THIS REFERS to the news item titled “Pangasinan groups broaden mining protest” (Inquirer, 11/25/12).
The item is simply pure fiction and black propaganda, deliberately passed on as news to deceive and mislead the unsuspecting public. It wants people to believe that protesters staged a rally at the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City, and “grilled milk fish at the compound … (for) the employees … to taste the fish from … the clean waters of Pangasinan before it is too late … (as) there may be no more tasty bangus from (the province) due to water pollution.” Contrary to what was reported, no such protest rally ever took place in the Office of the Ombudsman on Nov. 21, 2012. Therefore, there could not have been any bangus-grilling, much less bangus-feeding by protesters at the Ombudsman that day.
A press release, detailing the anticipated activities of the “protesters,” was actually distributed to media outlets in Pangasinan last Nov. 20, or a day before the reported event. This might explain why the dateline of the story was Baguio City although the alleged protest action was in Quezon City. Unfortunately, while the activities that were “press released” did not push through, they were reported in the Inquirer.
Being an avid Inquirer reader and subscriber, I expect the paper to live up to its “balanced news, fearless views” slogan. Thus, I find it reprehensible that brazen lies were passed on as legitimate news through a highly respected and leading national paper. This definitely sets a very dangerous precedent.
As to the allegation that we are polluting the waters of Pangasinan, the truth is the exact opposite. The province has received the Likas Yaman Award from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for three consecutive years, from 2010-2012, for its various environmental projects and massive river cleanup program. As a result, the local fisherfolk have reported the presence of more fish species and increasing fish stocks in the Agno River. Likewise, Pangasinan was named by the Regional Development Council as Region I Hall of Famer in Coastal Resources Management for being Region I Best LGU-CRM Project Implementer for three consecutive years—from 2008-2010.
Moreover, for its consistent outstanding performance in various areas of governance in the last five years, no less than the Department of the Interior and Local Government has named Pangasinan the fourth best performing province in the whole country and, just recently, as the Region I champion (province category), and one of only 10 national contender-provinces in the Gawad Pamana ng Lahi 2012, the mother of local governance awards in the country.
We have always aspired for fairness, and we would appreciate it if the Inquirer could help us realize the vision of Pangasinan— “the best place to invest, work, live, and raise a family”; and pursue its mission “to make Pangasinan Number One.”
—AMADO T. ESPINO, JR.
governor, Province of Pangasinan
Contrary to Governor Espino’s claim, the rallies staged by fishermen, farmers and residents of Pangasinan calling for the preservation of the province’s environment were held in three venues in Quezon City on Nov. 21. Before the Quezon City rallies, they held a protest action in Lingayen, Pangasinan, in commemoration of the International Fish Day.
A set of photographs and a video clip received by the Inquirer Northern Luzon showed the protesters marching and holding rallies in front of the Office of the Ombudsman and the offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of the Interior and Local Government in Quezon City.
Inquirer photographer Marianne Bermudez, who took the picture that accompanied the article, counted 25 protesters who joined the DENR rally. She said photographers from other newspapers and a TV news crew also covered the event.
—INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON