Editorial
Official Transcript of 2012 State of the Province Address of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos

Official Transcript of 2012 State of the Province Address of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos
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Apo Bise Gobernador, dagiti mamaingel nga miyembros iti Junta Probinsiyal:

Appo a mamayor:

Patpatgek a kailian :

Naimbag a malemyo amin a sangapada.

Kasla agnerbyosak, saan a kas itay napalabas a SOPA.

May batikang pulitiko kasi, sinabihan ako nung nakaraang SOPA- walang problema kapag bagong gobernadora ka. Siguradong mahihirapan ka sa umpisa, lahat ng gusto mong gawin, palpak. Kaya ang gagawin mo, sisihin mo lang ng sisihin yung dating administrasyon. Walang problema yun. Basta’t ibintang mo sa nauna sa iyo. Ngayon, ikalawang taon ko na, hindi ko na pwedeng sisihin ang sinuman. Alangan namang sabihin kong kasalanan ni Vice Gob o kasalanan ng board member o kasalanan ng mayor? Wala nang may kasalanan kundi ako kaya medyo kinakabahan ako ngayon.

Completing my second year in office, in fact, things have gotten much, much better. There is no blame saying to make; instead may I begin by thanking you, my civic and political family, for the faith and trust you have given me as your Governor in the last two years.

To realize our vision to be the northern gateway of the country, we have undertaken vast changes in our polity and our countryside, transforming our capital as well as the remotest barangays. We have begun this great enterprise with courage and with verve, unmindful of the dangers we faced, unwavering in your trust in me, your governor. For this, I shall always be grateful.

Mula sa pagbabago ng siyudad ng Laoag, sa bungad ng probinsya sa Badoc, Caraitan, hanggang sa nakabibighaning bayan ng Burgos, tayo’y nagsumikap na magbagong anyo ang Ilocos Norte. Paoay laging kumakaway: mula sa simbahan, hanggang sa Malacañang ti Ammianan, sa lawa at sa buhangin ng desyerto, isinasaayos naming lahat at pinaganda.

Ilang daang milyon na din ang ating ibinuhos upang labanan ang kahirapan: agriing tayon, pukawen ti narigrigat! Iskolarship, school bus, agas, insurance, pagkain, salapi, hanapbuhay todo-buhos para umahon ang ating mga cailian na nilubog ng masamang-palad, ng limot at ng panahon.

At sa lahat nito, sinuportahan ninyo ako ng taus-puso at walang alinlangan. Maraming, maraming salamat! Awan ti imposible, sabi natin nung nakaraang taon. At maski ako, naniniwala na rin!

In the Book of Proverbs there is a warning: “without vision the people will perish.” No awan ti sirmata, awan masakbayan.’ Without vision, but to me, without the people, the vision too shall perish. And in the mound of great plans and grand projects, is the Ilocano everyman somewhere to be found? Not the gifted or the ambitious, but the ordinary citizen- the farmer bemoaning the price of grain, the fresh graduate unable to find work, a harried mother unable to make ends meet? Will this elaborate and grand vision translate into jobs and touch each and every one of their lives?

Makakapagtrabaho ba sila? Makatutulong sa pamilya? Kung hindi ako makaluwas ng bansa, magiging maayos at matiwasay ba ang hanapbuhay? Trabaho, Manang Imee= Trabaho, panindigan ko yan, at bilang gobernador, at ina ng tatlong anak na naguumpisa pa lamang magtrabaho, asahan ninyong mayroong trabaho! Ngem agsagana tayo.

For the first time this year, we tallied our provincial income accounts, an initiative that other provinces are emulating. Previously slow growth rose to 8.4% last year, pushing closer to 12% this year. There is—thanks to you—a “mini-boom” in Ilocos Norte” while the rest of the country struggled last year at 3.4%, and the rest of the world limps at less than 2%. Kayat si Henry Sy, Lucio Co, John Gokongwei, Senator Manny Villar at ang mga bilyonaryo ay nagnenegosyo na dito sa atin ngayon. Mukhang tayong mga G.I. nalang ang natatakot. Tayo na lang na mga GI ang nahuhuli magnegosyo dito sa atin. Apo, kasano tay ngarud nga umasenso?

Our provincial accounts show that while we remain a largely agricultural province, employment in farming has declined substantially, from 2/3 in the 1990’s or in agriculture, it is slightly more than half today. Our average farmer is 56 years old, underlining the exodus of our young people from the farms.

Kas kuna dagiti mannalon, nu agtalon ka, siguraduem nga adut kwartam. Agriculture should be a rich man’s hobby indeed. The volatility of agricultural production is evident from the extreme zigzag of palay and corn prices over the last few years. Mango output has gone down steadily, despite Carding Tolentino’s heroic efforts. Tobacco is once again on the rise, while the prices of garlic, lasuna, tomato and other vegetables confound even the best farm analysts.

So it is simple farmers’ logic that I receive never-ending requests for manok, kalding, burias. Livestock and poultry prices have been far more reliable than crops, although the steady rise in the price of chicken, swine, and goat has been accompanied by a decline in cattle and carabao prices. Following the success of MDG graduate, Tony Alcera of Bomitog, Banna, the province has supported livestock entrepreneurs. With a creative mix of feeds and ube, his pigs have allowed him not only to pay back his loan, but to redeem his land and to buy even more pigs.

Syempre hindi lahat katulad ni Tony, meron ding kumuha sa akin ng biik, at nung naniningil na kami, ang sabi ba naman, nasiraan raw ng bait yung baboy, at bigla na lang tumalon sa bangin. Kung bakit laging nagpapakamatay ang mga baboy ‘pag Pasko? Mass suicide ng biik dispersal o lechon sa Nochebuena, ay apo.

Marami ring kababalaghan sa pangingisda. Isang daan at limampung kilometro ang baybay ng ating probinsya, apat na daan at limampung kilometro ang total waterfront. Bakit pa tayo nagi-import ng isda? Hindi ko maintindihan, kaya’t unti-unting pinararami natin ang marine and inland fisheries, fish sanctuaries, at pamimigay ng sigay, daklis ken iket. Mas lalong hindi ko maintindihan: bakit tayo nagbebenta ng bangus fry sa Pangasinan, na paglaki ay bibilhin natin ang bangus ng pagkamahal-mahal, malamang bochok at double dead pa! Bakit hindi na lang natin i-grow-out yung fry, na maging fingerlings at lumaking bangus at hindi na tayo bibili sa labas? Nakakapanghinayang ang kinikita talaga!

While there is much room to improve, agriculture overall has posted high gains of over 10% in each of the last 2 years. We just won the P4million prize as the top Rice Achiever of the nation, and year after year, Ilocanos are recognized as the country’s best farmers. The question arises, however, ‘have the opportunities abounding in new agriculture benefited the ordinary farmer? Where are those high-value crops we have publicized for years? And when shall we finally make that wholehearted transition from a single planting of rice, to those precious and profitable boutique vegetables, organic fruit and cut flowers. Today, with the NFA, we will continue to support grain, buying yellow corn at P13 above market price, but our priority will emphatically be high-value crops.

Maraming pagkakataon sa bagong pagsasaka- mula sa minamata nating malunggay sa Sarrat, na tinatawag ng hapones na moringa, binebenta ngayon na pampabata o anti-oxidant- tama pala si Lola Sepa ko! Pwedeng magtanim ng saluyot, sari-saring klase ng sili, at pati yung dwendeng talong ng Adams, balusa, ay patok sa restawran at hotel. Ibida natin ang granadilla, ating antigo nating passionfruit, at ang makalumang rimas o breadfruit tulad ng saniata o dragonfruit ngayon. Magtanim ng ballatinaw, katulad ng mga tribu sa Vintar. At kung wala kayong lupang sapat, magsosyo nalang tayo- yung mga lupa sa probinsya na nakatiwangwang, kasabay ng DENR at ng DAR, upahan ng sinumang gustong magtanim. Bibilhin ko na rin ang kakaiba at organic ninyong produkto, kahit maging bagsakan na muna ang Capitolyo.

Our agricultural frontier will undoubtedly be food processing and value adding, as they will open endless opportunity for students and workers: industrial and food technologies, crafts and arts production, microenterprise, bookkeeping, packaging design. Dito sa Paoay at sa Dingras, naimbento yung cornix, ngunit ang yumaman ay taga-Bulacan. Mawawala na rin ba ang longganiza, ang bagnet, ang empanada dahil hindi natin alam ibenta at takot tayong magnegosyo? May pag-asa bang maging national brand ang Banna rice coffee, Pinili garlic chips, bugnay wine at basi, lahat ng Pinakbest ng Ilocos Norte kapag di tayo makikipagsapalaran? Kaya tay amin dagita!

Tourism opens for remote rural communities the prospect of agro-tourism: city slickers will soon learn that “planting rice is never fun” in Solsona and Bacarra, try out Piddig’s historic basi, live the life of a fisherman on the Pagudpud coast and in Paoay Lake. Maraming taga-Maynila na ibig subukan ang buhay sa bukid, bakit hindi magkaisa at magsimula ng barangay homestay? Pero ang panalo talaga ay ang mga tribu ng Nueva Era, Dumalneg at Carasi, na may camping na, trekking, at may ibig pa raw magpakasal na mga banyaga ayon sa ritwal ng katutubo! Apay ngarud awan iti trabaho? Addu ti maubra idiay kataltalunan ken ti gundaway para iti mannalon.

Yun nga lang, dapat handa tayo magbago at matuto, mangutang kung kailangan makapagnegosyo. Kusinero, tagabiyak ng niyog, marketing graduate, bookkeeper. Naghahanap nga kami ng mangingisdang madaldal para siya na lang ang mag-tour guide sa balikbayan. Kaya lang mga mangallap, mag-aral na tayo ng inggles at mandarin! Bantay-kalding, taga-lechon, microbiologist, mananayaw na Isneg at Igorot- basta’t bukas ang loob, bukas ang kaisipan, sana bukas din ang pitaka, marami tayong gagawin!

So the opportunities in agriculture are vast, yet there are dangers ahead. The zanjeras’ dire prediction of 8 months of drought and soil erosion, followed by 2 months of flooding and siltation has come to pass. Ti dannum ti biag. Water will be our frontline for decades to come. How shall we revive our moribund rivers in Laoag and further southeast? Can we re-engineer the ancient catchment systems of Paoay Lake, Danao, Billoca and Quiaoit River? Is there hope for the 5 ruined dams of Madongan, Papas, Cura, Labugaon and Solsona? Can we seriously reforest our mountains eroding heavily into our waterways? Already the provincial government offers jobs for hydraulic engineers and geologists, water technicians, bridge builders, backhoe operators, tree rangers, botanists, gardeners, landscape architects, geo-hazard specialists, and of course, the best of all—the most enlightened zanjeras—young and old who know the water’s course and its true value.

The truth is that there will be ever more disasters, and that disaster management should become everybody’s problem. We can’t lie back and wait for government to do it all, but rather like Ilocano families of old, start building palomar when the weather is still sunny. We must make our communities adaptable, building far from the flood-prone areas shown on our geo-hazard maps, so that they will be able to withstand nature and its unpredictable force. To this end, the Provincial Engineering Office will open a northern sub-office as well as an eastern sub-office, making certain that equipment and men will always be at the ready. We have given 21 boats to our towns for common use. Walang may alam kung kailan tatama ang bagyo, ngunit tayo ay maaring maghanda at kapag handa na, magdasal.

Industry makes up the second sector of our economy, with the smallest share at less than 10% of total output. In the last few years, the industrial decline of the province appeared inevitable and relentless, decreasing in 2008 alone by 6.3%. Today we have turned around local industry’s decline, starting with 9.3% sectoral growth in 2010 and rising through the present.

Utilities head the list, growing by 10% in each of the last two years, despite the unresolved controversies surrounding the Renewable Energy Act and its feed-in tariff. In the meantime, we should already train for the “green jobs” to arise from wind, from solar and hydro power- electrical engineers, turbine operators, solar specialists, hydro mechanics, and transmission and line workers. Agsagana tayo!

Growth in construction restarted by 11.1% in 2010 and is projected to reach16% by the end of this year. 6,000 jobs have been for the past six months alone. And we could have many more jobs if we were better prepared. Nasaan na ang mga karpentero, master karpentero, tubero, mason, welder, arc specialist? Wala nang mahanap na pipe-fitter, o glass-fitters o roofers, mga trabahador na sanay gumamit ng power tools at bihasa sa prefab technologies. Nagagalit tayo kapag ang mga malalaking kontratista ay kumukuha ng trabahador galing sa labas, hanggang dulo ng Pampanga at higit pa. Ngunit kasalanan ba ng kontratista kung kakaunti lamang ang skilled labor dito sa atin? Paano tayo makikinabang sa ating “construction boom” kung hindi naman tayo nagsanay sa mga gawaing kinakailangan? Agsagana tayon!

We have always invested wisely in infrastructure, let us also invest in the Ilocano worker, the human capital of our province. We recently received the PAG-IBIG’s approval to build the first public housing project, Adigi Homes in Baligat, Batac City for government employees. PAG-IBIG contributions, untapped for decades, will also finance a pilot condominium project behind the stadium in Laoag. Sana lahat ng trabahador na gagawa ng project ng mga taga-Capitolyo ay galing sa Ilocos Norte na rin .

Meanwhile, or more accurately mining or quarrying in the province, has been industry’s most spectacular performer, reaching an unparalleled increase of 88.2% in 2010 and through the past 2 years. Let us be candid about this prickly issue: the majority of Ilocanos want the exploration of our natural resources and the progress it promises. Already illegal quarries, with neither safety standards nor environmental safeguards, threaten a number of our barangays. We are better off registering and regulating them, imposing the best technologies for the environment and making sure that the communities benefit together with the mine-operators. Until we are assured that strict regulation can be enforced, ready to punish and even close mining operations if necessary, we will not rush into the exploitation of our God-given resources.

There is virtually no manufacturing in the province today, and this absence of a robust and dynamic industrial sector exposes our economy to the vagaries of external forces. While economic planners in Manila boast of the Philippines’ supremacy in the service sector, I am adamant that we must bring industry to Ilocos Norte. We need industry to provide the backbone of a strong, self-sufficient and much less vulnerable Ilocano economy. Anyone who plans to set up a factory, please come and see me and I will do everything I can to help you.

Another major challenge to our investors lies in the welter of the titles, claims and disputes that is our land ownership system, aggravated by the emotionally inflated prices in our town centers. Last year we launched Task Force Titulo a Natalged to speed up the issuance of titles throughout the province, and to date almost 6000 titles have been issued entirely free of charge. For this, we won the Regala project, 4 million pesos for the full automation of revenue collection, to begin in San Nicolas and Piddig, but we have such a long way to go!

Trabaho? Lahat ng surveyor, geodetic engineer, real estate agent, abogado at paralegal, pati mga taga lagay ng mojon—mojon na hindi lalakad sa gabi, mojon na hindi lalangoy ‘pag araw! Ay, magic mojon, only in Ilocos Norte ngarud!

Our efforts to establish Economic Zones in public buildings such as Takuat in San Nicolas and MMSU in Batac, have attracted investors. We have started work on second green belt in Laoag at the Centennial, Rizal Park and Marcos Stadium area; it will hopefully be a PEZA zone too. Laoag International Airport, finally, after much cajoling is undergoing upgrading, and the Currimao seaport, will soon offer tax holidays and other eco-zone incentives. Nakasagana tayon!

Peace and order is a solid selling point to our investors, a stark contrast 2 years ago when the province had the highest number of unsolved political assassinations in Northern Luzon. Today, with your help, we have reduced crime by almost one-third, and crime solution is among the highest in the entire country. We have successfully used our own provincial administrative powers against private armies and guns-for-hire, an effort the PNP is replicating nationwide. We have the best police force in Region I, a contender for “Best-best in the entire Philippines” and even our Sarrat BPATs have outdone themselves as the “best Rural BPAT in Region I.”

Ngunit ang tanging pinagmamalaki ko ay ang daan-daang pangkaraniwang tao na nagboboluntaryo at nagbibigay sa atin ng ebidensya. Kung dati walang makuhang testigo, lahat tigib ang bibig laban sa malalaking tao, ngayon matapang, walang takot ang testigo at ordinaryong mamamayan. Problema nga, ngayon sumosobra naman ang sumbong, pati asawang nangangaliwa, opisyal na tulog ng tulog, chismis na ito na hindi ko na sana gustong malaman, tinetext pa rin. Huy, maiparit ti tsismosa, mayat ti pulungera!

At habang dumadami ang turista, maaring dumami rin ang tarantado. Kaya nagrerecruit ang pulis, ang Coast Guard, at sundalo. Pero wala naman sa inyong naga-apply. Dumadami ang security agency sana, katulad ng mga janitorial, catering, at laundry na kailangan ng probinsya, kailangan ng Capitolyo. Dapat matuto na tayo ng CCTV, habang binubuo ang electronic surveillance, kukuha rin tayo ng mga trabahador dahil ito ang sistemang ginagaya ng buong Pilipinas. Medico-legal, transcriber, notaryo, pati mga beking nag-oorganize ng mga events. Masayang ibenta sa turista ang street party at events, at kapag magkakilala ang mga tao, kapag magkaibigan ang magkakapitbahay, bumababa pati ang krimen sa barangay. Kaya’t mga pulis, kapit-bisig sa mga beki!

The last and fastest-growing economic sector is the service sector, providing most of the new jobs in Ilocos Norte and the rest of the country. Services account for almost P11.1 billion and are growing briskly at 8.5% yearly. Trade has the largest share, followed by real estate, which is booming at 11%, with shopping mall and housing developers investing heavily in the province. Huwag naming mahuli ang ating local na mga negosyante.

Transport, communications and storage is clearly another boom industry, posting over 20% growth today after years of stagnation. Laging namamangha ang ibang tao sa mga kalye at kalsada ng Ilocos Norte, maganda pa raw kaysa sa EDSA. Ngunit ang reklamo nila, sa dami ng kalsada, wala naman sasakyan! Magsimula na tayo magkaroon ng simple at payak na public transport system. Huwag maalarma ang ating mga tricycle at jeep dahil sa pagkakaisa at pangunawa, makakahanap tayo ng paraan upang magdulot ng serbisyo at magibigay din ng hanapbuhay sa ating pamilya.

Finance and banking has grown modestly but there’s been a recent upsurge in expansion. Private services are up, and government services are way way up, growing 18, 10, now 24% overall, as One Ilocos Norte attempts to transform itself into an enterprising, competitive and modern local government. At ang ating probinsya ay bilyonaryo na: yung nadatnan kung 707 million peso budget ay lampas-lampas na ng 1 billion pesos na provincial income. Bunga ng pagtitipid, masugid na pangongolekta at bagong development sa Tabacalera, Heroes Hall, Badoc Gateway, ang Ilocos Norte ay bilyonaryo at isa sa “Top 10 best provinces of the Philippines”. Maraming salamat sa Local Finance, ang ating assessors, admin at quarry boys!

Ang turismo: nakakabigla ang init ng pagtanggap sa atin ng media, balikbayan, dayo, at mga artistang panay ang shooting sa atin. Nakakabigla rin ang pagdagsa ng mga turista nung Holy Week, naubusan na ng pagkain, tubig at tulugan sa Paoay, sa Burgos at sa Pagudpud. Kung tutuusin kasi, unang hirit pa lang ng “Paoay Kumakaway” at andito na sila- 680,000 ang turistang bumisita sa atin, tuloy-tuloy pati ang booking hanggang ngayon, hanggang Agosto kahit ang lakas ng ulan. Milagrosa talaga! Congratulations sa atin lahat, at umpisa pa lamang ito.

Sana umabot tayo ng 2 million tourists next year. Jackpot tayo dun! Pero kulang pa rin tayo sa serbisyo, restawran, hotel, kusinero, waiter, tagalinis, front desk, chambermaid, geologist sa Culili Point at sa Kapurpurawan, bird biologist, expert ng bonsai, ng bantigue, pati na rin spa therapist, entertainer at nightlife. Ano nga ba yun? Ar-arya lang daw ang gumagala sa gabi dito sa atin at walang gimik—totoo ba yan? Hindi lang ang maganda at batang dalaga ang makikinabang sa turismo, patok din ang nangisit na tsuper ng 4×4, ken ti insarabasab, luto ni Manang Flor.

While medical tourism has become a buzzword, our healthcare leaves much to be desired by balikbayan retirees and locals alike. Our incomplete PhilHealth coverage, inadequate hospitals and the lack of specialist doctors leave room indeed for improvement. So to our medical and dental societies, healthworkers and BHWs, dakayo to namnama mi! Please come and help us.

And onto business processing, or what we know as call centers, which I am convinced to be our next big thing. Metro Ilocos is finally on the shortlist of “Next Wave Cities” endorsed by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines. MMSU’s C4 for English proficiency, the Johnny Moon Creative Festival, our public buildings up for lease, make us a prime outsourcing destination. Soon we will needing workers with high-value skills: animators, graphic artists, game developers, medical transcriptionist, legal transcriptionists, telemarketers, copy writers, software engineers, accountants all keen to be the world’s back-office- nakasagana tayon?

Don’t get me wrong, I will help anyone who travels abroad for work. In fact, we have brought passporting to Laoag many times, and will have issued over 3000 passports by year-end. But the real trouble with dollar remittances is our heavy dependence on them. According to our provincial accounts, 22% of total household income derives, not from anything that we work and earn on here in the province, but from overseas. Each year there are fewer local enterprises generating smaller and smaller share of revenue, rendering the Ilocano household the most dependent on dollar remittances on the entire country. Now, as the US and world economy sputters and fails, how will our families cope with fewer dollars from abroad and barely any jobs at home? For years, we have counted on pauwit, growing dollar-addicted and complacent, now what shall our families do? This is no doomsday scenario, but the harsh reality of our jobless growth.

Matagal na akong nababahala sa walang tigil na pag-alis ng ating mga estudyante at ating mga nanay, upang paunlarin ang negosyo at bayan ng iba. Inaaruga nila ang pamilya at anak ng estranghero, dahil napilitan silang iwanan ang sariling anak. Dahil di naman natin kayang bigyan sila ng sapat na trabaho, mga graduate at kababaihan, ito na ang tinatawag na “social cost of the Ilocano diaspora”: mga drop-out na nagdoDOTA na lamang, mga lalaking puro tambay, karahasan kontra sa kababaihan at bata. Totoong masayang makatanggap ng dolyar, ngunit hindi lang pera ang dapat bilangin, kundi ang epekto sa pamilyang Ilocano na kalakip nito.

Migration has also eroded inclusivity, traditionally equal distribution of wealth, that has characterized Ilocos Norte. We have not only become a rather wealthy province, but one that has become rich with very few poor. An aggressive poverty reduction program to meet the Millennium Development Goals reversed an incipient increase in poverty. National statistics indicate that poverty in Ilocos Norte is at a low 9%, and even by our own provincial index it is at a low 17%. Mga bisita natin, madalas akong tanungin, “Teka nga, saan ba ang squatter area ninyo?” Hindi naman sa wala tayong mahirap, kundi maraming sa ating mahirap ay kahit papaano, may alam sa pagsaka, handang magbanat buto, kinulang lang sa swerte at sa lupain. Kayanin lang natin sana na iahon sila sa kahirapan!

So, we face a double challenge today. Firstly, we stake the pathways out of poverty for the remote and coastal poor for our women and indigenous people. There are Ilocano families ready to break out of poverty, and with new skills, a little capital and all our encouragement, they are succeeding. There are also our graduates, committed and talented, unable to find the jobs they were promised at school. For them, Ilocos Norte must level up to meaningful and sustainable jobs and careers. For both the poor and the educated, we must set forth a blueprint for an economy that is as pro-job as it is pro-poor, as competitive as it is compassionate, as hardworking as it is visionary.

Ibuo natin ngayon ang isang task force—Task Force Trabaho, PESO diyan sa Capitolyo, education, MDG, social work at iba pa. Wag silang manatili sa Capitolyo, kundi lumusong sa mga barangay at tyendaan upang alamin sinu-sino ang talagang naghahanap ng trabaho, sinu-sino ang mga employer na naghahanap ng tauhan, at sinu-sino ang may produktong maibebenta. TESDA, DTI at DOST, lalo na yung mga technical-vocational schools ng INCAT, INAC Pasuquin, MAIS sa Marcos at Bangui, barkadang IGAMA sa Badoc, at lahat ng ating mga high school. Manang Imee=Trabaho, asahan ninyo, paninindigan natin ito! Agsagana tayon!

Sabi sa K-12, karamihan ng Pilipino hindi makakaabot ng kolehiyo. Kayat pagkatapos ng high school, dapat alam na ng ating mga estudyante ang mga trabahong papasukan nila. Mga mahal na guro, tutukan natin ang high school ngayon, na maitaas ang nakalulugmok na NAT scores ng probinsya at ibaba naman ang drop-out rate. Tutal, malaki na ang pinagbago ng elementarya nitong dalawang taon, congratulations pala sa ating lahat. 94% ng bata ay nag-aaral na, 84% nagtatapos ng Grade 6, IRAA Champion tayo ulit, pati mga debaters natin wagi sa San Jose, California, at kahapon panalo na naman ang Samiweng sa Cincinnati world choir.

Sulit naman ang bayad ko sa kuryente ng mga MDG schools- Badoc Central, di kayo agbuteng, saan nga maputulan! Sagot na rin natin ang 17,500 indigent iskolars, pati ang Sirib Buses na maibibigay sa lima pang bayan. Pagtulungan lang natin ang high school, please. Asahan niyong ibibigay ang mga additional titsers, mga upuan, mga i-Hub computers na kailangan ninyo. In Laoag, we will begin to build the “Sirib Mile’ or “S-mile” in order to put together and consolidate the services required by our students—food, transportation and other requirements from INCAT, to INHHS, Centennial, MMSU, DepEd and Divine Word. This would be one coherent Sirib Mile na kapag natapos ang ating mag-aaral sa high school, alam nila na may trabahong pwedeng pagkakitaan, kahit hindi maka-apak ng kolehiyo.

Huli, Uly, hindi kita natiis! Si Ulysees Gaygay, anak ng magsasaka at guro sa Bacarra, nagsulat sa akin, 1.31 ang kanyang grade point average sa MMSU Education, kaya lang, kinapos sa matricula. Ngayon, kung may estudyante na hindi kayang ituloy ang pag-aaral, ngunit astig, maangas ang grado, iskolar ng probinsya kayo. Uly, ikaw na! Sikan!

To our partners in business and our friends at the diplomatic corps and of the Chinese consulate, to both the Philippine and Chinese Chambers of Commerce, to our partners in LINAC and the construction industry, our valued investors in energy, in housing and development, BRAIN restaurants and HARALIN hotels, INTAA travel and the new ILEA retail, we look to you to create the jobs we need. After all, it isn’t government that creates jobs, it’s the private sector. We don’t want just a single public-private project, but we need public-private partnerships for jobs here in Ilocos Norte. Counting on my Provincial Board, we will offer you incentives for onsite, in-plant training: accommodation and training venues at Takuat and Marcos Stadium; fare and meal subsidies for trainees and trainors, and the governor’s permit free of charge. Trust me, Ilocos Norte means business!

May iba naman gustong magumpisa ng negosyo, at talagang dapat samantalahin ang pagkakataon na kumita sa turismo, construction, at iba pa. Si Manang Elia Viloria, matagal nang gumagawa ng Christmas décor ay biglang nakansela ang kanyang kliyente. Ayaw magsara ni Manang Elia at, kahit may anim na pu’t limang taong gulang, buong tapang paring nangutang sa Lakasa Womens’ upang manahi ulit. Ang bituen na binakol na gawa niya ay binebenta ngayon sa Hawaii, sa Hongkong, Canada at Australia, nagbibigay pa siya ng trabaho sa Darupidip, Pasuquin kapag maraming order.

Nakakatuwa rin ang Nagsurut-Tanap Vendors Association, sampung maybahay ng magsasaka na kung anu-ano ang pinasok na nila sa Burgos—pagpapatuyo ng gammet, paggawa ng noodles, pagba- buy and sell—lahat sinubukan na. Ngayon, malaki na ang kinikita nila araw-araw, nakakatawid sila ng gastusin ng pamilya at higit sa lahat, halos bayad na ang utang sa amin. Hindi naman ako naniningil, dahil alam kong siguradong mababayaran ang probinsya. Ang gusto ko nga, mangutang sila ulit, at palakihin ang kanilang negosyo.

Task Force Trabaho will provide job information and assistance to students, to employers and potential entrepreneurs in one office, one website, one bus that will visit your barangay. Tweet hashtag ‘imeetrabaho’, and all of you in twitterdom can start looking for jobs now. With the recent 18% increase in employment, TFT—Task Force Trabaho—commits to generating 5,000 quality jobs in the next year, 20,000 on-the-job, part-time, student and home-based opportunities. Ilocos Norte is open for business, and we are now hiring!

Yes, today the state of our province is better than it has ever been, and we are once again on track for development. Of course, Ilocos Norte has never been about being the biggest province, with the largest land area, or the most massive population. Nor has it ever been the richest or the most developed. We say One Great Ilocos Norte, but we point to Every Great Ilocano, working in the fields and on the coast, in schools and in offices, here and abroad. This is Ilocos Norte’s greatness and true wealth, the Ilocano everyman.

Until we reach each person, and touch his life in some small way, we cannot say that we have really made the difference. Until we are able to give every citizen the opportunity to do great things for himself, for his family and his community, we in government have not yet made a change. Politicians like to say that all politics is local. But I think, even more importantly, all politics is personal. Beneath the political maneuvering, and the grand projects, and all that economics, it is nothing less than the transformation of people’s lives that is the work of governance. All politics must be personal and reach out to the people. As governor, I would not have done my job until I have found you a job, or in some way made the job you already have, and the life that you live, a better one.

For my part, let me tell you one thing—I want this job. Time and again I have said, I am a reluctant politician, and you all know I sat out 2007 unopposed. But I have finally changed my mind, I want this job. I want to be your Governor again. Because this year, from where I’m sitting in the Capitol, things have changed. Now I am sure we can do this. Together. I will certainly be running for re-election next year.

Gusto ba ninyo ng isang pormal, mahinahon, at tahimik na gobernador o gusto na lang ninyo sa akin? Magkakilala na rin tayo, alam ninyong minsa’y di ako nakakapunta sa mga birthday, at kung minsan hindi rin nakakatagal sa mga pyesta, ngunit sigurado naman kayo na andyan ako kapag may nasalanta sa bagyo, kapag itinuro ng sinungaling sakdal, lalu na kapag naubusan ng pangmatrikula ng inyong matalinong anak.

Haan nga nalaka iti dalan nga intay daliasaten ngem makaguyuguy rikna, ken ammuk nga adu pay dagiti naindaklan nga banbanag nga intay maaramid! Agsagana tayo kadagiti ad-adu pay a karit ken sakripisyo a sumangbay kadatayo nga mangted iti pagimbagan ken ballaigi a sangapada! Nakasagana ak ken iti probinsya a tumulong iti panawen ti rigat.

One great Ilocos Norte, for every great Ilocano!

Idi, ita ken ti agnanayon.

Dios ti agngina kadakayo amin.

 

 

*Photo by Ariel Pacheco (PGIN-CMO)

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  • adrian

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  • adrian

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