, and effective personnel administration in the government.”

Furthermore, the ordinance disclosed that CSC Resolution No. 020709 provides guidelines regarding the hiring of contract of services and job orders entered by all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the government, including government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters.

“CSC-COA-DBM Joint Circular No. 01, S.2017, Subject: Rules and Regulations Governing Contract of Service and Job Order Workers in the Government; and COA-DBM Joint Circular No. 2, s.2020, Subject: Updated Rules and Regulations Governing Contract of Service (COS) and Job Order (JO) Workers in the Government provide the rules and regulations pertaining to the engagement and the payment of the services of COS and JO workers in the government,” the ordinance cited.

Hence, the daily wage rate for newly-hired job orders and Individual Contract of Service Employees under three different categories is as follows: support (encoder, utility worker, driver, etc.): PhP 590.91; skilled: PhP 800.62; and professional: PhP 850.15.

As defined in the ordinance, skilled workers are those whose function requires special skill, knowledge, or ability performed by an individual with a certificate issued by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Workers whose function falls under Support, on the other hand, include janitorial workers, security guards, data encoders, equipment and ground maintenance, and other services that support the day-to-day operation of the agency, hospital, office, or department.

Professional workers are those whose functions fall within the normal scope of duties and services performed by a professionally qualified individual properly registered in terms of the defined scope of practice of a professional regulatory law that governs such a profession.

Ms. Janet C. Asis, Human Resource Management Officer, said that the prescribed wage rate for the skilled worker is equivalent to that of a salary grade 3 employee, while the professional worker has the same rate as that with a salary grade 4.

Based on the ordinance, which takes effect upon its approval, the HRMO shall be responsible in determining the category of the JO and COS workers based on their job descriptions. (Ruby R. Bernardino/PIMRO)

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Pangasinan to receive grant from US-DA funded program

LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—A US-based non-profit organization is set to grant the Provincial Government of Pangasinan (PGP) PhP3.3 million, or US $58,121 worth of fishery paraphernalia.

Winrock International, which is based in Arkansas, USA, is implementing the ‘Building Safe Agriculture Food Enterprises (B-SAFE)’ funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under its Food for Progress Program.

An in-kind grant agreement shall serve as the legal instrument for the implementation of the project. Hence, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), in its regular session on January 22, approved a resolution authorizing Governor Ramon V. Guico III to sign, receive, and implement the in-kind donation. Aaron Sundsmo, Winrock International’s Associate Vice President of Agriculture, Resilience, and Water, will likewise sign

“The program aims to help the Philippines increase agricultural productivity by improving the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) in the production and management of supply chains and expanding the trade of agricultural and food products,” the resolution authored by SP Member Nicholi Jan Louie Q. Sison stated.

Fishery paraphernalia will include 40 sets of seine nets (kalokor), 10 units of chest freezers, and various fish processing kits.

“The Provincial Government of Pangasinan, through the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAgO), will be the lead agency in the implementation of the project with the objectives to further enhance harvest, production, and processing techniques and to strengthen the capacity of milkfish processors on food safety compliance for processing bangus to promote value-added,” the resolution stated. (Ruby R. Bernardino/PIMRO)

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BM Jerry Agerico Rosario urges employees to strive to be better workers

Hosted by the Office of the Provincial Secretariat, 4th District Board Member Jerry Agerico Rosario has centered his value on excellence during the province’s regular flag-raising on January 22.

With this, BM Rosario urged employees to strive to be better workers and better leaders, despite the criticisms.

“We should educate ourselves; we should treat ourselves to become better at serving other people, especially us who are working in government. We get a lot of special privileges, and that comes with greater responsibilities,” he added.

In line with this, BM Rosario further said that as workers in the provincial government, employees are in a special position to be an influence to others. He further identified the qualities that contribute on how to become an influence to others, which include integrity, excellence, optimism, and placing one’s self in the place of other people.

By integrity, he said this is an act of doing what is right even when no one is looking, while optimism is being able to see positive things that may happen despite the negative events.

He also talked about putting oneself in the place of other people or thinking of the interests of others instead of their own.

In this context, Gov. Ramon V. Guico III and his team lead the province by example toward the path of attaining the vision and mission of the province.
Recalling his statement in the past, the governor said that we cannot go that far unless we do our task according to our best Filipino values.
“The provincial government may have the most impressive programs and projects, but unless we act at the right time, participate in earnest, work as a team, and do our task according to our best Filipino values, we will not go far, ” he said.

In support of the statement of the governor, leaders, as well as department heads, shared their respective value-focus to inspire provincial government workers.

(Chona C. Bugayong / PIMRO)

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3615 CVOs from the 2nd district receive financial assistance from the provincial Capitol

Lingayen, Pangasinan – Gov. Ramon V. Guico III, Vice Gov. Mark Ronald DG Lambino, 2nd District BM Philip Theodore Cruz, 2nd District BM Haidee Pacheco, and 2nd District Cong. Mark Cojuangco, represented by his Executive Assistant Dang A. Manaois, spearheaded the financial distribution to some 3,615 Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) in the 2nd District.

The distribution was undertaken in three separate venues, namely the Narciso Ramos Sports Civic Center (NRSCC), Provincial Training and Development Center (PTDC) 1, and PTDC II, on January 19.

The financial assistance provided for the frontliners is in recognition and appreciation of their vital contributions and services in maintaining peace and order in the community.

‘Bagama’t hindi ganun kalaki ang ating matatanggap, ito po ay simbolo at pasasalamat na rin ng ating lalawigan ng Pangasinan sa inyong serbisyo. Alam kong mababa ang honorarium at naisip natin na kahit papaano ay makatulong sa inyo,’ the governor said.

The second district of Pangasinan comprises the towns of Binmaley, Bugallon, Labrador, Lingayen, Urbiztondo, Basista, Aguilar, and Mangatarem, respectively.

Showing their support for the province’s activities were Basista Mayor Jolly Resuello, Urbiztondo Mayor Modesto Operania, Mangatarem Councilor Harley Paragas, and Mangatarem Liga President Richard Palisoc.

(Chona C. Bugayong, Omar Cruz/PIMRO)

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State-of-the-art hospital soon to rise in Umingan, Pangasinan

Umingan, Pangasinan—A P200 million worth state-of-the-art hospital will soon rise in Barangay Gonzales, Umingan, Pangasinan, following the time capsule laying and groundbreaking ceremony held on January 18.

Gov. Ramon V. Guico III and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, headed by Vice Gov. Mark Ronald DG Lambino, spearheaded the undertaking, with Umingan as the host LGU.

“This is just the start of our envisioned township/community project. Let’s claim it ,na accomplishment na natin ito,” the governor said.

The construction of Umingan Community Hospital, which will have a 55-bed capacity, is a component of the township project on a 4.5-hectare lot owned by the provincial government.

Apart from the hospital, Gov. Guico likewise looks forward to the construction of a transport terminal, a commercial area, a daycare center, a park, a social hall, and probably a housing component.

It will be a five-year program to modernize all 14 hospitals in the province; however, the governor is hopeful that it will be expedited.

“Narito na ang matagal na nating pangarap, 30 years ago na ang ating pagamutan, pero ngayon lamang natin makikita na matutupad na ang pangarap na mas maayos na hospital,” Dr. Tracy Lou Bitoy, Chief of Hospital-Umingan Community Hospital, said in her speech.

The provincial government-owned hospitals in the towns of Tayug, Lingayen, and Urdaneta City have also been considered a priority for modernization, considering their poor condition.

The Guico administration has placed health among its priority programs.

In line with this, Gov. Guico asked Provincial Administrator Melicio Patague II to assess all of the employees of the hospital and make thorough evaluations.

“Kawawa naman yong iba diyan. 30 years na, J.O. pa rin. Ang prinsipyo namin, nag-devote tayo ng buhay natin sa hospital, hindi man lang natikman maging casual o permanente. Yong deserving, we give them the opportunity to be permanent and part of the provincial organization,” he said.

The governor, together with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, is keen on laying down more gigantic programs beneficial to the province.

As reported by the governor, the groundbreaking of the Pangasinan Link Expressway is expected to be realized in March.

The Guico administration also sets its focus on other areas of concern, to wit:

Adopt a river project: SP has given the governor the authority to sign a MOA for all the rivers in Pangasinan. Said project is the best way to mitigate and address problems of flooding without cost to the province or the LGUs.

Housing program—one of the programs that the governor would highly recommend primarily to provide security and peace of mind.

Salt farm: after being taken over by the province, some 175,000 kilos of salt have already been harvested.

(Chona C. Bugayong,  Photos by Joey Olimpo/PIMRO)

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PGP to ink partnership with DOH for management and implementation of Local investment plan for health

Lingayen,Pangasinan—The Provincial Government of Pangasinan (PGP) will enter into terms of partnership with the Department of Health (DOH)-Center for Health Development 1, for the management and implementation of the Local Investment Plan for Health (LIPH) through the 2024 Annual Operational Plan (AOP) of the province.

LIPH is a medium-term public investment plan for health of local government units (LGUs) with a three-year strategic time frame that governs the health operations of the locality and health sector activities and guides how health system outcomes will be achieved with specific LGU, the DOH, and stakeholder actions.

As stated in a resolution sponsored by Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Shiela Marie F. Baniqued which was approved on January 15, “RA 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act of 2019 mandates the implementation of a health reform program in order to ensure that every Filipino is guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare services and is protected against financial risks.”

In addition, the resolution stipulated that the LIPH shall serve as a key instrument to forge the partnership between the DOH and the Province of  Pangasinan to carry out the objectives of the Universal Health Act in the implementation and consolidation of support for health reforms in the province through the Annual Operational Plan (AOP).

The AOP, as cited in the resolution, is the “yearly operational translation of the Local Investment Plan for Health of the province, which details the programs, plans, and activities (PPAs) and system interventions that are to be implemented in a particular year.”

“Whereas, the LIPH/AOP guarantees the implementation of programs, projects, and activities in the Province of Pangasinan, together with its component LGUs, toward achieving a more responsive health system and equitable health care financing,” the resolution stated.

Through the 2023-2025 LIPH of the province, it shall receive financial and non-financial allocation support from the health department for the implementation of its approved AOP for the year 2024.

The Terms of Partnership will serve as the legal instrument for the implementation of the program between PGP and the DOH. (Ruby R. Bernardino/PIMRO)