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Gov. Marcos urges Ilocanos to create a future at home in 4th SOPA

By Grazielle Mae A. Sales

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‘IN2020: Metro Ilocos’

“With hope and ambition, let us now create a future for our families at home so that IN2020, Ilocos Norte will truly be a home we can be proud of—the best little province in the country!” Governor Marcos said, calling for Ilocanos to convert this momentum of recent development into a continuing success.

She said that the key to modernization is to convert Ilocos Norte into “a learning province”. By embracing technology, she said that people should get reference from, rather than forget, the Ilocano heritage and values. Both the elderly and the young should be engaged in this modernization to ensure “lifelong learning”.

“Still, as we modernize, we will manage urbanization, taking on the challenges of housing, transport and water management today while we still have the chance to map a sustainable Metro Ilocos,” said Governor Imee.

Among the governor’s initiatives related to this is the setting up of affordable city housing which is now happening through the Adigi Housing in Batac and the upcoming Ayuyang Homes behind Laoag stadium.

“The exorbitant cost of land, together with the opportunities offered by Metro Ilocos to students, employees and aspiring workers are the deadly combination for illegal settlers and slums. We must provide housing finance, construct with private developers and formulate a progressive legal framework,” Governor Marcos said.

She added that solving the issue of land ownership is another gateway to better housing opportunities as the government owns a total of 75.51% land area in the province which is supposed to be a vast “landbank” the Ilocanos can utilize. While Task Force Titulo a Natalged has already issued 12,351 titles, Governor Marcos said that this is not enough and called the attention of various national offices to let their stagnated lots be used by the people.

Partnership with the private sector was also opened as she pledged to provide incentives and support for business men who will join the provincial government in providing Ilocanos with more housing opportunities.

Expanded transport access is another initiative IN2020. She challenged transport operators to start alternative routes or even make transportation available during the night especially in transport points of Laoag City, San Nicolas and Batac City where there are “night life”.

“Eventually, we also must manage the flow of private cars into Metro Ilocos but first let us provide diverse public transport options, build more pedestrian walkways to increase walking time and IN2020 learn to use public bicycles on designated cycling paths,” Governor Marcos added.

The third initiative IN2020 is “to address the extreme changes [Ilocos Norte has] experienced in rain and water supply. “Iyung dating 556mm na ulan tuwing Agosto, ngayon ay 270mm na lang,” she explained.

According to her, a province-wide water conservation is not enough and that “new and bigger sources of water” should be developed. IN2020, over one-third of the population will be living in Metro Ilocos which shall put pressure on the catchment areas of the Ilocos Norte Water District (INWAD). To mend this, Governor Marcos called for an extensive system of “3 provincial faucets”: first, a watershed in upland Pasuquin, second in Vintar to supply Laoag City, and lastly a heavy reforestation around Paoay lake to provide for Batac City and the southern towns.

“Together with three provincial faucets, we must begin to plant the ‘Green Wall of Ilocos Norte”, a massive watershed of forest along the eastern mountains, which like the Great Wall of China, will protect our dams and fertile plains,” the governor said. This overall setup, along with the recently organized Provincial Resiliency Council, is expected not only to provide potable water to a larger population but also helps in making Ilocos Norte disaster-proof.

Other initiatives mentioned in SOPA are the planned alignment of various infrastructures with the Metro Ilocos Masterplan and the promotion of the province as a cultural conservation and creative hub.

“Genuine resilience ultimately depends on people. We must foster the networks of friendship and family that hold our community together, develop the social capital that will leverage early recovery and find our leaders capable of overcoming these crises. Kabaelan tayo!”, Governor Marcos said.

A former representative of the second district of Ilocos Norte in the Philippine House of Representatives from 1998 to 2007, Marcos’ first sworn-in as Governor was on June 30, 2010. She reported that crises on security, health and economy welcomed her during her first 100 days in office.

In her first ever SOPA on June 29, 2011, she tried to combat the rising unemployment and pledged to help fellow Ilocanos on how to “INvest, INnovate and INspire”.

With the success of her three IN pillars, several achievements were reported during her second SOPA on July 9, 2012, with an economic “mini-boom” due to tourism and rising number of investments.

As her year of action, Governor Marcos focused on developing the provincial government’s achievements in service delivery and employment by launching “Namnamaenyo, Itultuloy ko ti Asikaso ken Ad-adu a Trabaho para ken Ilocano” through her SOPA 2013 on August 6, 2013.

“For us the objective is simple: as a place for us to live, bring up our children, work and do business, and renew the soul, IN2020, as it is now, Ilocos Norte is the best little province in the country!” Governor Marcos concluded..#