LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Hon. Governor Ramon V. Guico III delivered his first State of the Province Address (SOPA) last March 27, 2023 at the historic Sison Auditorium in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
Governor Guico started his address by extending gratitude to God, fellow Pangasineses, and his family, as well as to Vice Governor Mark Ronald DG. Lambino, Board Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Capitol employees, congressmen and congresswomen, mayors, vice mayors, councilors, barangay officials, and other public servants in the Philippines who were present at the event.
A notable accomplishment of the Provincial Government of Pangasinan since the beginning of Governor Guico’s term as Pangasinan’s leader were the improved care and treament of the Provincial Jail’s incarcerated persons with the increase in meal allowance and the frequency of their health checkups. In terms of safety and security, Governor Guico reported that 80% of all barangays and 63% of all municipalities and cities were drug-free and the crime rate in the province also decreasing by 16% by the end of 2022. The provincial government provided assistance to local towns and other provinces that were ravaged by calamities and natural disasters through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO). Plans to establish first response centers and to hire personnel to guard the province’s borders were also mentioned. Strengthening borders is a priority to safeguard the province from criminal activities and the spread of infections that will affect livestock such as African Swine Flu and Avian Flu.
The provincial government institutionalized a feeding program in collaboration with private companies as well, and formed a stronger partnership with the province’s farmers to ensure food security. Governor Guico cited that aside from being the bangus capital of the Philippines, Pangasinan is also the biggest supplier of malaga in the country which the province should capitalize on. Governor Guico likewise shared the provincial government’s feat of taking over the third largest salt farm in Pangasinan in order to eventually establish the Pangasinan Salt Center which will help not only the province, but also the entire Philippines to be self-sufficient in the production of salt.
Meanwhile, in terms of investments and promotions, Governor Guico mentioned the establishment of the Provincial Economic Development and Investmentand Promotions Office and plans to conduct an investments and promotions summit in Manila to showcase Pangasinan to a wider and broader audience, and perhaps to encourage investors that may put up international and branded accommodation establishments in the province. Investment in the people through volunteerism was also a key accomplishment of Governor Guico’s Administration as they established the Pangasinan Volunteerism Office last December 2022 as the province hosted the celebration of the National Volunteers Month – a first in the country.
Tourism was also cited to be one of the driving forces in generating jobs and income for the people of Pangasinan. Governor Guico spoke about the See Pangasinan Tongtóngan Listening Tours that were conducted in Natividad, Alaminos City, and Mangatarem last September 2022 wherein he was introduced to various tourism stakeholders in the farm tourism and eco-tourism communities and local tourism officers. A total of 355 tourism enterprises also became accredited through the regular Mobile Accreditation Caravan conducted in partnership between the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office and the Department of Tourism Region 1. Perhaps the most notable accomplishment in Pangasinan’s cultural affairs since the beginning of Governor Guico’s term is the establishment of the Pangasinan Museum in the Casa Real. Renovations and museum preparations are currently ongoing, at the cost of 35 million pesos.
In terms of infrastructure, Governor Guico shared the provincial government’s plans to build better housing for locals and to determine safer locations for future housing projects, to be led by the Provincial Housing and Urban Development Authority. The governor said, upon consulting with Housing Secretary Jerry Acuzar, projects like these were especially supported by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos, Jr., thus gaining the support of the national government. Plans for the establishment of the Pangasinan Polytechnic University and the construction of the Pangasinan East-West Expressway were also highlighted in the governor’s address, along with other strategies to establish, renovate, and strengthen farm-to-market roads.
Governor Guico’s first State of the Province Address concluded with the goal to establish the Pangasinan Investment Authority, saying that it would be “the vehicle to grow the assets and the investments of the province because we want to secure the future of Pangasinan beyond my term, Vice Governor’s term, beyond the term of all Board Members… We would like to ensure that the future generation of Pangasinan will be taken care of by this government.”