LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—The Pangasinan Provincial Government stands firm that the establishment of the landmark Reflecting Pool and Interactive Fountain to be built at the heart of the Provincial Capitol Complex is a well-planned project that went through a technical and legal process.
On its groundbreaking on November 8, 2023, Governor Ramon V. Guico III said that the gigantic project is one of the significant undertakings to transpire that will spur economic growth and development and define the vision of the present administration to make Pangasinan a premier province of great opportunities, sustained socio-economic growth, and a place where one can experience life at its best.
A product of thorough planning and deliberations of both the executive and legislative branches of the provincial government, along with multi-agencies concerned as well as grassroots leaders, the reflecting pool project, which is a historic first in the province, will define ‘meditation beyond aesthetics.’
Earlier, Gov. Guico stated that the present administration intends to create the Capitol landscape into something of cultural substance, a place where families can enjoy frolicking on weekends, iconically inspiring, intellectually engaging, and historically nostalgic.
As described by Engr. Alvin Bigay, head of the Provincial Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Center, said the reflecting pool will be similar to that of The Mansion in Baguio City and the Taj Mahal in India, while the interactive fountain will have the same features as the dancing fountain in Vigan.
To kick off the project, the Provincial Government of Pangasinan accomplished various requirements to put things in order to include the cutting of 64 trees of different species, which was done through the conduct of an ocular inspection and inventory of trees by CENRO-DENR. A tree-cutting permit was approved by DENR on January 16, 2024. As a replacement for the trees that were cut, 3,200 seedlings will be planted in different areas.
Likewise, some 150,000 seedlings were planted by the provincial government under its “Pangasinan Green Canopy” program, which affirms the present administration’s commitment to protect and preserve the environment.
Prior to the issuance of the tree-cutting permit, DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) issued a Certificate of Non-Coverage on August 9, 2023.
The certification serves as evidence of the absence of any environmental threat or risk during the implementation of the project.
In an interview, Mark Angelo A. Quilon, Engr. II, DPWH Region I said that tree cutting shall commence after the permit is granted based on several requirements, including public consultation and certification from affected barangays (Poblacion and Libsong) and the Local Government Unit (LGU).
In carrying out the project, the Provincial Human Settlements and Urban Development Authority Officer cited that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has likewise approved the proposal of the provincial government to relocate the MacArthur marker along with those war relics at the Veterans Park near the baywalk, which is said to be a “fitting tribute to the veterans” without losing its historical significance since it will be transferred near the Lingayen Gulf, where General Douglas MacArthur landed in 1945.
In a letter sent by Dr. Emmanuel Franco Calairo, who chairs the NHCP, dated January 24, 2024, it was stated that “upon evaluation of the submitted revised plans, the NHCP hereby approves the proposed relocation of the World War II historical markers at the Lingayen beach front, which would provide better contextualization and appreciation of the 1945 Lingayen Gulf Landing.”
Also, the NHCP emphasized in the letter that they are amenable to the construction of a reflecting pool, which would stretch from the relocation site of the markers towards the north facade of the Provincial Capitol building.
Provincial Resolution No. 1057-2023 was crafted by the Pangasinan Provincial Board on December 11, 2023, favorably endorsing and interposing “no objection” to the redevelopment of the Provincial Capitol Complex.
(Ruby R. Bernardino & Chona C. Bugayong/PIMRO)