The Father of Dagupan City

By November 14, 2021Random Thoughts

By Leonardo Micua


WERE it not for the memorandum of Governor Amado Espino III dated November 9, 2021 uploaded on Facebook, many of us might not have remembered that last November 13 was a red-letter day in Pangasinan, being the 125th birthday of one of the illustrious sons of the province, the late Speaker Eugenio Perez.

Almost forgotten in view of the present pandemic is one of the earliest political leaders  of the country from Pangasinan on his natal day, which was declared a non-working public holiday in Pangasinan by virtue of Republic Act 6721.

Born on November 13, 1896 in the then obscure Sitio Obong in Barrio Basista in San Carlos, Perez was the first Pangasinense who ever reached that lofty position in government.

The former barrio Basista, during the time of Perez, is now a separate town and Obong is one of its biggest and most famous barangays. However, during the redistricting effected sometime in 1987, San Carlos City, was made a part of the Third District while Basista, via gerrymandering then, became part of the Second District.

Many of us were not born yet when Speaker Perez represented the then Second Dstrict of Pangasinan, made up of San Carlos, Dagupan, Binmaley, Urbiztondo and Mangatarem. Comprising the Third District then were Malasiqui, Sta. Barbara, Calasiao, Mangaldan, San Fabian and Mapandan.

Although from San Carlos who served as a councilor. Perez authored  Republic Act 170 that converted the former town of Dagupan as the first chartered city in Pangasinan. Because of this important legislation, Dagupeños have so much to thank the man for. That’s why he is  regarded to this day as the Father of Dagupan.

Most of the present generation do not know that Perez, used the gavel of power as Speaker in the House of Representatives from 1946 to 1953. He served as Speaker during the successive reigns of three Philippine presidents, namely Sergio Osmena (1946), Manuel Roxas (1948-1948) and Elpidio Quirino (1948 to 1953).

He was Speaker of the House during the post war years when the Philippines was still under period of reconstruction and development and recovering from destructions  wrought by World War II.

The only other Pangasinense who became a Speaker of the House of Representatives was Jose de Venecia Jr. who assumed that post more than four decades later and who served five times as Speaker of that chamber, unprecedented in Philippine history.

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Much sought after in the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dagupan is Aguedo Sta. Maria, the city’s market supervisor, who according to Councilor Teresa Coquia dodged eight invitations to appear in the zoom session of the body to answer vital questions raised by small-scale vendors.

 According to City Legal Officer Terence Marata, Sta. Maria is on medical leave when he phoned him in the morning of November 9 for information why small-scale vendors are being made to pay P100 cash tickets daily when in fact the revised revenue code of Dagupan in 2006, which was not yet amended, provided that they are supposed to pay only P20 worth of cash tickets.

 Coquia believes it is only Sta. Maria who can provide the right information on this issue since he stayed at the market office much longer than the current OIC Market Supervisor, Randolph Ubando.

 The situation at the office of the market supervisor puzzled Councilor and Majority Floor Leader Michael Fernandez that prompted him to ask: “Who’s really calling the shot at the Office of the City Market Administrator? It is because, Sta. Maria is oftentimes talking some issues in the market on radio but seemed allergic to go and air his side in the SP?”

 Fernandez said if he (Sta Maria) is on medical leave as claimed by City Legal Officer Marata, then out of courtesy to the OIC, he should clamp up and leave the talking albeit temporarily to whoever is designated incharge of the office till he officially comes back.

 Fernandez said he would like to find out what the true status of Sta. Maria and OIC Ubando from the city’s Human Resources Office. 

 At this moment, if nobody from the Office of the City Market Administrator would like to talk about the alleged over-charge of cash tickets, who would stop people from thinking there is a big monkey business going on in the city market that could even fan the suspicion there are bogus cash tickets being passed around to unsuspecting market vendors. This could be true. 

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