Pangasinan gov: We own Malico




The Manila Times


LINGAYEN, Pangasinan: Gov. Ramon Guico 3rd on Friday asserted that the mountain village of Malico located on the top of the Caraballo Mountain “is still and will forever be part of the great province of Pangasinan.” In his first 100 days report, Guico said that protecting the province’s territorial boundaries was among the concerns that had kept him busy since he assumed office on July 1. Aside from the boundary dispute with Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan also has similar problems with Benguet and Tarlac. “In the same way that we protect Malico, we will also strengthen our rights and fight for what belongs to Pangasinan,” said Guico. In an ambush interview after his speech, Guico expressed confidence that Pangasinan will not lose Malico to Nueva Vizcaya. “We own Malico. If you speak to the old people there, if you research some documents, we can see that Malico is part of Pangasinan,” Guico said. “It just so happened, I guess, that the access from the other province has been constructed first. Our road through Villa Verde that would link Malico to the town proper of San Nicolas came later.” Baguio of Pangasinan Malico has been described as the “Baguio of Pangasinan.” It has an elevation of 1,675 meters above sea level, higher than Baguio City’s 1,470-meter altitude. Malico is said to be colder than the country’s Summer Capital. It can be reached from San Nicolas, via the 22.3-kilometer Pangasinan segment of the Pangasinan-Nueva Vizcaya Road, also known as the Villa Verde trail. The Pangasinan-Nueva Vizcaya Road, which crosses the Caraballo mountains, is the newest direct link of the Ilocos Region to the Cagayan Valley. It connects the towns of San Nicolas in Pangasinan and Santa Fe in Nueva Vizcaya. The other direct link of Ilocos Region to Cagayan Valley is the Maharlika Highway, which connects Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte and Santa Praxedes in Cagayan. Memorandum of agreement During a session at Barangay Malico in Santa Fe town on September 21, the provincial board of Nueva Vizcaya urged San Nicolas town officials to respect the memorandum of agreement (MoA) between the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria), Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya. But Vice Gov. Mark Ronald Lambino, chair of the Pangasinan provincial board’s committee on boundary disputes, said that the only purpose of MoA was for Namria to conduct an initial survey on the boundary between San Nicolas and Santa Fe. There was nothing in the MoA, he said, that directed the Namria to establish political boundaries. He said the MoA was signed during the time of former governor Victor Agbayani about 20 years ago. Asked to comment on the allegation that Pangasinan did not give its P600,000 share for the Namria survey, Lambino said that he was not in a position to answer it “because it happened more than two decades ago.” Guico said that the MoA made reference to certain documents that indicated the reference points of the provincial boundary. “I think that’s what’s important — for us to see first the documents,” Guico said, adding that it was possible for the Namria to have erred in its survey. “I am confident that Malico belongs to Pangasinan. Under our watch, we will not give it up.”