Wednesday, February 17, 2010

April 5, 1580 recommended as Pangasinan’s founding date

Lingayen- - -The Research and Study Committee on Pangasinan’s Charter Date chaired by Atty. Gonzalo T. Duque has recommended April 5, 1580 as the founding date of the province.

This developed after the group came up with its report following several meetings and thorough research from the records of the National Library, National Archives and artifacts were conducted by the committee following its creation last year by Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr.

Gov. Espino earlier said that Pangasinenses deserve to know their point of origin and the establishment of such facts will provide a more solid foundation for the identity of the province.

Based on research, the committee came up with five significant data which date back to the Ming Dynasty when Luzon began to be referred to as Lu-sung and Fang-chia-chi-lan as Pangasinan. Tribute missions to Lu-sung (Luzon) were conducted in 1372 and 1410 while the chiefs of Fang-chia-chi-lan (Pangasinan) brought tribute in 1406 and 1412.

These, however, do not conclusively indicate Pangasinan’s being a political unit since contacts were limited basically to trade.

Another fact came from the writings of the renowned historian, Dr. Rosario Mendoza Cortez, where she wrote that “Pangasinan was among those organized into alcaldias mayors in 1580.”

Dr. Cortez cited Miguel de Loarca’s Relacion de las Islas Filipinas in 1582 and Bishop Domingo Salazar’s confirmation in his chronicle of 1588, “that Pangasinan was among the seven well-populated provinces of Luzon which had an alcalde mayor before 1856.”

The National Heritage Institute (NHI), Atang the Philippines:Land and People affirmed that Pangasinan was one of the provinces created by Governor General Ronquillo de Penalosa in 1580 with Don Pedro Manrique appointed as the alcalde mayor. Alcalde mayor then is defined as “head of province” or a region in colonial Philippines with judicial function as that of a provincial governor. Despite the fact, there are no available documents as to the exact date.

Another gathered fact is that the province was founded during the American regime through Act No. 86 on February 16, 1901 entitled “An Act Extending the Provisions of the Provincial Government Act to the Province of Pangasinan.” Records, however, show that the province was organized and already existed as a province prior to the American regime.

Information obtained from the Archivo de Indias document entitled “Patronato” indicated the establishment of Pangasinan as an encomienda on April 5, 1572.

Encomienda is a labor system that was employed by the Spanish crown during the Spanish Colonization. In the encomienda, the royal crown granted a person a specified number of natives for whom they were to take responsibility. The receiver of the grant (encomiendero) was to instruct the natives in the Spanish language and in the Catholic faith. In return, they could exact tribute from the natives.

Out of the information, the committee has extracted solid facts that Pangasinan became an encomienda on April 5, 1572 and later became a political unit in 1580 when the alcalde mayor was assigned for the first time in Lingayen.

With this, the NHI recommended the following findings that commemorate two historic events in the existence of the province namely: The year 1580 when Pangasinan was organized into a “political unit” under the alcalde mayor who at that time has authority as “head of province or provincial governor with judicial function” implying that the province has become a province.

The second finding states that it was on April 5, 1572 when Pangasinan was made an encomienda by the Spanish royal crown and officially received instructions from the Catholic faith, which means that the province was organized under the leadership and had identity before the Spanish royal court finally put it under the jurisdiction of an alcalde mayor in 1580.

In consideration of all these data, the committee strongly suggests that a provincial ordinance be legislated with the inclusion of a colatilla stating that the date will hold true until such time that more conclusive evidences to establish the exact date are discovered.

The committee is co-chaired by Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Alfonso Bince with SP Members Nestor Reyes and Charizzma Salud Carancho-Go as Co Vice Chairmen with representations of various line institutions or agencies comprising the members with the inclusion of Provincial Administrator Rafael F. Baraan. (PIO/Ruby R. Bernardino)

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