Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gov. Espino and rival face-off GATE bats for continuous progress and development of Pangasinan

“Gusto kong magpatuloy para hindi natin maibigay ulit ang pamamahala sa probinsiyang ito sa mga taong nakalimot kung paano gawin ang tama, that’s why our province deteriorated at lahat nasira.”

This was stressed by Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. as he and his party mate and vice gubernatorial candidate Mayor Ferdie Calimlim faced off with their opponents during a forum dubbed “Isang Tanong…Halalan 2010” staged by GMA7 Regional Network at the Audio-Visual Room of the University of Pangasinan College of Nursing last April 15.

The tandem answered each question head-on and peppered their replies with concrete achievements of their leadership, thus, eliciting approval and the louder cheer from the audience composed mostly of young students.

Gov. Espino Espino said, if given the chance, his administration will continue its programs and projects in infrastructure and healthcare. For infrastructure, he said that his achievement surpassed that of the past administration, three terms combined. He also cited the massive renovation and upgrading of all the province-owned health and agricultural and aquatic facilities.

All of these, he said, led to the increase of bed capacity and occupancy of all hospitals in the province and to the efficient transfer of technology to farmers and fisher folks.

Gov. Espino also cited the drastic improvement in providing health insurance to indigent families which under his administration, reached a universal coverage now totaling more than 260,000 from a mere 26,000 and the increase in the number of provincial scholars now reaching almost a thousand from only 300.

Because of the growing confidence of investors to do business in the province, Gov. Espino said he wanted to continue the programs and projects, especially that the construction of Sual International Seaport and the Eco-tourism Zone which he initiated are now underway.

Regarding the beautification of the Capitol, Gov. Espino said it was his administration that undertook the renovation project. He also clarified that he was the only governor in recent times who holds office at the Capitol Building since it used to be a warehouse for documents of the Sangguinang Panlalawigan.

Comparing the project to the previous administration which cost P46 Million, Gov. Espino said, “Gumastos kami diyan ng kulang sa P46 Million, ngayon fully airconditioned, kumpleto lahat ng gamit, pati Session Hall, …first class…world class…pinakamaganda sa buong kapuluan pero ang ginastos, mas mura kaysa sa sinasabi nilang pina-repair nila three years ago bago ako umupo.”

Gov. Espino also debunked the claim that he is a “nevernor” by saying that he is a 24/7 governor.

He said that he lives and sleeps at the Urduja House which is the official residence of the governor.

He belittled the past administration’s practice of letting the people queue, once a week, for petty requests such as bags of cement or medicines which he said can now be availed at the hospitals and the engineering office.

“Ang trabaho ng gobernador ay pamahalaan ang buong probinsiya, hindi ang mag-abot ka dun at dumukot ka sa bulsa mo. Hindi gawain ng mahusay na gobernador yan,” he said.

On programs for the youth, Gov. Espino said his administration undertook many programs and projects such as the holding of regular sports events at the refurbished Narciso Ramos Complex and providing scholarship programs. He also said that young people can now opt to work, because of the employment programs of the Provincial Government, or continue their studies by pursuing technical and vocational courses.

On the issue of gambling and “jueteng,” Gov. Espino said that he did not allow the operation of small town lottery in the province, approved then by the provincial board, at the onset of his tenure since it is a form of “legalized jueteng.”

Gov. Espino also said operation of “jueteng” in Pangasinan, if there is, is composed of guerilla operations and there is no big time gambling lord in the province. His administration, he said, fully supports local executives who do not want “jueteng” operation in their locality.

“I think we are on the right track regarding the fight against social ills in the province,” he said.

Gov. Espino also stressed that proliferation of prostitution, especially around the Capitol area and in the major cities of the province, prevalent during the previous administration has been curbed under his leadership, if not totally eliminated.

Gov. Espino also cited the gains of the Provincial Government in its aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ferdie Calimlim said he aspires to be the voice of good governance in the provincial government and today, the call of the time is to have a young and energetic leader in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Calimlim also banks on his able leadership of Mangaldan for nine years and transforming the once obscure town into a model and benchmark of progress, cleanliness and excellent health programs.

He also aims to address poverty in the province, through legislation of livelihood and jobs generation resolutions in the provincial board. He also advocates for a comprehensive masterplan and close coordination with local executives for a more suitable flood control measures.

The tandem of Espino-Calimlim also objected to putting up of a casino in the province, saying that the time is not ripe for establishing such an amenity and said the people of Pangasinan will ultimately decide whether to allow such project.

On the question fielded by their rivals of who are they supporting for president and vice president, both said that they are party-men and believe in the capacity of Gibo-Edu tandem as the best for the country.

On the other hand, Congressman Victor Agbayani and former Vice Governor Oscar Lambino failed to satisfy the question of Espino and Calimlim to name and locate all province-owned hospitals and agricultural facilities, having been in the provincial government for nine years.

In an interview after the forum, Gov. Espino said, “Importanteng alam mo kung saan ang mga hospitals at agricultural facilities kung talagang mahal mo ang mga mahihirap at mga magsasaka.

As a good hands-on manager, as the governor dapat alam mo. Parating sinasabi para sa mahirap, puro motherhood at general statements. Kesyo nakakausap mo ang mahihirap. That is not the point. Makausap mo for five minutes, maso-solve mo ba ang mga problema nila? Ako nga, araw-araw kong nakakausap ang mga mahihirap. Kung maysakit siya at kailangan ng gamot, ipadala mo sa ospital.” (PIO/Rafael Manuel)

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