Gov. Imee’s fourth SOPA urges Ilocanos to “create a future at home”

By Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO

In her bid to push for long-term transformation, Governor Imee R. Marcos launched a new vision, IN2020, which calls for Ilocanos “to create a future at home” and make Ilocos Norte the “best little province in the country” by the year 2020.

Held at the Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center last August 26, 2014, the fifty-minute speech thoroughly explained the achievements of the province for the entire year as well as all the upcoming projects of her administration.

“Ilocos Norte is great again and Ilocanos are greater still,” she added, affirming the success of “Pasingkedan ti Kinatan-ok ni Ilocano” which she launched in 2011, her first year in service.

According to her, the progress in Ilocos Norte can be traced back as early as 2011 with the launching of Tan-ok Festival of festivals which, for the first time, converged all the municipalities and cities in the province. Previously “hollowed-out” and wallowed in a staggering 24% of poverty in 2010, Ilocos Norte is an economically-mobilized and culturally-charged province with the entry of major retail and renewables investments, tri-media production firms, and MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions).

“Napukawen ti kinakurapay—9.9% laengen ti nabati pay,” she said, citing in a visual presentation the abrupt decrease in poverty by 14.1 points since the beginning of her administration. This was achieved earlier than the Millennium Development Goal 2015 deadline set by the United Nations Development Programme. “Everyone who lives in Ilocos Norte is guaranteed the longest lifespan in the Philippines!” she added.

She also lauded the collective efforts to develop the frontline sectors in the province especially health and security. Child mortality as well as death by dengue, rabies and chikungunya was significantly decreased. Crime clearance also stands now at 73% and solution is at its highest peak at 59%, making the province the most peaceful area in Northern Luzon.

Her emphasis on education also championed the lagging National Achievement Test results and the lack of educational materials and facilities back in 2010 with the increase of enrollment which is now at 96.5%, and the decrease in the number of out-of-school youths.

Employment is at hype with Task Force Trabaho, a program she introduced when she pledged to create 20,000 jobs during her SOPA 2012. Today’s forecast stands at 44,609 jobs, doubling the amount she set. Now, Ilocos Norte has the highest employment rate in Region I and even higher than the national average.

In terms of transparency, Governor Marcos also highlighted the province-wide achievement of ISO, citing 9 municipalities ready to follow the lead of Laoag City namely Bacarra, Sarrat, Carasi, Currimao, Dingras, Marcos, Paoay, Pasuquin and San Nicolas.

“Bimmangonen ti Ilocos Norte,” Governor Marcos said, saying afterwards that the recent development in the province is owed not to the government but to “each and every Ilocano who pushed for change”.

(To be continued)