Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos was awarded a Medal of Distinction for significant achievements in public service by the Golden Globe Annual Awards Council (GGAAC) last March 31 at the Manila Hotel Grand Centennial Ballroom.
GGAAC is an award-giving body recognizing Filipino achievers in fields ranging from business excellence to outstanding leadership. Their stories are then shared in a bid to inspire others to do the same.
The Golden Globe Annual Awards is a joint undertaking of the GGAC, National Data Research Examiner and Marketing Services, Inc., non-profit youth support organization SINAG (Sining at Gabay ng Buhay) Foundation, Inc., and SINAG News Magazine.
Governor Marcos likened governance to being a businessperson or master developer, saying, “kinakailangang maging malikhain at magkaroon ng pangarap kung ano ba dapat ang itsura ng probinsiya.
“Migration had become desperate, not a choice or a selection, not a proposal… It became the only option, no choice but to leave your families,” she described as the main challenge of Ilocos Norte.
Thus her administration set off a battle against complacency in Ilocos Norte, intensifying livelihood and educational opportunities for Ilocano productivity and inclusive growth.
This also involved tapping the youth sector through flagship program Sirib Express, which offered more scholarships and conducted leadership camps, thus establishing the Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association (SIKA), a youth volunteer organization that assists the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) in delivering its services.
Sirib Express was awarded among 10 Galing Pook Outstanding Local Governance Programs in 2015, and soon evolved into the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO).
Through an aggressive employment campaign, Task Force Trabaho, Governor Marcos generated over 50,000 jobs; provincial unemployment fell to 4.2%; and by 2016 Ilocos Norte had the lowest poverty incidence rate (15%) in Region One.
An intense tourism campaign also created 20,789 within the industry, exacting a 684.06% increase in day visitors from 2012 to 2016.
“Today, 2.2 million tourists come and visit the province,” she shared, “we see the biggest growth area in the cruise ship and other tourism sectors that are very dynamic.”
These initiatives, combined with the entrance of major investments, empowerment of poor or marginalized communities, and developments for agriculture and fisheries in Ilocos Norte, have transformed the province with 12% year-on-year exponential growth.
“Indeed we will continue with this growth, which is not only posting good numbers, but more importantly, changing lives; affecting each and every family so that finally, migration is merely a choice, merely another alternative,” she said, “because there are good, well-paying, and reliable jobs at home.”
Now at her third and final term, Governor Marcos has made it her end vision to convince all Ilocanos that “the very best place is Ilocos Note, for them, for their families. There is a future here at home, in Ilocos, and in the Philippines.”
In the past, Governor Marcos had been recognized twice by Superbrands Marketing Inc., as Most Outstanding Governor in the Philippines (2015 and 2016). She received a similar distinction from the DILG last year. (Ma. Christian A. Ramos and Mizpah Grace G. Castro)