Archive for December 2, 2011

MAGANES: Ranjit- the lone opposition?

According to the grapevine, 6th District Board Member Ranjit Ramos-Shahani has bolted the majority of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), making him now the lone oppositionist in the said august body. What made him to decide on such “historic” and “chaotic” move elicited many speculations from the working press.

I said “historic” because since the SP members assumed their offices on June 30, 2010, no one among them had the temerity to be in the opposition side which is supposed to be the fiscalizer in the august body. All of them sided with the sitting Governor Amadeo T. Espino Jr. which drew acerbic smiles and poker faces from the governor’s critics. With the exit of Ranjit Ramos-Shahani from the majority, what role is he going to make? Will he be a thorn to Espino’s administration? Or, will he still toe the line and support him for Pangasinenses sake?

It might also be chaotic on the part of Ranjit if he will stand pat on his being an opposition. By golly, what will happen to his countrywide development fund (CDF) and other perks that the governor approves? Could he survive as the political leader of 6th District considering that when his CDF will be completely withheld as I speculate, his followers and constituents in the 6th District will be deprived of projects ?

Knowing Ranjit for many years, he is a kind of politician who could stand on his own. He did that when he was still the Vice Governor of Pangasinan during the administration of former Governor Aguedo F. Agbayani. And for many times as representative of the 6th District, he, with his own brand of political savvy coupled with his “ machine-gun” like way of speaking, will weather the storm of being the lone oppositionist in the province.

I could still remember one of his press conferences which I attended at Cocolandia in Urdaneta City where I asked him why he was siding with the majority when all of the issues in the province were focused on the massive proliferation of “jueteng.” He answered me back,” in due time Manong”. Maybe that “due time” has already come amid brouhaha on the issue of , again, “jueteng” in the guise of jai alai.

I talked with some of the colleagues in the press what would likely be the reason why Ranjit bolted the majority. Some told me that Ranjit was allegedly offered with P400,000 in exchange of an alleged very delicate action of the provincial officials. To Ranjit’s dismay, that “payola” attempt came from one of his colleagues in the SP and he turned it down. Sir, tell me, is there truth in it? If you have declined that alleged “payola” or bribe money, how many of your colleagues accepted it? That’s a big sum of money and could have been used for your constituents’ needs in the district. I haven’t gotten yet into the real story of the bribery issue, but in “ due time” I will delve about it lengthily, that is, if Ranjit will tell me the whole story.

And now here is my personal speculation on why Ranjit became an opposition.

The province of Pangasinan will host the Palarong Pambansa next year. In many fora, Ranjit has been very vocal in suggesting to Governor Espino about the province’s hosting of that national event. For one, to improve more the sports facilities in the province and to attract local tourists for them to see the much publicized transformation of the province. The provincial government heeded that call.

The Espino administration submitted a bid proposal to the National Sports Commission (NSC) and the Department of Education (DepEd) to host the Palarong Pambansa in 2012. When the proposal was defended to the above mentioned agencies, Ranjit as a “proponent “ ( or was he just silent about it?), was not even invited.. So, Ranjit’s ego was bruised. He was, I presumed, expecting that he will go with the group to defend the proposal but not even a single word of invitation came from the Espino’s camp. By 2012, the Palarong Pambansa will then be in Pangasinan, but the historic event of who was behind it was not kind to Ranjit. He will not be credited for such historic event.

But as I said, that is my wild speculation. There’s a very serious reason why Ranjit went out of his way as the opposition in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Those close to him told me that Ranjit will still be supportive of Espino’s administration.

Why and when he will throw his acerbic tongue at Governor Espino, is what we have to wait for. For sure, Ranjit’s move and action in the SP is a novelty and spectacle to watch.

(For comments, email me at

December 2, 2011 at 8:26 am Leave a comment

Rosales to hold ‘Ibtor Challenge’

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

ROSALES- Adjudged by the Department of Tourism (DoT) as the Best Local Tourism Event for municipal level, the “Ibtor Challenge” which is annually conducted in this town will again be held on December 17.

Mayor Ricardo V. Revita told the Northern Watch that this year’s event would be conducted in two days.

Revita said that on December 16, kite flying and “remote controlled” airplanes and ships/boats will be showcased to the townspeople and visitors while on December 17 the “Ibtor Challenge” will be conducted which will start in Acop village here and will culminate at SM City Rosales in Carmen East village.

“We will be expecting more participants this year and more visitors t witness the grand spectacle of the town,” Mayor Revita said.

In the previous years when the “Ibtor Challenge” was held, many tourists witnessed the event which became a by-word in local tourism activities.

“Ibtor” is an Ilocano word that connotes strength and endurance. It is a triathlon match event with a local twist of the three sports: swimming, cycling and running.

The “Ibtor Challenge” is the official festival event of this town and open to all interested individuals who must be in pairs and who are willing to take the test to find out if they can surpass the challenges.

The winner of the challenge shall be called “Sangka-ibtoran” (most endurable and strongest).

Meanwhile, Tourism Officer Aila Rose Z. Seradoy said that “application forms” are now available at the information desk of the town’s Presidencia for those who are interested to join the event.

“Hefty prizes await the winners and give- a ways to the participants,” Seradoy said.

To those who are interested to join, please contact the following for more details and further information: Mayor’s Office- (075) 582-2103, Tourism Office-(075) 582-4115, John Alimorong- 0928101176 and Aila Seradoy- 09272280585 /0920269923.

December 2, 2011 at 8:25 am Leave a comment

Villasis school establishes real ‘Farmville’

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

VILLASIS- Unlike the “Farmville” of Facebook, this one is a real farm — Vacant lots are planted to tomatoes, string beans, eggplants, peppers, papayas, choys, squash, gourds (upo) and other kinds of vegetables.

The vegetable farm at the Amamperez Elementary School where vegetables were freshly harvested, evoked envy from ”Farmville” enthusiasts who toured the farm recently.

The field tour was guided by Grandeur Gaspar , marketing supervisor of the East-West Seed Company, Inc. who explained in details the various vegetables planted in the school.

It was participated in by the Sangguniang Bayan members of the town led by Vice Mayor Paz Sison-Rafanan, Councilors Roderick E. R. Mina, Arvin B. Castro, Cheryll Zarate-Tan, Centenielo Ramon R. Costales,Jr.and Rosaro Lopez-Limos.

They were joined by Education Program Supervisor Virgilio R. Barba of DepEd Pangasinan II, barangay officials, teachers, parents and school pupils.

Vice Mayor Paz Sison-Rafanan praised the stakeholders and said that it should be replicated not only in schools but in the barangays of the town.

“I am impressed with the vegetables (which) are fresh with no traces of insect and pest infestations. With this kind of project, food sufficiency could be attained in the years to come,” Vice Mayor Rafanan said during the tour.

The harvested vegetables were cooked during the cookfest competition among the mothers of the school pupils.

It was a fun-filled community day for the culmination of the first phase of the “Tanim sa Kinabukasan” – a partnership project among East-West Seed Company, Inc., teachers and administration of the Amamperez Elementary School, local government of Villasis, Synergeia Foundation, Parents-Teachers Association and the barangay officials in which a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was forged last June 30, 2011.

“This is now the fruition of the Tanim sa Kinabukasan.” Our pupils here were taught on how to plant vegetables and were encouraged to eat what they have planted. I thank the municipal officials headed by Mayor Abrenica, East-West Seed Company, Inc. parents and the community officials for their support in this kind of endeavor,” School head Dr. Jocelyn Ragasa-Mina said.

The “Tanim sa Kinabukasan” is an advocacy project and part of the corporate social responsibility of the East-West Seed Company, Inc. that started in 2009 in two elementary schools in Nueva Ecija. It was replicated in 39 elementary schools in 2010 nationwide..

“ For 2011, we expect to complete the project with more than 40 elementary schools in the country and Amamperez is one of them. This school is the first in Pangasinan and is a model for other schools not only in Villasis but in the province of Pangasinan,” said Nestor C. Menguita, the regional sales manager of East-West Seed Company, Inc. for Luzon.

Menguita further said the company provides free seeds and seedlings to the participating schools in which the focus is for the pupils to learn how to plant vegetables.

“It is ironic that Philippines being an agricultural country is one of the lowest among Asian countries in terms of vegetable consumption. What is even more disgusting is that farmers go to the public markets to buy vegetables, that is why with this kind of advocacy project of our company, we would like that pupils at their early ages will learn the value of planting vegetables both for consumption and additional sources of income,” Menguita further said..

Agricultural Technician Robert Padilla of the town’s office of the municipal agriculturist which provided the technical assistance, said the project has changed the behaviors of the school pupils.

“They love to work in their gardens even up to dusk. The once cogonal area at the slope of the dike was also cleared and planted to vegetables. The pupils including their parents and teachers have been very supportive in all the phases of the project,” Padilla said even as he is hoping that the project will be sustained in the school and in the barangay.

Padilla further said that some of the vegetables were planted on cement bags and sacks filled with compost soil and no chemicals have been used to terminate insects and pests.

“ Cosmos and marigold have been interspersed with the vegetables to serve as insect and pest repellants,” Padilla explained.

Cosmos and marigold are popular ornamental plants with insect repellant properties.

Education Program Supervisor Virgilio R. Barba commended the barangay and school officials as well as the parents for the success of the project which he said is in consonance with the DepEd’s program on “ Sagip Pinoy”.

He also lauded the school head Dr. Jocelyn Ragasa-Mina and the teachers for making the school as the center of excellence for crop production in the entire schools division of Pangasinan II.

The winning entries in the cookfest that caught the tastes and palates of the judges were: ginataang grilled eggplant (3rd) prize, paella de vegetables with hot balls (2nd prize) and barbecue with vegetables with side dish spicy eggplant with tofu (first prize).

December 2, 2011 at 8:24 am Leave a comment

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