Tuesday, April 26, 2005

parangal para sa mararangal

The Province of Pangasinan has many good people to meet, many wonderful places to visit, many great historical events on record. But all these attributes seem to be overshadowed by the repeated reports of continued big jueteng operations in the area.

It is sad that the Province of Pangasinan is more than once mentioned by national media as a jueteng haven in the country. It is even said that it is second only to the Province of Pampanga. It is even claimed that the jueteng lord in both provinces is one and the same. In fact, this dubious character is alleged to be also the jueteng capitalist in the Provinces of Albay, Bataan, Isabela plus Mindoro.

More than anybody, I am the one who personally feels much pained whenever Pangasinan is published as a “jueteng province”. And the reason is obvious: I am the Chairman of the National Crusade Against Jueteng. I am residing in Dagupan City and the Crusade was in fact born in Dagupan City itself some three years ago.

But I had reason to be proud on the occasion of this April 2005 Awarding of Anti-Jueteng incumbent local officials. Mayor Gabriel Navarro of the Municipality of Bani and Mayor Domingo Doctor of Burgos were two awardees from Pangasinan.

These are two noble local public officials who have the integrity and the courage to say “no to jueteng!” in their respective municipalities. While there may be still guerilla jueteng in these places, it remains certain that they are with the crusade in counteracting this corrupt and corrupting gambling in their jurisdictions.

I personally met them, congratulated them, and asked them to see to it that they continue to be annual awardees of the Crusade.

The core message of the yearly “Parangal Para sa Mararangal” given by the National Crusade Against Jueteng is plain and simple: Jueteng can be stopped by the mere will of public officials and police authorities. Otherwise, how can it be explained that this year there were 101 municipal mayors, 5 city mayors and 10 governors who were recipients of the award?

26 April 2005