LINGAYEN -- The search is over. Pangasinenses will no longer be at a loss as to the birth date or foundation day of the province of Pangasinan.

And for the first time, on April 5, the province will celebrate its birth day, its 430th foundation day.

February 15, 2010 was a monumental and historical day for Pangasinan.

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“I am the happiest man today because this historical event happened during my term as governor.”

Thus, declared Governor Amado Espino Jr. after the conclusion of one of his fervent missions, that is to establish when the province really came about as a political unit.

On Monday, the Research and Study Committee chaired by former vice governor lawyer Gonzalo Duque formally turned over to Espino the committee's report. (Vice Chairmen were Board Members Alfonso Bince Jr., Nestor Reyes and Charizzma Salud Carancho-Go)

Earlier that morning, the Provincial Board chaired by Vice Governor Marlyn Primicias-Agabas passed provincial ordinance number 143-2010 declaring and citing April 5, 1580 as the official foundation day of Pangasinan.

“The identification of the foundation day or the beginning of existence of every local government unit is an important undertaking in the enrichment of its cultural and historical heritage. It has long been the dream of Pangasinan leaders, historians, researchers, academicians, educators and other sectors of society to determine the foundation day or anniversary of the Province of Pangasinance,” the ordinance states.

Through Executive Order No. 0024-2009 as amended by Executive Order No. 00001-2010, Espino created the Research and Study Committee to determine the exact date of the Province of Pangasinan Charter. It is composed of representatives from the provincial government, historical and cultural organizations, academe, and media.

As explained in the ordinance, “the Research and Study Committee found out that it was on April 5, 1572 when Pangasinan was made an encomienda by the Spanish royal crown to receive instructions on the Catholic faith, which means that Pangasinan was organized under one local leadership and has identity before the Spanish Royal coup. Eight years later, in 1580, Pangasinan was organized into a political unit under an alcalde mayor who at the time has authority as head of province or provincial government with judicial function indicating that Pangasinan has become a province. However, there are no records found by the Committee to establish the exact date in 1580.”

The Research and Study Committee unanimously recommended the declaration of April 5, 1580 as the official founding day of the province to commemorate two historical events in its existence. The date April 5 to commemorate the day when Pangasinan became an encomienda and 1580 to commemorate the year it became a Province.

The ordinance further states that “the declaration of April 5, 1580 as the official foundation day of the Province of Pangasinan will further enhance the cultural and historical enlightenment and social consciousness of or people. Such declaration will usher in the celebration of the 430th Foundation Day of the Province of Pangasinan on April 5, 2010.”