By Edison Justin Deus and Ma. Christian A. Ramos, PGIN-CMO
For the third time in a row, Superbrands Marketing International, Inc. (SMI) bestowed the “Most Outstanding Governor” award to Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee R. Marcos for her vision of a livable, sustainable, and resilient province.
The awarding program was held at the Alpha Land Building, Makati City, last November 28.
“Talaga namang tuwang-tuwa ako, at hindi ko inaakalang magiging three-time awardee ako. So first time, tuwang-tuwa ako. Second, big surprise. Ngayon, talagang nasindak ako. Hall of fame na raw ang pangalan, so I’m very thrilled,” Governor Marcos said.
SMI is a global branding and marketing organization which recognizes politicians, professionals, companies, and executives who have significantly contributed good service to the society. Recipients of the said award include governors who enable inclusive growth among their constituents and demonstrate exemplary public service.
Other awardees for the Outstanding Governors category this year include Wilhelmino Alvarado of Bulacan, Faustino Dy of Isabela, Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Emmylou Mendoza of Cotabato, Robert Rodrigueza of Sorsogon, Sharee Tan of Samar, Czarina Umali of Camarines Sur, and Susan Yap of Tarlac.
On the eighth year of the award, SMI President and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Harry Tambuatco remarked: “We are a private firm that does not stand on political issues or positions. We are strictly straight on the nominations of specific people who we believe should be awarded and given importance.”
Paspas Dur-as (“mabilis na progreso”), a tagline of Governor Marcos, is being fulfilled through the provincial vision “Pasingkedan ti Kinatan-ok ni Ilocano!” (Together, we can make Ilocos Norte great again!) which she launched upon taking office back in 2010. The program includes agricultural projects, establishment of infrastructures, employment services, and medical assistance, among others.
Gov. Marcos, known to have been a public servant since her youth through the Kabataang Barangay, continues to empower the province’s youth sector, through the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO: formerly Sirib Express) which eventually formed the Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association (SIKA), a youth volunteer organization that assists the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) in delivering its services.
Also, Task Force Trabaho, an employment campaign initiated through her administration, generated over 50,000 jobs which led Ilocos Norte to achieve the lowest poverty incidence rate (15%) in Region One in 2016.
The governor is also aggressive in attracting investors to set up business ventures in Ilocos Norte, bringing more employment and livelihood opportunities to locals.
The “Paoay Kumakaway” tourism campaign, also an initiative of the governor, and the maiden arrival of Star Cruise’s Superstar Virgo in Currimao Port last March sustained the high rate of tourist arrival, setting 684.06% increase in day visitors from 2012 to 2016. Superstar Virgo will be docking in the province again this December.
Ilocos Norte has surpassed the national growth rate target set at 6.6 % this year and it aims to secure 11% growth rate in 2018 through investments in renewable energy, services, transport, and construction.
The initiatives of the governor led to sustainable and inclusive growth within the different sectors of the province which qualified for SMI’s criteria. She received the same award last 2015 and 2016.
Manifesting her commitment to public service, the governor, who is now on her third and final term, pushes to develop a more “makaay-ayo a pagnaedan, agnanayon a panagdur-as, ken naandor nga ili — Ilocos Norte, Nadayag a Pagnaedan!” (livable, sustainable, and resilient home province — Ilocos Norte, the Home we love), where Ilocanos are convinced that “Ilocos Norte is the very best place to live in, and that they have a future here at home.”
“Time and again, we have proven that the Ilocano is above all naandor (resilient)- not only its leadership, but more importantly, its people.” (Edison Justin Deus and Ma. Christian A. Ramos, PGIN-CMO)