In her SOPA: “ATM can unlock jobs, says Governor Imee”

Gov. Imee SOPA 2013-08PROV’L CAPITOL, Laoag City—Gov. Imee R. Marcos has vowed to strengthen the collective efforts of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte towards “transformational, jobs-rich growth and new development” in this northern Philippines province.

In her recent State of the Province Address (SOPA) held on August 6 at Plaza del Norte, Laoag City, Gov. Marcos delivered an hour-long speech described as a comprehensive report of her administration’s accomplishments during her first term (2010-2012) and her priority agenda for the next three years.

“Poverty has indeed fallen”, she said, citing the current plunging 9% poverty rate in Ilocos Norte as compared to 2009’s alarming 24% based on the National Statistical Coordination Board.

Ilocos Norte is also tagged by the United Nations Development Programme’s Philippines Human Development Report as one of the top provinces which have improved the people’s quality of life as well as one of the few provinces set to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty rates in 2015”, she added.

On the positive economic transition in the province, she admitted that the growth is “not equal” and “has failed to deliver the quality jobs” especially among her constituents in far-flung barangays.

“Walang iwanan, ang sigaw natin noon eleksyon; wala rin naman dapat na maiwan sa pag-unlad ng probinsya,” the governor emphasized as she launched the Poverty Eradication Agenda to top her midterm development plan for Ilocos Norte.

According to her, the Poverty Eradication Agenda program is set to “optimize the 4Ps cash transfers from the national government, provincial MDG educational, health and food distributions, and myriad contributions from local governments, NGO’s and overseas Ilocanos.”

“Together we can transform Ilocos Norte (to have) a diversified, developed and gainfully employed economy for the future,” she said, noting that the “Job Creation Act,” shall unleash economic growth in labor-intensive sectors” namely “Agribusiness, Tourism and Manufacture” which she coined as ATM.

“ATM can unlock jobs to bring not mere growth, but genuine, transformational jobs-rich growth,” she said.

Other components of the development plan are the institution of the “New Agribusiness Agenda” geared to set up “value-adding, processing and innovative plants and factories”, the establishment of an “Investment and Trade Promotions Office”, the establishment of Entrepreneurship and Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Initiative “to jumpstart micro, small and medium-scale enterprises to bring jobs to the countryside”, the enactment of “Corporate Social Responsibility Scorecard” to promote responsible investing, the preparation of “TechVoc Roadmap” to prepare students for technical-vocational programs, and the launching of new job-creating programs, Saguip Nars and Trabaho sa Barangay.

Gov. Marcos also enjoined the private sectors to formally partner with PGIN and other municipalities in a more extensive job-generation thru a formal pledge signing.

“Jobs not only in the wealthy centros, but jobs for far-flung barangays; not jobs only for the well-educated and young, but jobs for the greater number of rural workers; not mere contractual jobs without security or protection, but jobs that our families can count on for years to come,” Gov. Marcos said.

After the SOPA event ended, the initiative towards a province-wide ISO certification was also formally declared as every municipal mayor was given copies of an ISO Quality Management System Manual.

Official record shows that PGIN became the first fully ISO-certified local government unit in the Philippines last February.

“The international certification (ISO) of every municipality and city will be the best proof of the province’s commitment to good governance and development,” Gov. Marcos said.

An erstwhile congresswoman of the province’s 2nd district (1998-2007), Imee assumed as first-term governor on June 30, 2010. During her first 100 days in office, she reported that the province had crisis on security, health and economy. When she delivered her first SOPA on June 29, 2011, she pledged to combat the rising unemployment and to help her province mates on how to “INvest, INnovate and INspire”.

As the said three IN pillars gained success, the governor reported several achievements during her second SOPA on July 9, 2012, specifically economic “mini-boom” such as tourism and rising number of investments.

“Namnamaenyo, Itultuloy ko ti Asikaso ken Ad-adu a Trabaho para ken Ilocano,” Gov. Imee concluded in her SOPA which was applauded 33 times.—(Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO)