With aggressive programs focusing on poverty alleviation, the province of Ilocos Norte reached the lowest poverty incidence rate in Region 1 at 15% in 2015, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
PSA defines poverty incidence as the proportion of families (or population) with per capita income less than the per capita poverty threshold to the total number of families (or population).
“I am proudest of our poverty reduction program but I will continue to work to improve the lot of the remaining 15% poor,” beamed Governor Imee R. Marcos who welcomed this figure in light of her recent recognition as one of Superbrands Marketing International’s Outstanding Governorship Awardees.
According to PSA, Ilocos Norte has been “consistently included in the least poor cluster of provinces in the first semester of 2012 and 2015” noting that this is attributed to the steady stream of remittances from Ilocanos overseas and aggressive tourism industry fueling the growth of local economy with more investments thereby creating meaningful jobs for the Ilocanos.
In 2010, Governor Marcos’ administration faced the challenges of soaring poverty and unemployment rates in which she employed massive transformation efforts in the province.
One of her programs focusing on poverty reduction is the “Capitol Express” which brings the provincial government’s various programs on agriculture, health, education, jobs and livelihood, among others to all Ilocanos down to the grassroots.
Through efforts like this, Ilocos Norte has also exceeded poverty, employment, education maternal health and reforestation in line with the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations Development Programme, citing the significant decrease of 24% poverty rate in 2010.
Governor Marcos also added that “remittances are stable, real increase in jobs are in tourism, transport and now in the Business Process Outsourcing,” referring to the opening of Expert Global Solutions and Accenture which are eyed to offer more than 6,000 jobs for the Ilocanos.
Describing education as the “traditional pathway out of poverty,” Governor Marcos also noted that the heavy and continuous investment in education in the province is beneficial to the lowering of the overall poverty incidence rate of Ilocos Norte.
With this, more than 3,000 young Ilocanos across the province have availed of the scholarship grants offered by the provincial government.
“Walang maiiwan sa pag-unlad,” vowed Governor Marcos as she doubles her efforts toward the overall development and progress of the province.—(John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO)