DAGUPAN CITY, Mar. 16 (PIA) — From Bangus to handicraft to tourism, the Pangasinenses have come out as big winners in the three industries earning more income for ordinary folks, according to President Benigno S. Aquino III.
In a meeting with local leaders, Aquino said that Pangasinan’s bangus industry has generated more than P135 million in domestic sales and nearly $840,000 in export sales in 2012 alone.
“Your hard work made bangus, formerly held as fish for the rich, affordable to consumers,” he said during a consultation with more than 5,000 Pangasinenses from the province’s four districts at the CSI Stadia in this city on Friday.
The President also also commended local leaders for the growing handicraft and tourism industries in the province.
He said the handicraft industry, which created 157 jobs for unemployed residents in 2001, now employs some 1,033 workers this year.
Tourism also boosted Pangasinan’s income with more than 200,000 tourist arrivals in 2011 compared to only 120, 000 in 2010 or an increase of 66.57 percent.
The tourist arrival in Pangasinan in 2011 represents almost 40 percent of the total tourist arrivals in the Ilocos Region, the President said.
He noted that tourists continue to come in droves to this province to check out beautiful sceneries and historical places such as the Hundred Islands in Alaminos City, beaches in San Fabian town and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in the town of Manaoag.
The President also reported several big ticket projects that will benefit residents namely the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) and the construction of the San Nicolas-Natividad-San Quintin-Umingan-Guimba Road.
The TPLEX project, an 88-kilometer road construction which will connect the three provinces, is underway and is due for completion before 2016.
Once completed, the expressway will cut travel time from Tarlac City to Rosario, La Union to one hour. It takes four hours for motorists to reach La Union Tarlac using the regular route. The new road project will serve more than 20,000 motorists daily.
According to the President, the San Nicolas-Natividad-San Quintin-Umingan-Guimba Road is expected to be finished before the month ends. Once completed, the one hour travel time will be reduced to 30 minutes to the benefit of over 5, 400 motorists daily.
The Department of Public Works and Highways was also given a budget of P269.1 million this year to fund Dagupan City’s road construction, flood control, schools and other infrastructure projects.
In support to the agriculture sector, President Aquino announced that the government has released P10 million for the completion of the Poblacion-Quinaoayanan farm-to-market Road in Bani Town.
Some P360 million was also allotted for the Macidem small reservoir irrigation project also in Bani, that will supply water to 600 hectares of farmlands.
Further, 17 irrigation projects amounting to P150 million will be given to various towns to serve over 2,100 hectares of agricultural lands.
In social welfare, PNoy said that 112,000 beneficiaries from some 3.85 million households in the country listed under the Conditional Cash Transfer Program are from Pangasinan. (MCA/AM-PIA1, Pangasinan)