MAGANES: Pogi Espino and his 1st SOPA

May 22, 2017 at 8:34 am Leave a comment

Last May 11, Governor Amado “Pogi” Espino III delivered his  State of the Province Address (SOPA) at the Capitol Plaza, which was attended by the municipal and barangay officials in the province, non-government organizations (NGOs), civic and religious organizations, academe and representatives from the six districts of Pangasinan. It was his first SOPA after he won the elections in 2016.
In his address, Espino outlined his accomplishments during the first year of his term, zeroing on the awards and accolades received by the province from the regional and national levels notably in the fields of livelihood and employment, statistics, social welfare and development, coastal resource management, health and human resource management. He said the remarkable achievements were started by his father, the former Governor and now the 5th District Rep. Amado T. Espino Jr.
While I am touted as a critic of the Espinos, I am inspired by the achievements he presented especially on the area of unemployment, which he says the unemployment rate of 8.2% in 2015 has been reduced to 5.4% in 2016. This means that more Pangasinenses are already employed, both local and overseas. Another laudable project he is eyeing is the implementation of Mobile Skills Training through a Customized Training Truck and bus with technical and vocational training modules on skills development. I hope that in his next SOPA, the unemployment rate will be further reduced.

Livelihood and employment opportunities have been close to my heart for the Pangasinenses especially when I was still with the provincial government under the Provincial Population Office (PPO). I was the one who prepared concept papers on Integrated Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Cooperative Loan Assistance Program and the Integrated Goat Assistance Program. I was also responsible for preparing the training module on Micro Enterprise Development for women organizations and cooperatives, which to my mind is still being used by PPO, although some parts of it have been modified. Why I am saying this? It is not to brag but to show how glad I am that livelihood programs that have been started before under the Agbayanis were continued by the present administration. That was a program needed by the Pangasinenses and realizing its fruition under Governor Espino is laudable.
I am not more keen on the other areas he addressed like health program, sports development,  agriculture, infrastructure and tourism for these programs have been recurring each year in every administration. What struck me was the establishment of the Provincial Drug Rehabilitation Center in San Vicente, Burgos, which has been conceptualized for many years way back during the time of former Governor Aguedo F. Agbayani.
Drug problem was already proliferating way back then.  There was a plan before to have a drug rehabilitation center but was not pursued, perhaps for many reasons. That plan is now in fruition. The drug rehabilitation center will soon be constructed in a 2-hectare lot donated by the Cabiles family. This is another laudable project of Espino’s administration as it will support the  national government’s war on illegal drugs. The drug menace is slowly eroding the social fiber of the province. Many drug surrenderers under Oplan Tokhang need to be rehabilitated. The new drug center will cater to this need.
There are other programs and projects worthy to be praised under Governor Espino. To mention some are the Pangasinan Umaani Expo, establishment of Hall of Fame or Abong na Dayew building and the construction of a second Pangasinan Training and Development Center (PTDC) building. Equally commendable is his penchant for promoting the cultural reawakening of every Pangasinense through the Kurit Patalunggaring, to preserve the Pangasinan dialect.
We are now witnessing a new era of development under Governor Pogi Espino. He needs to be supported by every Pangasinense. His success in many non-traditional programs and projects he is initiating will be a success for every Pangasinense. Let’s rally behind him and put politics behind for the meantime.
Many friends have been asking me lately what’s happening with former Vice Governor and 6th District Board Member Ranjit Ramos Shahani. After the May 9, 2016 elections, Ranjit has been out in circulation. He was apparently frustrated by the outcome of his re-election bid for Board Member and decided to be by himself away from the rigors and pressures of politics.
I had the chance to talk to him when his mother the former Senator Letecia Ramos Shahani passed away. I condoled with him and told me that he’s thinking of his political comeback in 2019. I wished him luck. I learned from him that before his mother died, he was busy attending to the needs of her at the St. Luke’s Hospital in Taguig City until she succumbed to her sickness.
Where is Ranjit now? Lately, I learned that he’s been appointed by President Duterte as a new member of the Board of Directors of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), a de facto consular office for Taiwan (China). He replaced his mother as one of the directors. Well, I hope everything will be gonna well for him. He has a foreign service degree on his sleeves and with his expertise,  working for the country,he would boost our diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Through this column, I wish to congratulate him for the new post. Ranjit is a good friend who is  oftentimes misunderstood by those who are not that close to him. Again, congratulations Sir Ranjit!
(For comments and suggestions, email me at or Visit my blog The Roving Pen at

Entry filed under: News.

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