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Pangasinan News January 2019

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Pangasinan Province - Archived News

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Map Locator of Pangasinan Province
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The Capitol Building of Pangasinan in the municipality of Lingayen

Dietary supplement is a product that contains vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and/or other ingredients intended to supplement the diet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has special labeling requirements for dietary supplements and treats them as foods, not drugs.

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Pangasinan State University, Asingan Campus
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Church in Aguilar Pangasinan

Wars of ancient history were about possessions, territory, power, control, family, betrayal, lover's quarrel, politics and sometimes religion.

But we are in the Modern era and supposedly more educated and enlightened .

Think about this. Don't just brush off these questions.

  • Why is RELIGION still involved in WARS? Isn't religion supposed to be about PEACE?
  • Ask yourself; What religion always campaign to have its religious laws be accepted as government laws, always involved in wars and consistently causing WARS, yet insists that it's a religion of peace?


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Tondol Beach, Anda

Pangasinan to host Pinoy tracksters' training

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- Some 40 members of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa), who will represent the country to the 2019 South East Asian (SEA) Games, will undergo vigorous training at the Narciso Ramos Sports Complex here starting this month.

Provincial Sports Development and Management Council (PSDMC) Executive Director Modesto Operania said the province welcomes the Patafa members, who will use the sports complex for at least six months for their training.

“They will be preparing for the SEA Games and Governor Amado Espino III fully supports athletes,” Operania said in an interview Thursday.

As one of the biggest sports complex in the country, the Narciso sports complex was chosen by Patafa officials as the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) closed the athletes’ quarters and track ovals at Baguio, as well as the Philippine Sports Complex in Pasig and Rizal Memorial Sports Complex for scheduled rehabilitation.

Operania further said the province’s sports complex can fully accommodate the tracksters with its wide oval and complete facilities, including the security contingency plan.

Since Pangasinense athletes also train and other events are being held at the sports complex, Operania assured that the schedules of trainings of tracksters and other athletes will not be affected.

Before the SEA Games on Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in the country, the Patafa will compete in March in the National Athletics Championships and Asian Youth Championships in Ilagan, Isabela; and on April at the Asian Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Pangasinense student wins nat’l Bible quiz

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- A high school student from Pangasinan, who won the first ever national Bible quiz finals, would use her cash prize mainly for the children’s ministry in Bayambang town.

Jireh Ceralde of Turac National High School in San Carlos City, Pangasinan (Northern Luzon), first-placer in the high school category of the Bible quiz national finals held here on Tuesday, said the ministry was started by her grandmother in 1992, which her family continues to support until today.

“The prize will be used in service to the Lord… It (cash prize) will also be shared with the people (Turac National High School both Junior and Senior High and my family) who helped me to get through,” Ceralde said in an interview via Facebook on Thursday.

“I just feel super blessed for being part of this. I believe God brought me here not just to win in His name but for something much bigger,” she added.

Ceralde noted how she prepared for the national finals with the help of her friends and the administrators in her school.

“As preparation for the national finals, I spent the whole week at the school library and during breaks and my friends help me review through question and answer, and of course, through praying,” she said.

Mikaella Ramirez of Olongapo Wesley School (Central Luzon) won the second place in high school category, followed by Christian Francisco of Urdaneta City National High School in Urdaneta, Pangasinan (Northern Luzon) and Victor Angelo David of Dr. Yanga's Colleges Inc. in Bulacan (Metro Provinces).

In the elementary category, Andrea Allen Alegre of Biga Achievers' Learning Institute in Cavite (Metro Provinces) won the first place, followed by Hanz Efren Abantao of Pasig Christian Academy in Pasig City (National Capital Region), Lei Judiel M. Lucas of St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Bulacan (Metro Provinces) and Nathaniel Desierto of Baguio Pines Learning Center (Northern Luzon).

The winners received trophies and cash prizes amounting to PHP20,000 for the first placer, PHP15,000 for the second placer, and PHP10,000 for the third placer.

Lady Pastor Myra Jalique, national bible quiz coordinator of the Philippine Bible Society (PBS), in an interview Thursday, said 48 elementary and high school students from the different parts of the country participated in the Bible quiz.

The participants are from Mandaluyong City, Pasig, Malabon, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Olongapo, Baguio, Quezon Province, Iloilo, Bohol, Samar, Cagayan de Oro, at Davao City.

“The activity aims to impart in the minds and heart of the young people the importance of reading the Bible to deepen ones faith in God,” Jalique said.

In recent interviews, she said the country has been celebrating the National Bible Week and the National Bible Sunday, as decreed by past Presidents of the country.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte last year also issued Presidential Proclamation 124 declaring the month of January as the National Bible Month.

“The celebration attests to the Bible which will make its profound impact on the life of the nations, and how it has moved and inspired many people to include statesmen and social reformers to work for the betterment of other fellow human beings,” she added.

Jalique said the provincial board has also approved Provincial Ordinance 195-2015, declaring and celebrating the National Bible Week in Pangasinan.

Duterte also declared the last Monday of January every year as special working holiday in observance of the National Bible Day through Republic Act 11631, otherwise known as National Bible Day Act, which he signed December last year.

Int'l awardee teacher advocates online courses

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

MANGALDAN, Pangasinan -- A Grade 7 English teacher, who was presented an award in Dubai, has urged students and professionals to take advantage and avail of free online courses.

Belen Oca of the Mangaldan National High School, said in an interview on Wednesday that her being a facilitator in the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) Camp by the US Embassy in the Philippines since 2017 has paved the way for her to win the Award for Contribution in the International Stage by the International School Awards.

Oca received the award in Dubai last December.

“Passion for teaching, at ‘yong pagmamahal ko sa mga anak ko ang nag-motivate sa akin na mag-join. Gusto ko po kasi maging proud sila sa akin at para pahalagahan po nila ang pag-aaral. (My passion for teaching and my love for my children motivated me to join. I want them to be proud of me and to value education),” she said.

The award-winning teacher has two children, and has been teaching for 14 years now.

Oca was a virtual speaker (The Right to Education Means The Right to a Qualified Teacher, American Spaces Philippines); finished the Indonesian MOOC: Technology for Autonomous Learning Modules sponsored by the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia last year; and finished different other online courses offered by universities in the US.

She was also designated as member of the Action Research Committee in the Junior and Senior High School Department of the Mangaldan National High School, and has been a resource speaker in various seminars, such as a school-based training workshop on module writing.

The US Embassy offered her to become a facilitator after she finished the online American English E-Teacher program, and a course Integrating Critical Thinking Skills into the Exploration of Culture in English as a foreign language setting through MOOC.

“Different universities in the US offer free courses online through MOOC. Hence, I urge students and professionals to enroll,” Oca said.

“Iba’t Ibang lahi po ang nag-e-enroll at ang mga professors ay mga nagtuturo din sa school na nag-offer ng course. Challenging yun kasi po ang mga kaklase namin ay from different countries (Students who enroll have different nationalities and the professors are also professors in US universities offering the courses. It is challenging because our classmates are from different countries),” she added.

Oca also advised her fellow teachers to prepare for changes in the educational system.

“Dapat huwag lang manatiling guro na nakikita lamang sa loob ng classroom. Dapat sabayan natin ang mga pagbabagong nagaganap sa educational system in order to make a difference in the lives of our students and leave a legacy (We should not remain to be just a teacher inside the classroom. We should adapt to the changes happening in the educational system in order to make a difference in the lives of our students and leave a legacy),” she said.

DPWH completes P3-B infra projects in Pangasinan

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

ROSALES, Pangasinan -- The Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) 3rd Pangasinan Engineering District Office has announced the completion of 306 infrastructure projects in the province worth PHP3.14 billion.

In an interview Tuesday, district engineer Gerardo de Guzman of the 3rd Engineering District said of the total number of projects, 29 barangay health stations (BHS) have been built, while seven are under construction. Two rural health units (RHU) have also been completed while five are underway.

De Guzman said the BHS and RHUs are located in Bautista, Urdaneta City, Asingan, Rosales, Balungao, Natividad, San Nicolas, San Quintin, Sta. Maria, Tayug, Umingan, Alcala, Villasis, Pozzurubio, and Binalonan.

They are part of the Department of Health's health facility enhancement program, he said.

Under the Department of Agriculture’s farm-to-market road projects, 17 were completed in Alcala, Bautista, Binalonan, Balungao, Asingan, Tayug, Umingan, and San Nicolas, while two projects are ongoing in Laoac and Barangay Sta.Cruz Umingan, he added.

De Guzman further said that 29 of the school building projects in the district have been completed, while seven are still under construction.

"The rest of the total number of projects in 2018 are regular infra(structure) construction, such as road constructions and flood control projects," he said.

Meanwhile, DPWH 3rd Pangasinan Engineering District proposed a PHP3-billion funding for this year's infrastructure projects.

"It will again include flood control projects on top of the regular infrastructure projects. We hope all our proposals would be approved," he added.

Pangasinan to hold Batang Pinoy tryout Jan. 17-20]

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- The provincial government of Pangasinan is inviting Pangasinense youths aged 15 years old below to join the tryouts set on January 17 to 20 for 16 sporting events in this year’s Batang Pinoy.

Provincial Sports Development and Management Council (PSDMC) executive director, Modesto Operania, said in an interview Wednesday that they are expecting at least 3,000 participants to join the tryouts to be held at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center here.

Up for tryouts are archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, chess, dance sports, karatedo, lawn tennis, sepak takraw, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, indoor volleyball, and beach volleyball.

As part of the province’s preparation for Batang Pinoy 2019, Operania said coaches and trainers convened in a coordination meeting on January 10 where they finalized the guidelines for the selection of athletes who would compose Team Pangasinan.

“From their (youths), we will choose those who will compete for Team Pangasinan,” he added.

After the tryout, the chosen youngsters will immediately start their seven-day in-house training sponsored by the provincial government, Operania said.

Team Pangasinan, earning a total of 71 medals in last year’s Batang Pinoy finals, ranked fifth in the national championships.

“I encourage young Pangasinenses who have their skills and talents in sports to join the tryout as you might have the chance to be part of Team Pangasinan. Don’t forget to bring your birth certificate and medical records. The other qualifications and requirements for the tryout are posted in the provincial government of Pangasinan’s official Facebook page,” he added.

Pangasinan honors World War II veterans

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- The provincial government once again honored the World War II veterans of Pangasinan through a commemorative program and a medical mission for them and their family members during the 74th Lingayen Gulf Landings and 12th Pangasinan Veterans’ Day on Wednesday.

The program, which was attended by the living veterans and their family members including families of deceased veterans, was led by Governor Amado Espino III along with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members and other officials.

In his speech, Espino emphasized the importance of honoring the veterans while they were still living as their number decrease each year.

Espino also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the veterans and their families.

“Salamat sa inyong sakripisyo at pag-aalay ninyo ng inyong buhay (Thank you for your sacrifices and for offering your lives),” he said.

Representative Zajid Mangudadatu of the 2nd district of Maguindanao, in his speech as the guest of honor and speaker, also thanked the war veterans and donated PHP200,000 for the medical expenses of the living Pangasinense war veterans.

Meanwhile, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office administrator, retired Lt. Gen. Ernesto Carolino, said the law increasing the pension of war veterans from PHP5,000 to PHP20,000 was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last week.

“We are just waiting for the Republic Act before it would be implemented, but surely it will be this January 2019 since the budget for it was part of this year’s General Appropriation Act,” he said.

Carolino noted at least 300 war veterans die every month and pneumonia is the most common cause of their death.

“Habang nandyan pa sila, di lang natin sila papasayahin kundi i-maximize din sila to inspire the youths who will be the future veterans of this nation (While they are still there, we will not only make them happy, but also maximize them to inspire the youths who will be the future veterans of this nation),” he said.

Carolino also disclosed their plan to increase the budget for the veterans’ pension to PHP300 million by 2020 “to ensure that no veteran will pay for his own medicine”.

Dagupan to build MacArthur picnic park

By Ahikam Pasion (PNA)

DAGUPAN CITY -- The city government is set to build a brand-new park here named after the iconic General Douglas MacArthur to preserve history in the city.

Mayor Belen Fernandez, in an interview during the commemoration of the 74th Lingayen Gulf Landing on Wednesday, said the park will be a picnic ground, which could serve as ‘outing spots’ for families and friends in the city.

“We will allot around PHP15 million to PHP20 million for the construction and development of the park. We will add that in our budget for 2019,” Fernandez said.

A lot in Bonuan Tondaligan area owned by Dagupan City Water District (DCWD) was chosen to be the ideal site for the picnic park.

“They have given their permission to demolish that abandoned water tank there,” she added.

The current MacArthur monument in Bonuan Gueset, one of more than 10 heritage sites in the city, however, will be retained.

“We will continue the rehabilitation of the park for future generations,” Fernandez said.

Meanwhile, the Villaflor family donated one half of their collections of MacArthur commemorative stamps to the Dagupan city government, while the other half goes to the provincial government of Pangasinan.

During World War 2, MacArthur and his troop, along with many Filipino fighters, have been instrumental in the liberation of Luzon from Japanese forces.

Next year, the city and province will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of MacArthur’s famous landing in Lingayen Gulf on Jan. 9, 1945 that started the liberation of Luzon and the Philippines from Japanese occupation.

Pangasinan town’s Pakwan Festival slated Jan. 26 to Feb.2

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

BANI, Pangasinan -- The municipal government of this town will again stage a Pakwan festival starting Jan. 26 that will promote the town’s watermelon as the sweetest and best in Northern Luzon.

In an interview Monday, Municipal Tourism Officer Rommel Dulay disclosed that among the activities for this year’s Pakwan festival is the cook fest on Jan. 30, which will feature different kinds of watermelon desserts and viand with watermelon.

A trade fair with products like watermelon shake and popsicles will also be opened on January 29.

“Aside from watermelon, other agricultural products of our farmers will also be sold in the trade fair that includes organic agricultural products. A total of 30 stalls will comprise the trade fair,” Dulay said.

Children will also have their part in the festivities as the municipal government prepared an art workshop for them.

“Art pieces like hat and stamps will of course be inspired by watermelon,” he added.

Dulay further said that among the new activities is the Color Fun-Run, search for Binibining Bani, Pets’ Day and concert of local artists; while the usual street dancing competition and drum and lyre performances, among others, will still be part of the lined-up events.

The tables for the Mass Slicing of Pakwan on Feb. 1 will expand to 300 to 400-meters long this year from 100 meters last year, he said.

“We invite everyone to join us in the sixth-year celebration of Pakwan Festival of our town,” he added.

Meanwhile, Municipal Agriculturist Jefferey Pamo, in an interview, said the watermelon industry in the town continues to thrive with 150 hectares total of plantation last year from 80 hectares in 2017.

“Despite the Typhoon Ompong and Rosita’s effect to the produce of the farmers last year, the farmers are still positive of the produce this year,” Pamo added.

Pangasinan onion farmers get P487K from DA

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan -- Some 30 onion farmers are the first batch of beneficiaries of the PHP487,000 funding from the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Regional Office 1 (Ilocos).

In an interview Monday, agricultural technician Zyra Orpiano said the funding will be of “great help” to the farmers whose farms were devastated by armyworms last year, which prompted the municipal government to declare a state of calamity.

Orpiano proposed the project called Rice-Based Oplan Harabas in a seminar last year for Agricultural Development and Extension Officers of the Community (AgRiDOC).

“At that time, we need to come up with a project to be proposed to the DA for funding. I thought of helping the onion industry since our onion farms in Bayambang have been devastated by armyworms for the three consecutive years,” she said.

The amount was turned-over to the onion farmers, who are members of Manambong Parte Farmers' Association here, through the Municipal Agriculture Office last week.

Orpiano added the first phase of the project involves information dissemination to the onion farmers on how to reduce their use of pesticides.

“We have seen that the excessive use of pesticides and inorganic fertilizer was one of the causes of armyworm attacks in their farms hence, we wanted to address that into the use of biological insecticide and organic fertilizers,” she said.

The funding from DA is the second phase of the project, which aims to aid farmers with their farm needs.

“It is by roll-over fund scheme, meaning the 30 beneficiaries will pay the amount to their organization so that next year, another batch of farmers can utilize the fund and so on. We hope they could implement the project well,” Orpiano said.

The amount will be used to procure seeds and the bidding process is ongoing, she added.

Popularity contests fund key projects in Pangasinan town

By Liwayway Yparraguirre (PNA)

VILLASIS, Pangasinan -- The local government of this town is preparing a grand tribute for the former winners of popularity contests here, mostly overseas workers, during their homecoming at the town fiesta on Jan. 19, to honor their contributions to key projects here.

"It is an act of gratitude for their substantial contribution to the transformation of Villasis. It is just but fitting to honor them for sharing their blessings to their town,” Mayor Nonato Abrenica said Friday in an interview.

Abrenica noted they were winners in the popularity contests Search for Mrs. Villasis/Miss Villasis from years 2002 to 2018.

The mayor said proceeds from the first Search for Mrs. Villasis were used in purchasing heavy equipment such as backhoe, payloader and fire truck.

The transformation or renovation of the municipal building was fully funded by the proceeds from the popularity contests in years 2004 to 2006, while the furniture and fixtures of the different offices were purchased by the local government unit, he said.

Abrenica further said other projects funded by the income from popularity contests include the Sangguniang Bayan building, municipal auditorium, police station, and overpass, among others.

"The income from the popularity contests here were substantial, and we were able to sustain it they saw where their donations were being used. You don't expect them to repeatedly give assistance if they don’t see any projects," Abrenica said, as he also thanked the donors and sponsors who supported each candidate.

The “Tribute to the Queens” parade and the Balikbayan Night are scheduled on Jan. 19 as part of the Villasis town fiesta which will run from Jan. 15 to 21.

The much-awaited Talong Festival will be held on Jan. 18. The town will also conduct the Pinakbet sa Kawa cookfest, 101 Ways to Cook Talong, street dancing competition, among others.

The town of Villasis is dubbed as "Pinakbet town" and Vegetable Bowl of Pangasinan.

Year-round, the farmers from 16 barangays here produce talong (eggplant), okra, ampalaya, tomato, green sili and other vegetables, bulk of which are transported to Metro Manila.

Pangasinan gets 90K bags of NFA rice allocation

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- The National Food Authority (NFA) Western and Eastern Pangasinan branches will soon distribute rice allocation to retailers in the province following the arrival in La Union of 90,000 bags of imported rice from Thailand last week.

NFA-Western Pangasinan assistant branch manager Chona Maramba, in an interview on Friday, said some 1,000 bags of rice were already delivered to their warehouse as their delivery truck continues to collect from La Union since last week.

“As soon as the number of the total allocation is completed in our warehouse, we will begin distributing to our retailers,” she said.

NFA-Western Pangasinan suspended its supply of rice to retailers November last year due to the low amount of buffer stock in its warehouse and the absence of delivery at that time.

Nonetheless, Maramba assured that there is sufficient supply of commercial rice in the market since the province is one of the rice producers in the country.

“But we continue to supply to the island barangays through the Tagpuan Rice Delivery Response Program of the NFA, where the agency brings to the intended beneficiaries the rice supply and also the indigenous people in the far flung areas in the province,” she explained.

The NFA also allocates rice supply to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facilities in Western Pangasinan.

Pangasinan’s NFA rice provision is part of the 200,000 bags of imported rice for Region 1 (Ilocos), which recently arrived in Poro Point, La Union from Thailand.

Ilocos Sur also has 20,000 bags allocation; Ilocos Norte has 17,000 bags; Benguet has 30,000 bags; and Abra with 8,000 bags.

In a report, NFA Ilocos regional director Jaime Hadlocon said Region 1 has a total of 1.9 million bags of rice allocation this year.

More fire stations to be inaugurated in Pangasinan

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is set to inaugurate more fire stations in Alaminos City and the town of Bautista in Pangasinan province this year.

Supt. Eddie Jucutan, director of BFP-Pangasinan, said Thursday BFP-funded fire stations are still under construction.

"The station in Alaminos is worth PHP19 million since it is a city, while the Bautista station is worth PHP7.2 million, being a municipality," he said.

Jucutan said the funding came from the BFP’s collections from the annual renewal of the Fire Safety Inspection Certificate (FSIC) required for securing business permits.

"Pangasinan records a high number of FSIC," he added.

Last year, nine fire stations were constructed in the towns of San Nicolas, Aguilar, Dasol, Urbiz, Agno, Bugallon, Rosales, Tayug, and San Quintin, Jucutan said.

Aside from the new fire stations, Pangasinan also received 13 fire trucks distributed to its different fire stations, he said.

"This is to serve the people better," Jucutan added.

547K visited Pangasinan’s Hundred Islands in 2018

By Hilda Austria (PNA)

ALAMINOS CITY, Pangasinan -- A total of 547,412 tourists visited the famous Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) here from January 1 to December 31 last year, resulting in PHP43.19 million in income for the city.

In an interview Thursday, City Tourism Officer Miguel Sison admitted that the tourist arrivals in 2018 declined by 2.6 percent compared to the recorded tourist arrivals of 561,909 in 2017.

“The decline was caused by the weather disturbances, not just in the province, but all over the country, wherein during those times, we needed to close the islands from tourists, especially during typhoons, or if the gale warning was up,” Sison said.

Pangasinan was hit by several typhoons that caused flooding last year starting July, while the HINP was only accessible through boats from the Lucap Wharf at the city proper.

“We were only able to pick-up again last December. We are glad we still exceeded last year’s income amounting to PHP41.05 million,” Sison said.

The city began implementing discounts to bona fide Pangasinenses last December 8 and will continue until the last week of May this year to encourage local tourism.

“The HINP’s income would have been higher if there was no promotion,” he added.

Sison further said the HINP has had a “good start” this year, as some 3,564 tourists visited the islands on January 1 and some 2,847 tourists on January 2, while a cruise ship is set to arrive this January.

“We hope to add more staff in preparation for the Holy Week and the summer season, which is the peak season at HINP,” he said.

Meanwhile, another hotel will be constructed at the Lucap Wharf this year to accommodate more tourists who would stay overnight.

R1MC soon the largest health facility north of Manila

By Leonardo Micua (Sunday Punch)

PANGASINENSES no longer need to bring their sick patients to Manila as the Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC) in Dagupan is now the only tertiary hospital in Pangasinan (and in Region 1) at par if not better than many of the hospitals in the metropolis.

Dr. Roland Mejia, R1MC medical director, said R1MC will soon be the largest north of Manila once two more high-rise buildings, costing more than P1 billion each, are added.

Mejia credited Fourth District Rep. Christopher de Venecia for securing the approval for the construction of Tower 1 and 2 starting next year.

De Vencia, he said, was also instrumental for the construction of the out-patient department which was inaugurated sometime in November this year.

Tower 1, he said, will be a 10-storey building with a 1,500 bed capacity and a helipad while Tower 2, beside it, will be a seven-storey building that will have private suites for paying patients, including PhilHealth members.

Mejia said construction of Towers 1 and 2 of R1MC have become necessary because the hospital needs to accommodate more than 300 in-patients daily.

He said that to date, R1MC has more than 600 doctors in its plantilla as compared to only 60 before and is among the top 5 best performing medical centers nationwide. It is also one of the identified sub-specialty centers of the DOH in the country.

To date, R1MC has eight specialty centers, namely the geriatric center, eye center, transplant center, heart and lung centers, psychiatric center, cancer center and toxicology center.

He said as a training and referral hospital, R1Mc expects its equipment in life-saving upgraded soon. To date, it has already a CT scan and all the equipment in its eye center has all the equipment that can be found in similar facilities in Metro Manila.

‘Listen to the youth, journey with them in the digital world’

By Bernadette D. Nicolas

PRIESTS must listen to the young even when at times they criticize the clergy, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas said at the transition between the old and new years.

In a pastoral letter for the 2019 Year of the Youth in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, Villegas pointed out that the youth can also teach the elders the power of digital world and “be at the forefront of using the power of the Internet to “spread true information, promote sociopolitical engagement according to the Gospel values and be good citizens of the nation.”

“When the young criticize us priests, I encourage you, my brother priests, to listen to their young voices as the voice of Christ himself calling us to conversion and renewal.

All young people are in God’s heart even if some of them do not share our visions of life. An attitude of humility and willingness to listen will open new avenues of renewal for us,” said Villegas, the former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

“Our youth need to teach us the power of the cyberspace digital world while we their elders in turn must accompany them in this daily reality of their young lives…In entering cyberspace with the young, we their elders can protect them from the dark web of isolation, manipulation, exploitation, cyberbullying and pornography,” he added.

The letter was issued as the Catholic Philippines observes 2019 as the Year of the Youth looking forward to the 500th anniversary of the first baptism and first mass in the Philippines and the 100th anniversary of the Diocese of Lingayen in 2028.

In 2019, we dream of the Church in Lingayen-Dagupan as young Jesus among the young, Villegas said.

In walking together with the youth, he urged the priests to renew their appreciation for three very important interlinked institutions—the family, the school and the parish.

“The youth must be given avenues to participate in the mission of evangelization in the parish. It has been said that the face of God is mercy. Today, we say that at the forefront of the Church of mercy are the faces of the young. Let us give the Church a young face. Let us give the youth a space to be heard because true love listens. The first step to walking with the youth is listening to them,” he said.

The restlessness among the youth can inject greater dynamism to parishes which often favor the status quo more than the missionary passion.

“I encourage our priests and educators, parents and guardians to allow the youth to express this creative restlessness with an encouraging welcome and a respectful accompaniment. Oftentimes, we Church elders engender impatience among the youth because of our slow, domineering and dragging pastoral approaches,” he said.

“To the parents, teachers and priests: The young Jesus is among the young. Let the young teach us as we teach them. Let the young show us the face of Jesus as we keep on trying to love them like Jesus. To the young: Show us Jesus and be our guide to see Him more clearly, to love Him more dearly, to follow Him more nearly,” he added.