Archive for April 17, 2011


A foreigner takes a look at one of the panels of pictures featuring the best of Pangasinan on exhibit at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center in Lingayen.CESAR RAMIREZ

April 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

Mark C turns over farm machineries to 5th district town

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

VILLASIS- Former 5th District Rep. Mark C. Cojuangco, representing his wife Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco, turned over here farm equipment and machineries to the towns of Villasis, Alcala and Sto. Tomas on April 13.

The town of Alcala, represented by Mayor Manuel Collado, received five units of John Deere tractor and one unit Mech Fiber while Sto. Tomas received one unit Mech Fiber .

Villasis, through Mayor Dita G. Abrenica also received also five units John Deere tractor and one unit Mech Fiber.

Seven units more of John Deere tractors will be purchased- five units for Sison and two units for Sto. Tomas.

The farmers will use the farm tractors on rotation basis. They will shoulder the cost of diesoline, wages of the operators and maintenance.

The mech fiber serves as a mixer of sillage for the feeds of cows. Villasis, Alcala and Sto. Tomas will have their own dairy farm, an extension of the dairy farm of Laoac.

“These equipment are yours. Ito ay makakatulong sa inyo upang tumaas ang antas ng inyong mga produkto at tumaas din ang inyong kita sa pagsasaka,” Cojuangco told the group of barangay officials of Villasis and municipal officials of Sison, Alcala, Pozorrubio, Laoac and Villasis.

Cojuangco explained that are being purchased for the 5th district with complete accessories like plow, harrow, rotobator and a creeper because “we will be constructing industrial sized dryer for palay here in Villasis and the same in Alcala for palay and corn.”

“These dryers require more or less 100 hectares of farmland planted to palay in which it will dry more or less 400 tons of palay daily. I need the cooperation of farmers,” he said.

The dryers, Cojuangco further said, will improve the class of rice to be produced in the district. “It will lessen broken grains, 10% savings on drying and will produce higher farm yield and income.”

He urged the farmers to participate in the program on rice production. The farmer-participants will be assured of assistance – the use of the farm tractors, transport machineries, seeds and fertilizers subsidies.

He also enjoined farmers to plant three varieties of palay: RI-160, RI- 118 and RI -82. These varieties, he said, even though mixed during drying process in the mechanical dryers will not affect the rice classification.

He emphasized that the rice production program will only be the main crop season and the use of irrigation for second to 3rd cropping will be discussed in other forums.

The funds used to purchase the farm equipments and machineries were out of the tobacco excise share tax of the towns in the district.

“Ito ay ehemplo for other towns without excise tax,” he said even as he urged the crowd to patronize the local products for a self-contained economy.


Other projects to be implemented by Cojuangco are: barnyard, warehouse, cowsheds and construction of four silos in a 5.5- hectare lot in Unzad village and a prototype model of tobacco curing barn to be constructed in Amamperez

Other farm equipment and machineries that were turned over earlier to Villasis town are: 20 units Kubota tractors with trailers, two units Forward trucks, one unit payloader, one unit backhoe and one unit grader.

Another on-going project which is funded out of the tobacco excise tax is the construction of a Livelihood Training Center which is already 60% complete.

On the planting of tobacco, Cojuangco said that it is the “goose that lays the golden eggs”. “Let’s increase the tobacco production para tuloy-tuloy ang pera.”

The turn over was attended by Villasis former Mayor Nonato S. Abrenica, Pozorrubio Mayor Artemio Chan, Laoac Mayor Silverio Alarcio, Jr. Sison Vice Mayor Ben Mariñas and members of the Sangguniang Bayan, Villasis Vice Mayor Centenielo Costales and members of the Sangguniang Bayan, Collado with some members of the Sangguniang Bayan.

April 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm Leave a comment

No amendments for new land tax – Governor

Provincial Information Officer Butch Velasco invited me recently to attend the press conference led by Governor Amado T. Espino despite this paper’s critical stance to Espino’s new higher rates of Real Property Tax.

The conference held at the swanky Training Centre at the Capitol Ground in Lingayen was attended by almost all members of the provincial board and almost all mayors of Pangasinan.

It was a treat, man.

Lydia Colobong of Radio Veritas smarted to the governor how could she explained to the listeners when Provincial Assessor Nestor Quimbao rudely treated her at his office.

Colobong said that the provincial assessor would not grant her an interview since he already spoke at TV-5. Quimbao even told her that it was not necessary to furnish her a copy of the new rates of the valuation since she could not even understand it.

Almost everybody laughed and guffawed.

“It was all about numbers, you would not understand it,” she repeated what the provincial assessor told her.

She told the governor: “Pag naging bukas lang tayo sa publiko hindi po sana humantong sa ganito kaya talagang laganap po ang ating pag-paliwanag sa publiko”.

She said she wanted to tell this problem to Espino but she could not do it as she is barred from directly talking with him.

Instead of reprimanding the faux pass of his assessor, Espino was not amused with the lady broadcaster: “Iyung sinasabi mo na hindi makakapasok direct sa opisina ko hindi na ako naniniwala duon dahil araw-araw bukas ang opisina ko, e.”

He said that when Colobong was looking for him he was not there probably.

“Huwag mo naman sabihin iyon. Baka sabihin nila pinagbabawal ko ang pag-pasok sa opisina ko. Huwag naman. Ingatan naman ninyo ang magsabi dahil ang opisina ko madaling araw bukas, e. Okay? So mali ata ang statement mo na iyan na hindi nakakapasok sa opisina ko,” the governor said.

Espino said that he wanted the public to know that they could enter his office even at the wee hours of the night and in the early morning.


Lelia Sy – the cousin of Prima Fa Sy who lives in the Rules of Court- lengthily and emotionally asked the governor to mitigate the land tax as she is still recovering from the damage of her properties in Mangaldan from the floods brought by Killer Typhoon Pepeng in 2009.

In my unfortunate career as a media man, it was the first time I saw a colleague in Lelia cried as she asked a question.

“Showbiz ang press conference dito sa Lingayen,” I told two media men who introduced to me that they were John Doe and Jane Doe.

“Mag-pinsan ba sila, Mortz? Kasi pareho sila ng apelyido,” a fake and unschooled media man asked me there, too.


Instead of answering Lelia the governor told Mangaldan Mayor Hermie Romero for several times that the big tarps in his municipal town announcing to the public that the new valuation is the initiative of the provincial government has gave different meaning to the public.

The soft –spoken mayor explained that the reason he posted two huge tarpaulins so that it would put a stop to the incessant queries of tax payers who were asked to pay an average 300% spike on their land tax.

I saw some mayors quite apprehensive. I heard reports that some of them have tarps displayed, too, in their municipal halls.

“Kung mag-hugas kayo ng kamay, wag iyung wisik-wisik or tuwalya lang. Batya ang gamitin ninyo,” Espino told the mayors.

He said the towns all over the province would benefit from the new RPT that has not been raised for nine years.

It was a press conference that saw the governor actively answering the queries, and saw most of the Board Members and mayors silently contend themselves in one place.


Oh, before I forgot. I asked the members of the Board there if what they just passed was politically explosive.

I said that in an earlier press conference called by the Pangasinan Press Club, Inc. steered by Atty. Gonzalo Duque in Dagupan City, a farmer told me that he used to pay P3000 for his three-hectare rice land in Balungao. With the new RPT he would be paying a hefty P12 thousand this year.

“In my analogy, if a farmer owns a hectare of the same land and pays P1000 last year, he pays now P4000 if the valuation of his land soared to 300%. This is quite burdensome to a marginalized farmer”.

I posed if there is a possibility to mitigate by amending the valuation in a graduated or staggered basis.

Instead of the members of the Board , it was Governor Espino who answered:

“The first question that sinabi ko na dito ang pinaka-magandang irrigated land is P1,600 ang value per hectare. Kung nagbayad siya ng P5,000, ewan ko baka hindi marunong ng arithmetic ang pinag-bayaran niya. Ganoon ka simple iyon. Kaya hind ko alam kung sino iyung nagtanung sa inyo. Pero iyung amendahan dito sa palagay ko wala na tayung magagawa doon. Marami na tayung trabahung gagawin. So gagalawin din natin ito sa 2012, kaya ituloy na natin ito dahil ang assessment na ito iyon din ang assessment ng 2012. Okay ba sa inyo?”

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April 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm 1 comment

Celeste hails de Venecias on pledge for palay dryers

WATER PUMPS. National Irrigation Administration Regional Director John Celeste (5th from left) joins former Speaker Joe and his wife, 4thh District Rep. Gina de Venecia in the distribution of 90 water pumps to farmer organizations in the 4th district (Mortz C. Ortigoza).

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

DAGUPAN CITY- Regional director John Celeste of the National Irrigation Administration Region-1 lauded former Speaker Joe and his wife Rep. Gina de Venecia on their pledge to donate five flat bed dryers for the 4th district of Pangasinan.

Celeste said each of the dryer consists of a building with a fuel system powered by chaff of the grains. He said these would be tremendously useful to the farmers during the rainy season.

He stressed that his office would help the de Venecias look for land that would be donated to host the dryer. The dryer consists of a stationary housing, fuel system, and other machines. He added that the facility should be strategically located for easy access by the farmers.

He said that a flat bed dryer presently cost between P500 thousand to P600 thousand.

The project is funded from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of de Venecia.

De Venecia has P70 million a year PDAF that would increase by P85 million in case the P15 million share of each of the 285 congressmen would be given after the amended Road Users’ Tax is signed into law this year.

Celeste said farmers in the province lack warehouses and properly- designed post harvest building where they could stock their produce.

Together with some of his officials who head different local government units in the province, Celeste and the de Venecias distributed the newly purchased water pumps to farmer organizations from the towns of Mangaldan, San Fabian, San Jacinto, and Manaoag, and the city of Dagupan.

“We have already distributed 90 water pumps. We will be buying another 90 water pumps for you,” former Speaker Joe rabble said to the cheering beneficiaries.

April 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

Ay on, manaya: Cuaresma lamet

By Elina Marinas Velasco-Ramos

It can be very warm this week, just as it has been in the past few weeks. It is not just the thought that the Holy Week is upon us. This is usually the warmest part of the year and I remember Gramma saying “Cuaresma la.”

To the Catholics, Cuaresma is Holy Week and it is usually associated with long periods of no rain, the reading of the Passion of Christ, visita iglesia and long walks with so many people following the Hudyo (Jews) as they looked for the Kristo.

Growing up in a family of devout Catholics, the Holy Week brings back memories of grandparents, aunts, uncles and grandaunts who have passed away long ago.

They were the ones who followed the Catholic rites to the letter. The expression “Singa Biyernes Santo,” (It is like Good Friday) is deeply rooted in Catholic rites that included prohibitions that we grew up with.

The oldies allowed no child to play starting on Maundy Thursday. Neither were we permitted to shout, laugh, nor get into trouble with anyone.

One stern look and we get reprimanded if we did not act according to the allowed decorum. A generation older, people would get allowed beatings, lewet na bislak to Pangasinenses, on Black Saturday for erring on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. In those days, my father would recite to us, it is taboo to hit an erring child with a stick or a leather belt.

Meat in the diet is strictly not allowed. Before Good Friday, Ina Sinay would boil a lot of camote (sweet potatoes) , pontin seba (a type of cooking bananas), kamas ya balang (small hickamah) even kamantilis (camachili). She would not allow anyone to touch the pots and pans on Good Friday. All that we were allowed to do is eat, listen to the passion played over the radio, join the street play and at the strike of 3:00, get a rub of oil from coconut she has cooked from 12:00 noon when “Christ has been caught and eventually crucified.”

Under the scorching sun, we would all run to the street and join the street zarzuela with old women singing the passion while men clad in colorful Hebrew soldier costumes chant in search for the Kristo.

My heart would beat faster with every noise I hear on the street as the Hudyo slashed twigs on the Kristo, whose face was always concealed with a black cloth.

The dialogues incomprehensible, my artistic mind would translate it as “Aburido la iray Hudyo,” (The Jews are already worried). In all honesty, I did not have the guts to asked Ina Sinay what the soldiers were telling Christ.

The Good Friday street play zarzuela always included Mama Pedring as Ponsyo Pilato and Mama Carding as leader of the soldiers. Aside from them, I knew no one else, but I love Claudia, because she always pleaded that Christ was spared from the death penalty.

After the zarzuela, which usually ends with the actual nailing on the cross, we rush home for more of the boiled fruits, take a quick shower, after the oil rub, and we would all rush to the cathedral to line up for the libot (procession).

Children from my household looked forward to this Lenten activity. We get to see the old houses in town, besides, having to see life-sized images of so many saints, taken out from private houses only once a year.

It would still be very warm when we go home after the procession. “Cuaresma lanti,” Ina Sinay would always tell us. So no one would try to complain of the prickly heat from the day’s out-door activities.

The Baguio Film Festival about two weeks ago featured two films “Two Funerals” and “Itim,” which had the Lenten procession as backdrop.

These were actual footages of the procession, so we get authentic Catholic observation of Lent in the Philippines, which are still very much alive in many towns and cities.

In my household, however, the passing away of Ina Sinay in the late 70’s eroded much of the traditions because she was the stricter Catholic among my olds. With the death of Nanang Leonor and later Nanang Milling, all of us seemed to have forgotten the family rituals for Lent.

Modern-day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ and not so his way to the Cross that Catholics dramatize.

More people now find a welcome respite in the long vacation on Holy Week. They beat the heat on the beaches, swimming pools and spending longer hours indoors. Or they simply travel to Baguio City and suburbs to run away from the warm weather in the lowlands.

While there are still those who still go on visita iglesia or observe Catholic rites during the Holy Week, it is still safe to say that a larger portion of the present-day Filipinos have a lot more ways to spend the season than endure the heat on the streets as “penitents.”

Let me iterate that “Ay on, manaya!” is also “Ta lanti, awa?”. Both expressions signify concensus, realization or unification, that results from healthy discussions, heated engagements, even spiritual and emotional purification.

As I have always been doing, I will attempt to discuss in this column the Pangasinense way of life so that the younger generation of Pangasinenses will learn to appreciate their culture.

This column will also try to encourage the young to speak up by publishing here their contributions, be it in the form of essays, editorial, or the literary poetry and other forms of the written word.

Share us your thoughts. Email me at for comments and contributions to this column. Ay on, manaya, you can write in the local tongue of the Pangasinenses. #

April 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

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