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    “PAMPANGA IS rarely compromised. Lahar is the only catastrophe that really gave Kapampangans a problem. Otherwise, everything is okay. Even the weather has no major impact on the Pampagueños’ resiliency.”

    President Duterte on Monday looked back at the Kapampangan’s triumph over the devastations of the Mount Pinatubo eruptions as a warranty of success in the province’s struggle with avian influenza.

    Duterte expressed no doubt that the resiliency of the Kapampangan will see them through the worst straits, noting that “they are unlike others who complain a lot when they do not immediately receive aid from government (in times of calamities).”

    Of the issue at hand, Duterte said: “Food security is a very important cycle in the country. That is why it is important that no aberrations in the food chain occur. If there is any, it should be immediately acted upon because it will destroy food security of the place.”

    “Pampanga, in the system that I see now in the government, is really not only a factor, but is part of the food chain, the place itself. That is why I am here, to show everybody that the virus has been contained and it is now safe to eat chicken and poultry products,” Duterte said, thereafter engaging in a boodle fight of fried chicken, adobo, balut and hardboiled eggs with Gov. Lilia G. Pineda, 2nd District Rep. Gloria MacapagalArroyo, 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, Agriculture Sec. Manny Piñol, members of the Cabinet, mayors as well as poultry owners.

    The latter also receiving from the President government financial assistance for the losses incurred in the culling of their fowls.

    Subsequent to Duterte’s visit, the provincial government paid P750,400 to 316 workers who culled fowls in the avian flu outbreak’s ground zero in San Luis town.

    “Thank you for helping save the poultry industry because culling was one way to stop the spread of the virus,” said Vice Gov. Dennis G. Pineda who personally handed the cash to the workers hired by the Capitol to speed up the destruction of egg-laying chicken, ducks and quails in order to prevent the spread of the bird flu virus outside the 1-km quarantine zone around Barangays San Carlos and Sta. Rita.

    The Capitol has programmed a cash-forwork project for farmworkers who will be out of job for the three months that the poultry farms will be monitored and tested until completely free of the avian fl u virus.

    The bird flu issue is yet another recurrent refrain to the Kapampangan lore of rising from every catastrophe.

    Why, Pampanga just last week also shook off the catastrophic image it has long been impacted with – the “Vatican of jueteng” as the noble Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. put it.

    “There is no illegal gambling in Pampanga, I can say that aloud and with conviction.”

    So, declared Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz himself Tuesday last week at the blessing of the newly constructed PCSO Pampanga branch building.

    Corpuz said Pampanga is one of the 18 provinces in the country which secured a franchise with the Small Town Lottery (STL) game of the PCSO which was introduced in 2005, precisely to combat jueteng.

    Since the shift to STL, Corpuz noted, “all the illegal numbers games were accounted and stamped out.”

    No jueteng in Pampanga. The PCSO has spoken. Believe.


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