Gov. Marcos’ SOPA launches midterm dev’t plan

LAOAG CITY – Governor Imee R. Marcos pledged to strengthen the provincial government of Ilocos Norte’s (PGIN) efforts towards “transformational, jobs-rich growth” and bring the “new development” to all Ilocanos.

“Poverty has indeed fallen,” Gov. Marcos said, pinpointing to the recent plunging 9% poverty rate in Ilocos Norte as compared to 2009’s alarming 24% in her State of the Province Address (SOPA) held at Plaza del Norte Hotel and Convention Center August 6.

“Ilocos Norte is also tagged by the United Nations Development Programme’s Philippines Human Development Report as one of the top provinces to improve quality of life and achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty in 2015,”  Marcos added.

Marcos however admitted that the growth is “not equal” and “has failed to deliver the quality jobs” a number of Ilocanos in far-flung barangays “still direly need.”

“Walang iwanan, ang sigaw natin nung eleksyon; wala rin naman dapat na maiwan sa pag-unlad ng probinsya,” Marcos emphasized as she launched the Poverty Eradication Agenda to top her midterm development plan for Ilocos Norte.

According to her, the Poverty Eradication Agenda is set to “optimize the 4Ps cash transfers from the national government,  provincial MDG educational, health and food distributions, and myriad contributions from local governments, NGO’s and overseas Ilocanos.”

“Together we can transform Ilocos Norte, convert our emerging province into a diversified, developed and gainfully employed economy for the future,” Marcos added, including her jobs agenda thru the “Job Creation Act,” that shall “unleash economic growth in labor-intensive sectors” namely “Agribusiness, Tourism and Manufacture” which she coined as ATM.

“ATM can unlock jobs to bring not mere growth, but genuine, transformational jobs-rich growth,” Marcos said.

Other components of the development plan are the institution of the “New Agribusiness Agenda” geared to set up “value-adding, processing and innovative plants and factories”, the establishment of an “Investment and Trade Promotions Office”, the establishment of Entrepreneurship and Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Initiative “to jumpstart micro, small and medium-scale enterprises to bring jobs to the countryside”, the enactment of “Corporate Social Responsibility Scorecard” to promote responsible investing, the preparation of “TechVoc Roadmap” to prepare students for technical-vocational programs, and the launching of new job-creating programs, Saguip Nars and Trabaho sa Barangay.

Marcos also enjoined private sectors to formally partner with PGIN and other municipalities in a more extensive job-generation thru a formal pledge signing.

“Jobs not only in the wealthy centros, but jobs for far-flung barangays; not jobs only for the well-educated and young, but jobs for the greater number of rural workers; not mere contractual jobs without  security or protection, but jobs that our families can count on for years to come,” Marcos said.#