Pangasinan leaders ink pact to clean all rivers in the Province
LINGAYEN--- Regional, provincial and municipal leaders led by Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. signed a covenant for a provincewide joint clean-up drive of rivers and waterways at the Sison Auditorium here last August 24.
“We are talking here today on how to preserve and protect our rivers, mountains and the sea. Unahin na sana natin ang ating kalikasan bago natin pag-usapan ang mga ibang bagay,” the Governor said in his speech.
Gov. Espino said that the project is a continuance of his efforts to care for the province’s water resources, launched as “Save the Lingayen Gulf Movement” during his stint as Police Provincial Director here.
“Dapat naman sana na may makita yung mga anak ng mga anak natin at ang mga susunod pang henerasyon na nakita natin noong tayo’y mga bata pa,” Gov. Espino added.
The Governor also lamented the fact that implementation of laws and regulations on caring for nature is problematic. However, he said, even without these laws, common sense and conscience dictate that our problems on environment shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Gov. Espino said that everybody are stakeholders when it comes to our environment stressing that not only big people who have capital should benefit from our rivers.
“Hindi lamang po ang may Kapital na naglalagay ng fishpen o fish cages ang dapat makinabang sa ating mga ilog. Ang ating kapatagan, bundok, dalampasigan at kailugan ay pag-aari nating lahat, kaya lahat dapat makinabang,” he said.
DENR Regional Executive Director Samuel Penafiel said he is impressed about the progress of the clean-up drive that was started by the Governor. The most important thing, he said, is political will which he believes the current provincial leadership has.
The dismantling of illegal structures along the rivers, Penafiel said, is part of the adaptation and preparation everyone should do to mitigate the effects of climate change to avoid further disasters. He expressed dismay over this business where a few people are earning a living but thousands of people are affected.
Mayor Benjie Lim of Dagupan City said this project of the Provincial Government is both timely and urgent, and the presence of all officials at the signing ceremony is a recognition that everyone can no longer ignore what is happening around us.
“It is an honor and privilege to be a part of this noble project of the provincial government as it will spur synergy and cooperation of the province’s towns and cities to take a stand against the degradation of our rivers and tributaries. Alam ko si Gov. Espino kapag nagpa-project, he means business,” Lim expressed.
Before the signing, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) Executive Director Paterno Orduña presented to the audience the status and development of the on-going dismantling and dredging operations of Task Force Kalikasan along the Agno River.
He presented the transformation of the rivers after the dismantling and dredging operations have been done in the following barangays: Poblacion, Naguilayan, Manat, Salapingao and Caloocan Dupo in Binmaley; Poblacion in Lingayen; and Balococ-Bañaga in Lingayen-Bugallon.
He also expounded on the environmental advocacy of Gov. Espino, as well as the long term initiatives of the provincial government for flood mitigation.
The Covenant partly states that parties to the signing “…are aware of the harmful environmental impact brought about by the indiscriminate and irresponsible logging, quarrying, disposal of garbage, establishment of man-made structures and other human activities that adversely affect the rivers and other bodies of water and recognizes the need to repair and revitalize the ecosystem by cleaning the rivers and waterways.”
Gov. Espino, during the press conference, urged the media to actively participate in this endeavor as they have the capacity to appeal to the conscience of the people and convince political leaders to implement the laws and regulations on caring for the environment.
Present during the covenant signing were board members Danny Uy, Jaming Libunao, Von Mark Mendoza, Raul Sison and Amadeo Espino.
The following mayors also attended the signing: Noel Nakar of Dasol, Ruperto Martinez of Infanta, Carlitos Reyes of Mabini, John Rodney Arcinue of Sual, Jose Pajeta, Jr. of Agno, Alfonso Celeste of Bolinao, Eduardo Ballesteros of Aguilar, Lorenzo Cerezo of Binmaley, Rodrigo Orduña of Bugallon, Ricardo Camacho of Labrador, Jonas Catañeda of Lingayen, Mark Roy Macanlalay of Calasiao, Maximo Calimlim, Jr. of Mapandan, Napoleon Sales of Manaoag, Herminio Romero of Mangaldan, Irene Libunao of San Fabian, Roberto de Vera of San Jacinto, Manuel Collado of Alcala, Amado Espino III of Bautista, Silverio Alarcio, Jr. of Laoac, Artemio Chan of Pozorrubio, Mina Joy Pangasinan of Sison, Amadeo Perez IV of Urdaneta City, Libradita Abrenica of Villasis, Heidee Chua of Asingan, Philipp Peralta of Balungao, Alain Jerico Perez of San Manuel and Teodoro Ramos of Sta. Maria. Vice Mayors Napoleon Celeste of Anda and Timoteo Villar III of Santo Tomas also represented their towns.(PIO/Rafael Manuel III)