Pangasinan was lucky this time
By Leonardo Micua
BASED on the presentation of Office of Civil Defense 1 during a virtual presscon on July 28, a day after the Magnitude 7 earthquake shook Northern Luzon, most of the major damages to infrastructure due to the temblor were concentrated in provinces and cities north and north-east of Pangasinan.
Places that incurred varying degrees of damages from the quake were La Union, Ilocos Sur (particularly Vigan) and Ilocos Norte in Region 1, all of which are closer to the epicenter of the quake in Lagangilang town in Abra province, than our province of Pangasinan.
Baguio, Benguet, too, as well as Mt. Province, in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), were also severely affected by landslides that made roads impassable. The connecting bridges between Region 1 and the Cordilleras and also towards Region 2 via Apayao also sustained major damages from the quake.
Our province was luckier. It was saved from the quake by the proverbial skin of its teeth. The damages incurred by the province, according to Gov. Mon-Mon Guico, were only minimal, compared to the losses sustained by our neighboring provinces in Region 1, CAR and Cagayan Valley.
God may have saved us because we cannot afford to be hit by a lightning twice in the same place. Remember the July 16, 1990 earthquake when Dagupan and some parts of Pangasinan were brought down to their knees and left a big swath of destruction.
No fatality was recorded this time but there was a woman from Zone 7 in Barangay Caramutan, Villasis (my town) who had to be rushed to the hospital to have her minor injuries treated.
Final tally, so far: Two bridges, one in Dagupan and the other in Alcala, one building at the provincial capitol and the steel column of a covered court of one pubic secondary school in Dagupan only sustained minor cracks.
I am sure President Bongbong Marcos will first marshal the remaining resources of the government to help the more devastated provinces in Region 1, CAR and Region 2 in terms of food, water, medicines, clothes and temporary shelters to the affected families who lost their loved ones and homes.
And since the coffers, may not have enough money for the rehab of the damaged infrastructures, no one can fault the BBM administration if it will resort to more foreign borrowings just to see the areas devastated rise from their presence abyss.
Just like when a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Dagupan, Pangasinan, Baguio and Nueva Ecija on July 16, 1990 and finding the vault almost empty, then President Cory sent our very own Congressman Joe de Venecia on a difficult mission to look for funds from rich countries in Europe and the Americas so that the rehab can start.
Thus began the awesome task to bring back Dagupan and Pangasinan to their usual if not better economic dynamism in this part of the country.
By the way, when Dagupan was devastated by the quake, its mayor was Liberato Reyna Sr. And the vice mayor was Alipino Fernandez Jr. In Pangasinan, at the helm were Gov. Rafael Colet and Vice Governor Gonzalo Duque, now a columnist of this paper.
Together, they heroically anchored and coordinated all government efforts to bring Dagupan and Pangasinan back to their feet in less than two years.
Mayor Al and then Vice Mayor Teddy Manaois completed the rehabilitation of Dagupan while the tandem of Governor Aguedo Agbayani and then Vice Governor Ranjit Shahani completed it for Pangasinan, of course with the full backing of President Fidel Ramos, Ranjit’s uncle, and Speaker JdV, the acknowledged architect of a new Dagupan.
I can remember the statement of then Mayor Libring Reyna when he repeatedly said that the earthquake could just be a blessing in disguise to Dagupan so that it can have better, bigger and sturdier infrastructures. He was right!
Can PBMM devise a quick and effective magic so that Abra’s normal life can be restored in the shortest time possible?
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