MAGANES: Top news of 2011

January 9, 2012 at 9:46 am Leave a comment


As the year 2012 ushers in, it is but fitting to look back at what happened in Pangasinan in 2011. There were many events that unfolded before our eyes. Some events were good; others were indeed unpalatable that media people feasted on them over the radio, television and even in local newspapers.

I have selected five top news of 2011 which had more or less caught my interest and fancy. The events kept on reverberating in my head that by looking back, I smiled and questions start to work up in my mind. What if this and that event did not happen? What could have been the real outcomes? Did those events affected the lives of the Pangasinenses?

Let’s start.

Top of my list was the imposition of 300% real property tax by the provincial government which was supposed to be effective on January 2011. The sudden increase surprised all taxpayers in every town. The abrupt passing of the ordinance, according to the business and farmer sectors, was very untimely and that there was no real public hearing.

Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So led those who opposed the measure. He said that the ordinance was anti-development. He threatened to sue the provincial government in court should it insist to implement the ordinance. Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. defended the action of the provincial government saying the increase of real property tax was long overdue. There were exchanges of unsavory words between the pro-increase and those of the anti-increase of real property tax.

But, there was a turn around of events. Maybe due to the pressure of those against its imposition, the provincial government through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan reversed its earlier decision to fully implement it on January 2011. Instead, the province opted to implement it on a staggered basis: 50% in 2011, 75% in 2012 and 100% or full implementation in 2013.

This was the case of a public opinion over actions of government officials. It only proved that the voice of the people, if united, could surmount any action of the government.

Second in my list was the unabated proliferation of “jueteng “ in the province. While the provincial government kept on issuing statements that “jueteng” operations in the province has totally stopped, jai alai operations of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation of the infamous Atong Ang sneaked slowly into the social membrane of the province. There were again speculations that the operations of the jai alai had the imprimatur of Governor Espino who, in many media forums, vehemently denied the accusation. Governor Espino said it was the municipal mayors of Pangasinan that issued permits to the said gaming corporation.

The jai alai operations was a suspect. It was not operating as a jai alai because there were no frontons established. Instead, its operations were fronts for jueteng activities. The issue though has ceased to escalate in the mainstream of public opinion, but there are still towns operating it as a front for “jueteng”.

Third in my list was the filing of a libel case by Board Member Alfonso C. Bince Jr. against my colleagues in this paper. Sued for libel were columnist Mortz Ortigoza, Publisher Yolada Sotelo, Editor Brando Cortez and a “John Doe.”

The libel case stemmed from the column of Mortz Ortigoza that dealt with the “jueteng” payola. In his column Perspectives, Mortz wrote that most members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan were receiving monthly jueteng payola in the amount of P40,000. He said that he just picked up the alleged statement of Board Member Danilo C. Uy who in many occasions talked about jueteng payola. Board Member Uy denied such statement. But, the ego of Board Member Bince was probably bruised and he could not in his wild imaginations accept that he has benefited from “jueteng” operations in the province.

The libel case is still lodged in the Office of the Regional Prosecutor who lately designated an Acting Prosecutor to handle the same. Whether the libel case will prosper or not is worth waiting for.

Sixth District Board Member Ranjit Ramos Shahani’s announcement as the lone opposition in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and that of the Espino administration is the fourth top news in my list. The province has finally found a fiscalizer that will check the excesses of the present administration. Shahani in his announcement during the Mass Media Night in Dagupan City last December 16 urged the media practitioners to support him in his quest for a “Tuwid na Daan” in the province.

Will Ranjit’s announcement as the lone opposition help his political career? Media practitioners opined that it would. The province needs a real opposition to provide checks and balances in government operations. Keep it up Sir Ranjit.

Last in my top news is the hosting of Pangasinan of the Palarong Pambansa 2012. The last time that the province hosted the national games competition was in 1994. This is now the right time to host such event to showcase the various transformations obtaining in the province. The hosting of the Palaro will not only bolster sports development but will also boost the province’s tourism potentials. And it will also create job opportunities for the Pangasinenses.

Happy new year to everyone! May 2012 will be more prosperous and provide us better lives ahead.

(For comments email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com)

Entry filed under: News.

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