LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Governor Amado Espino Jr. has expressed elation over his administration’s success in making the Capitol Compound the center of tourism in the province and “perhaps, even in the entire region.”

The governor spoke during the program “Aktibo ed Turismo” Awarding Ceremony on December 10 at the Sison Auditorium in Lingayen.

The provincial government or the Capitol Building, after undergoing renovations under Espino’s term as the province’s chief executive, has been known as one of the most, if not the most, beautiful Capitol buildings in the country.

Espino, however, expressed dismay over his supposed legacy project while in his last term of office, the Lingayen eco-tourism zone.

“Five years had been wasted,” he remarked as he recalled what happened to the said project.

“We should’ve gone far already with the project if only some people did not claim that we exported black sand to China,” he said.

Espino said the project would have been operational now and already generated a lot of employment and further boosted the local economy and industry.

He said the Lingayen project located in a 300-hectare area designated as an ecotourism zone located in the villages of Sabangan, Malimpuec, Capandanan, and Estanza in the capital town was put on hold due to a complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman claiming that black sand (magnetite) retrieved from the area was exported to China.

The provincial government has categorically denied this, citing that the black sand stockpile remained intact in the area up to this day.

The provincial government earlier maintained that in preparation for the golf course development, unwanted materials such as magnetite sand were only extracted to allow grass and other vegetation to grow in the area.

At the same time, the Governor reminded the officials and employees of different local government units (LGUs) to do away with dirty politics, indifference, and “ningas cogon” mentality in the performance of their duties especially on tourism and agriculture which he dubbed as the “primary industries of the province.”

“Just make your towns great…and our relatives will come back here to help,” he added.

He sought for simple yet practical, orderly, and clean tourism efforts such as the provision of clean comfort rooms in different tourist attractions. JOHANNE MARGARETTE R. MACOB/PNA