Paying tribute to the contribution of Ilocano Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to the socio-economic development in the province, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) will inaugurate the Ilocano Migrant’s Monument this December 18 on the Airport Avenue, Laoag City.
The inauguration will co-occur with International Migrants Day, an event declared by the United Nations General Assembly fifteen years ago to recognize the efforts and contributions of migrants worldwide.
It also commemorates the international convention on the protection of migrant workers’ and their families’ rights.
Provincial Tourism Officer Mr. Aianree Racquel shared, “It’s our first historic tribute to our OFWs, Ilocanos who are working abroad–who have been abroad for generations.”
Governor Imee Marcos had mentioned the monument in a previous speech as being for returning migrants, OFWs, and other immigrants who work hard in other countries just to bring in dollars and remittances to Ilocos Norte.
Ilocano migrants have been assisting the provincial economy since laborers were recruited in the 1900s to work Hawaii sugar plantations.
At present, 61% of Ilocano families receive financial assistance from abroad, which is the highest percentage worldwide.
“Today, ours is a strong transitional economy, growing rapidly at 16.7%… Our human development index remains high. We should recognize also our social capital – the great Ilocano network of families, barangays and communities,” said Marcos in her 2015 State of the Province Address.
While representatives of national agencies concerned with OFWs will be attending the inauguration, Racquel said that “more importantly, we will be honoring families of OFWs as well.”
Providing assistance to OFWs is a top concern for the governor, who earlier this year implemented more loaning services for OFWs and a “One Stop Shop” by Kabayanihan in Laoag City for their certification.