Ilocos Norte is now billionaire–Gov.Imee

LAOAG CITY, July 11  — Ilocos Norte made it to the list of 10 Best Provinces in the Philippines through its local governance and business development plan.
Gov. Imee Marcos disclosed Ilocos Norte’s impressive rank when she delivered  her second State of the Province (SOPA) address held Monday at Plaza del Norte, Brgy. Balacad, this city.

“The province’s growth rate improved from 8.4 percent last year to 12 percent this year,” she said. The province’s revenue was more than P1 billion this year, or up from the province’s previous income level of P707 million in 2010.

Marcos attributed this to efficient collection and belt-tightening measures, and new business investments in the province beginning last year. Among the major sources of income were the La Tabacalera commercial arcade and Badoc gateway tourist center in Badoc town.

Among economic activities that the plan gave way to were leasing public buildings to commercial developers, building of more commercial belts away from the downtown district to schools and to tourist stops. The local government is also opening more doors for business tycoons to pour their investments.

Business being set up are SaveMore and HyperMart stores in Laoag. Camella Homes will also operate in Ilocos next to Robinson’s Homes.

The provincial government has secured the approval of Pag-Ibig to build the first public housing project for government employees. The low-cost housing project “Adigi Homes” will be put up in Batac City. The province will also put up a pilot Condominium Project at the Marcos Stadium in Laoag.

Marcos has urged rural folks to open up their villages to tourists by providing home stays to meet the demands of tourist accommodations during peak summer vacations as nearly 700,000 tourists arrived in Ilocos Norte last summer.

“We were amazed by the attention we got from the media, tourists and even movie outfits. Film directors and their movie stars are coming and going to Ilocos Norte to film their movies,” she said.

Marcos, however, said hotel and resorts were not enough to accommodate all tourists and vacationers that came to visit the province last summer. She is targeting to attract at least 2 million tourists in the coming years. (JCR/VHS-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)