State of the Province Address 2011

29 June 2011

The Hon. Congressman, my partner, Rudy Fariñas. Vice Consul of the Peoples Republic of China, Hon. Lee Ching Yao.

The boss for this afternoon affair, Apo Bise Gobernador, promotor, dagiti kameng ti Hunta Probinsiyal, madaydayaw a mamayor, opisyales ti munisipio ken barangay, ken ti Laoag City, adu a bisita ken padak nga Ilokano.
Ladies and Gentleman, saan a mailimed nga adu kadakayo ti saan ko a kadua iti politika, sangapulo ket walon a bulan ti napalabas, ngem ita, maymaysa tay’ kas nain-daklan a bagi, nangabak tay amin babaen kadagiti umili ken bukod tayo a partido.

Para kaniak napintas ti napasamak. Dayta ti pudpudno a demokrasya ken naakabigbigan ti maysa nga ilokano, no maminsan, saan nga agkikinnaawatan ngem iti kamaudianan ket agkaykaysa tayo met laeng, kontra kadagiti agpanggep a mangdadael iti Ilocos Norte.

Amid the noise and rancor of public debate, we are reminded that no matter who we are or who we ran with, each of us is part of something greater, something beyond mere party or politics: we are part of the Ilocano family. And like every family, no matter what anger or bitter argument may have ensued over the kitchen table last night, we stand on a new day with the great Ilocano people, bound together here in our home, Ilocos Norte. That makes us the solid north.

Marami sa atin ang nakakaalala na noon simpleng-simple lang ang buhay. Matiyaga ka lang pumunta sa mga ahensya, maghanap ng trabaho sa abroad, malamang makukuha ka. Kundi mo kayang umalis, punta ka na munisipyo o kapitolyo, mag apply ka. Mababa nga ang sahod pero panghabang-buhay naman ang empleyo mo. Mayroon ding umuunlad sa pagsasaka noon,dahil noon matino’t maaasahan ang presyo ng bigas. Ganon noon, simple lang ang buhay nung dekada setenta. Noon yun, ngunit ibang iba na ngayon.

How different things are today, when jobs are scarce everywhere, in our province, in the rural areas, throughout the country and abroad. Ilocos Norte today posts the shocking unemployment rates as high as 37%. Underemployment is even more alarming, plaguing the rural and agricultural sector with over half the population during low, non- harvest seasons. Southern Tagalog and the ramparts of Metro Manila saw unprecedented growth last year, while our provincial growth has been slow, agriculture declining for the past three years, investment barely trickling into our economy.
Bicol, volcano- and typhoon-ridden, today boasts an historic boom, and even Mindanao is moving after decades of war. Here in Ilocos Norte, we instead witness the relentless exodus of talent, and even more problematic, of women compelled to leave their families to care for strangers overseas. While other regions have benefited from hundreds of thousands of jobs from retail and service sectors, call centers and micro-enterprises, Ilocos Norte has been left behind, a stagnant and unchanging backwater. Indeed, ask Ilocano “how are you?” And I am sure his answer will be, “Kastoy latta, apo.”

What does it take for Ilocos Norte to compete with other provinces in the rest of the country? Can we still cut it in the fierce global marketplace? What is the challenge that faces us now that we allow our once-great province to fester and decline, or can we discover a new Ilocano solution for the 21st century? Kastoy kad lattan?

At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in Ilocos Norte, as they did in the 70’s, or will employers simply leave for somewhere else less political, less troublesome? It’s whether talent and industry of the locals and Ilocano will again be recognized and rewarded, without leaving for somewhere far away from their families. It’s whether we can reclaim the leadership that made Ilocos Norte not just a place on a map, small, remote and feudal, but an exemplar of governance and development for an entire country. Isardeng tayon ti ‘kastoy lattan!’

Hindi ganyan ang Ilocano dati, tanyag tayo sa buong mundo na sumusugod sa malalayong lugar, lumulusob sa makabagong gawain ng walang takot o kaba. “The first global citizen,” is the Ilocano, ang manggagawang pandaigdig, yan ang bansag sa Ilocano. Umun-una tayo a kanayon.

Mahirap makahanap ng lugar na walang Ilokano, may Ilocano diaspora sa lahat ng sulok ng daigdig. Alsa-balutan kahit saan, basta’t matirang-matibay, walang sukuan kailanman – yan ang Ilokano! Batang musmos sa baryo nananaginip na, “Saan ako makakaabot paglaki ko?” Maliit at mahirap, matayog na ang pangarap, at malakas ang loob na anumang sakripisyo o pagtitiis and idararanas, sa banding huli matutupad niya ang kanyang pangarap.

Di ba’t laging nagtataka ang ibang tao sa atin? Alam nilang masipag ang Ilocano, matipid, masinop sa pag-aral at sa pagtrabaho. Pero nagtataka sila pano tayo lumuluwas ng bansa na walang kakaba-kaba upang magbanat-buto sa mga banyagang lugar? Mga pioneer ang tawag sa atin! Ilang taong nakalipas, napusuan ng isang batang babae na alamin, hindi lang ang malalayong lugar, kundi pati ang langit at bituing kumukutitap lampas pa ng Torre ng Bacarra. Paano matutuklasan ang ibang mundo, ibang planetang nagtatago sa kalangitan? Yun si Angelita Castro Kelly, kilalang space scientist sa NASA, Aerospace ng America, at nung itinanung kung pano siya nagtagumpay sa makabagong larangan na panay lalaki ang katapat, ang sagot niya’y “Awan ti imposible! Wala namang nagsabi sa akin na hindi pwede.” Iba nga ang Ilocano – at kakaiba rin ang Ilocana!

Buong-loob makipagsapalaran, ang Ilocano ay mausisa sa harap ng problema, kukuririin, kulitin, di susuko hangga’t matuklasan ang solusyon. Minsan hindi katanggap-tanggap ang kanyang naiisip, bago paninindigan pa rin, tigas-ulo hangga’t makumbise ang lahat. May isang batang natuto lumangoy, wala namang dagat naman doon sa Piddig. Tuwing bagyo o baha, nakikita niyang napakahirap ng freestyle na turo ng Amerikano. Naimbento ni Teofilo Ildefonso ang modernong breaststroke, langoy na ginagamit ngayon ng kada lifesaver sa kalamidad. Siya rin ang unang Pilipino na nagwagi ng medalya sa Olympics. Awan ti imposible, Ilocano daytoy!

Can we bring home this restless, resourceful, pioneering spirit to Ilocos Norte? We have what it takes to succeed overseas, but can we make it here in our province? We didn’t become a leading province decades ago because Ilocos was big, or rich, or close to the centers of power and influence. We became a leading province because time and again, Ilocanos led the way, daring to embark on mad and brilliant adventures, pioneering with patience and courage in the face of those who mocked, who insulted, even impoverished him. That is the Ilocano way, and we need to bring it back home to Ilocos Norte.

Dayta ti wagas ni Ilocano. Kasapulan nga iyawid tay manen ti kinna managpartuat. Ken mangiyun-una kadagiti naisangsangayan nga aramid. Awanan amak ken buteng!

Sumikat ang Ilocano dahil kakaiba ang paninindigan – di tayo marunong sumuko, loyalist kahit magkaubusan ng lahi! Ilang dekadang nakalipas, may isang mag-aaral na sumamang nagprotesta sa embahada ng Amerika. Araw-araw nagmamartsa sa ilalim ng init at ulan, kinokondena ang pananatili ng mga base militar ng Amerikano sa Pilipinas. Problema yung tatay ng bata ay mataas na opisyal, negosyador sa pagpapatuloy ng mga military base dito sa atin. Bigla tinawagan nung opisyal ng Pilipinas ng katapat niya sa State Department doon sa US. At nagtaas ng boses iyung Kano, “Awatin mo yang anak mo, o wag na tayong mag-usap!” Sumagot yung opisyal, “Paumanhin nalang, at pasaway talaga yang anak. Kakausaapin ko pero malamang hindi rin ako susundan.”

Pinagalitan ng tatang yung anak,“Nagtangken ti ulom nga ubing! Haan ka maisursuro!’ Sagot ng bata, “Hindi tama na may dayuhan sa ating lupa, kaya ka naging sundalo dib a at lumaban sa hapon, ba?” Nag-isip iyung tatay matapos ang ilang sandali sumagot din, “Teka, Imee, baka tama ka, baka makatulong itong kalokohan mo sa negosasyon ng bansa natin.” Si Apo Presidente Ferdinand Marcos ang tatang ko, at ako yung batang pasaway na yun, natangken ti ulo nga anak ni Apo Lakay, gobernadora ninyo ngayon.

Ilang buwang nakalipas, binago ang bases agreement at naging mas makatarungan para sa atin, may dala pang tulong sa mahihirap. Kung minsan ayos maging pasaway, at tama makinig sa batang natangken ti ulo na!
How do we bring back that rebellious Ilocano spirit? We have declared time and again Pasingkedan ti kinatan-ok ni Ilocano! Let us make the Ilocano great again. Pioneers, revolutionaries, today’s artists, scientists, the rule-breakers, the trouble makers and gamechangers, with them we shall rediscover ti Kinatan-ok ni ilocano. Together let us reinvent Ilocos Norte as the nation’s hub of creativity and innovation. Encourage fearless initiatives and ambitious projects. Let us enable our precursors, our instigators, perhaps some madmen, for they will be the reagents of transformation. And then the North will be the creative hub of the nation, and our province will indeed be great again.

Three pathways to greatness known to every Ilocano pioneer we vow to undertake today. First we shall INnovate to transform our old communities and habits. Second, we will INspire our students and teachers to education. Third, we must INvest decades of saving into growth and a diverse economy. With your help and support, this government is determined to out- innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the competition. Ilocos Norte will be the best place in the country to invest and to do business, emphatically committed to research and development, supplying investors with the highest motivated and best skilled talent, ready to partner with enterprises in growth and development. And this is how we will win the future.

Una, bigyan natin ng suporta ang bawat manggagawa ng agham at mga manlilikha ng sining, ang entrepreneurs at agribusiness, mga nagsusumikap sa turismo, IT, at lahat ng makabagong sector. Madaling alamin aling industriya ang lalaganap sa bagong milenyo, digital at interactive, life sciences at nano-technology, green energy, lahat hinggil sa kalikasan, anumang may kinalaman sa klima at ang pagbabago ng klima. Dito na rin manggagaling ang saganang trabaho para sa kabataan.

Ang totoo, ibang bansa pa ang naunang kumilala sa Ilocano bilang henyo’t manlilikha. Sa NASA, may mahigit walong Ilocano scientist, National Aero Space ng Amerika, pinangungunahan ni Dr. Joey Comiso. Unang sumulong ng adhikaing climate change, dulot ng kanyang pag-aaral ng mga glaciers at yelong natutunaw, research na naging base ni Bise President Al Gore sa kanyang kampanya sa kalikasan. Narito kamakailan si Dr. Comiso, pasimuno ng research hinggil sa satellite remote sensing. Malaking tulong maibibigay sa mangingisda dahil sa mga simpleng retrato agad makikita kung saan marami ang isda. Pati sa magsasaka, hindi na huhulaan ang patubig o yung soil erosion, kundi makikita sa remote sensing 24 hours! Ang maganda, libre pa ang lahat ng datos ng NASA, diskarteng Ilocano talaga!

Maraming nagtatanong kung bakit lahat ng balik-scientist gustong magsiksikan pa rito sa Ilocos? Alam na ata nila na dito ang bagong innovation hub ng Pilipinas. Maski ang ordinaryong luwad ng Pagudpud at Solsona pinag-aaralan ni Dr. Chelo Pascua bilang bagong nanoporous-ceramics. Makalilinis ng tubig inumin ng mga barangay na walang tubig na maaasahan. Secret weapon din natin ang ILLARDEC sa pagsusuri ng mga bagong mais, bawang, dragonfruit at teknolohiya ng pagkain.
Meanwhile, balik-scientists Dr. Blanche and Dr. Capareda seek to exploit our province extended dry season to plant red sorghum, jatropa and other potential biofuels. Ilocos Norte is already known as the home of renewable energy in the country, and the birthplace of windfarming in Southeast Asia. This year 6 more projects have been approved: Energy Development Corporation to generate 86 megawatts for $301 million; Energy Logics in Pasuquin and Burgos to build a major120 megawatt, $318 M. UPC is all set to start with 50 megawatt facility in Balaoi and Caparispisan in Pagudpud. Datayo ti immuna! Haan tay nga agsardeng aginggana a haan mapasamak dagiti arapaap ni Ilocano!

But the transformation wrought by the windmills in our communities is best revealed by people, people like Engr. Julius Orpia, site engineer of Northwind. After getting his engineering degree, he set off to Manila, high hopes but unable to earn a good wage, he returned home frustrated and discouraged. Then he heard of a newfangled wind project, and nothing to lose, Engr. Orpia applied. He got the job in Bangui and today we are proud that an Ilocano engineer runs the first windfarm in Southeast Asia.

For the windfarms and other renewables to bring down our energy bills, we must undertake our own practical research and applications. Today we decide to break our dependence on fossil fuels and within the next few years must generate at least 50% of the energy used in the province from renewable sources. Let us put a hundred electric vehicles on the road, light streets off-grid with solar street lamps, set up cold storage, iceplants, processing with renewables. If we get behind these innovations now, we are investing in tomorrow’s energy. Awan ti imposible, Ilocano tayo!
By September, we shall be the first province with full wireless broadband through ECI of Israel and Singtel of Singapore. Salamat Gen. Dumol. With their P160 million investment, they will lay 300 kilometers of fiber optics for high-speed, robust and competitively-priced Internet access. The province is geared to be a world wifi hotspot, adopting the smart grid system of the US and UK. This will be augmented by satellite links to the mountainous east of Nueva Era and DIngras, at P10 an hour, this is the cheapest Internet surfing rate around!

Ang ating pangarap ay makabitan ang walang-pu’t limang por syento ng probinsya ng pinakamabilis na wifi bago matapos ang taon. Hindi ito para lamang sa mga bagets na mahilig na maglaro ng Internet games, o para sa ating mga cailian na umaasa sa pagiis-Skype sa Hawaii. Ito’y badyang paggising na natin ito sa digital age, kung saan ang magsasaka ay makakapag-download ng tunay na presyo ng tabako, ng bawang, ng bigas, di mababarat ng namamakyaw. Si manang na nagbi-binakol sa Sarrat makakabenta tuwing pyesta sa California, habang ang mga balikbayan at turista makakapag-booking ng Burgos homestay ng mura’t mabilis.

May nakakaalala nung pinagtawanan ang tatay ko sa Maynila nung pinagmalaki niya na magkakaroon ng rural electrification sa bawat barangay. “Naku!” ang kutya nila. “Wala naman refrigerator at telebisyon ang mga taga-baryo!” Ang gulat nila nung nagkakuryente, nagbago ang buhay, at tulad ng sabi ni Apo Presidente Marcos, pilit na nakabili ng ref at telebisyon ang kada barangay. Ganyan din ang Internet – wala pang computer ngayon, pero pagnaka broadband tayo, mabubulabog na natin ang buong mundo sa internet!

Pagpasok ng malalaking call center dito sa atin, at wala akong duda na manyayari ito dahil next-wave location na ang Metro Ilocos, daan-daang trabaho ang ating maibibigay sa mga graduate at estudyante. Ngayon pa lang nag-aaral na ang ating mga English trainors, C3 at C4 sa mga pamantasan. Magsisimula na rin ang technical-vocational na mag-training. Customer service nga lang muna, pero paghandaan na natin ang medical and legal transcription, finance and accounting back office, animation at games, pasukan na natin dahil dyan maganda ang sahod at maraming trabaho.

Sa Hulyo, ipagdiriwang ang Juna Luna/ Johnny Moon creative media festival, kauna-unahan digital fest ng Northern Luzon. Sikat na director, cinematographer, game developer ang magtuturo. Tuloy-tuloy na rin ang dating ng mga nagsho-shooting ng sine at advertisement sa ating probinsya. Kung bigyan natin sila ng magandang insentibo, sigurado na may mga Ilocanong artistahin ang lahi na madi-discover ng showbiz!

Technology provides us today with a level of transparency and accountability never seen before – and the Capitol intends to win the future with real-time document tracking, paperless communications, transactions, bar coded monitoring and other digitized efforts. I am told that this is the first State of the Province report by a governor. We are now live over cable TV and for the first time also podcast live through an Internet feed to all Ilocanos worldwide. To all those watching, please text 09266959326 or email your reactions to sopa_react@ilocosnorte.gov.ph! Let’s pioneer open and responsive governance right now!

In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to the Provincial Board, asking for a modest 5% of our total budget for research and development in GIS and other research agri-fisheries research, material engineering and bio- tech, clean energy, culture and the knowledge-based industries. And I hereby appoint Mayor Joseph de Lara, our own environmental visionary, to lead the Governor’s new Innovation Council. One day soon, everything will again start up north, from Solsona throughout the province, in the new innovation hub of the country.

If INnovation is out first step to winning the future, the second step is surely INspiration through education. My father’s pride in the 60’s, the radical Marcos-type pre-fabricated school building system, is in a sorry state of disrepair and deterioration. The province is set to spend upwards of P50million in emergency schoolbuilding works and new classrooms, counterparting with the Deped, municipalities and NGOs. We will also be paying for the electric bills of our poorest MDG schools, freeing our teachers to do what they do best, teaching our children.

Nung tumakbo ako, magkasama kaming umiikot at nangako na pipilitin kong maging 100% free ang edukasyon, balak kung tuparin iyang pangako.Unahin natin ang MDG at ang pinakamahirap na eskwelahan. Labing- pitong libong (17,000) iskolars ng probinsya ang nabigyan na ng “miscellaneous expenses” noong nagbukas ang eskwela. At sa mga magulang na dumadaing ng plete, pamasahe sa malalayong eskwela, sa hapong ito ibibigay natin ang mga unang Sirib-bus, sa Laoag at sa Badoc, pilot school bus na walang ibang gagawin kundi ihatid at isusundo ang mag-aaral. Nawa’y mabigyan ng siribus lahat ng munisipyo at siyudad sa lalung madaling panahon.Tulad din ng unang i-Hub, narito ngayon, makabagong library at computer center bubuksan natin at sanay ikalat din sa buong probinsya. Awan ti imposible!

Sa hanay ng edukasyon matunog ang pangalan ng MDG iskolar, si Stef Cimatu, Youth Olympics silver medalist ng Pagudpud. Palarong Pambansa champion, national record holder sa javelin nung labing-anim na taon gulang pa lang, ngayon siya na ang unang Sports Scholar ng probinsya sa UP Diliman, at sana tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang straight A average ni Stef. Agbiag ni Stef ken dagiti estudyante nga Ilocano!

Kung mahusay ang ating mag-aaral, magaling din ang ating mga guro. Yun nga lang, taga- London na silang lahat, Loan ditto, Loan doon! Kaya’t tayo’y nagtatag ng Provincial Education Department ng malutas ang problema sa edukasyon, kabalikat lagi ng DepEd. Isasabatas ang Saguip Maestra ng masigurado na ang sweldo ng ating mga guro. May ihihirit ako tungkol sa isang guro, nainip sa walang-katapusang beauty pageant at balikbayan dancing. May ideya siya, gymnastics kaya ang pasukan natin! Walang may alam kung ano iyong gymnastics na pinagsasabi niya, at pinagtawanan siya sa tototo lang. Ngunit hindi nagpaawat ang gurong ito at tuloy-tuloy pa rin nag-ensayo. Laking gulat na lang nating lahat nung nanalo ang Laoag Gymnastics sa Showtime. Agbiag ka, Christian Espiritu, kailanman wag kang magpaawat!

At ganun din ang Samiweng Choir na walang takot na lumaban sa Vietnam. Nandito an gating Champion Chorale Singers.

Marami pang kailangan gawin, pagkat dapat tulungan din ang mga estudyante ng 3rd o 4th year college na matataas ang grade, sayang kundi makapagtapos! Dapat bigyang pansin talaga ang mga gifted kids ng Arts High School at 2 science high chool natin. Dapat pagsumikapan natin ang TESDA, INCAT, INAC, MAIS, STI, Data, Igama at lahat ng pribadong tech- voc, bigyan ng tsansa sapagkat kayo ang pag-asa ng nakakarami.

Wag iwanan sa paksa ng edukasyon na hindi nababangit ang mga nars, teacher, nursing aide, physical therapists, medtech, caregiver di makahanap ng trabaho. Nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa mga bansang kumukuha ng OFW, Tsina, Hapon at Korea. May ibang natulungan nang pumasok sa medical transcription at call centers sa Maynila. Ngunit sa huling banda may ilan pa rin na kailangan mag-retrain. Sa laki ng ginastos na ng pamilya, ito’y dagdag-pasanin. Tutulungan ko kayo, tulad ni Nana Lucing.

Minsa’y napadpad ako sa Bangui sa graduation ng alternative learning, kung saan namukod-tangi si Mrs. Lucia Valdez Raguingan, sesentay otso anyos, honors graduate. Si Nana Lucing ay nahinto pag-aaral niya nung napilitang maghanapbuhay para sa pamilya. Napatapos niya ang kanyang tatlong anak, kayat ngayon siya naman ang nag-aral ng high school. May gusto pang gawin si Nana Lucing, “Pwede bang humingi ng TESDA scholarship?” Ok ngarud, Nana, Marcos pa rin, awan ti imposible!

INspired and INspiring indeed, education must be accompanied by a third pathway: Investment. If we want to produce jobs in Ilocos Norte and not simply send others overseas, let us re-build and build the province. After all, ours was the province that launched the Pan-Philipine Highway, through the Manila North Road, ultimately connecting the entire archipelago, island to island to island. Jobs didn’t just come from laying down pavement, but from farms selling directly to a town market, sari-sari stores opening at the new crossroads. Already with the help of Cong. Rudy Fariñas and Mrs. Imelda Marcos we have paved the balatong road from Laoag-Bacsil to Vintar, the Piddig Road including Sta. Maria plus the Estancia provincial road, Paoay-Balacad, the Ilocos Norte-Apayao approach is looming. The opening of Vintar road which will one day provide access to Surong Valley, Tadao to Saricao, Monte Bridge in Paoay. From a meager P2million allocation last year, we are funding over P100-million-worth of public works through the province and allotments from Senators Marcos, Villar and others. These projects shall be selected solely on the basis of what’s best for our people and our economy – never again for the benefit of politicians or contractors or others claiming to be close to the powers that be!

With the help of the Vice-Governor and the Provincial Board, we now have an aggressive Annual Investment Plan, seeking investors to restore the Currimao Seaport and the Laoag International Airport to a whole new international level. We have also restored public buildings and the Capitol is our statement that the province is back in business! If the Supreme Court remains unable to rehabilitate the Marcos Hall of Justice, we will start work on our own slowly but addiciously to provide the judiciary and prosecution with a workplace that befits their difficult task.

A side note to INEC. Let us give Sitio Bucarot in Adams power this year please. Let us be the first electric cooperative to complete 100 percent electrification. Go Adams!

As we INvest in infrastrucure, so too must we INvest in business. The province’s mission to spearhead new agriculture won Ilocos Norte the grand slam of Presidential Agriculture awards: agbiag ni Prescillano Tabios, Rogelio Ceredon kenni Nana Edita “Dragon Fruit” Dacuycuy ! With our agri-businessmen and women, we now have “Pinakbest”, our showcase of the best products of Ilocos Norte launched at the Philippine Food Expo, Baguio’s World Food Fair and the North Expressway’s “Tara na sa Norte.” We have set the goal of doubling our provincial exports by 2013. Already Cormel liquors are on the shelves of the Seafood Palace in California, Namnama chichacorn and bugnay wine are now distributed nationwide. Also we were featured last February in the International Time Magazine, dios ti agngina, Hans Villarica ti Banna!

With the stoppage of China and Taiwan flights, the truth is, tourism suffered last year. But Air Macau has restarted international flights. Truly, God works in mysterious ways, for the loss of profitable international flights has been a wake-up call for the province. With the Palafox masterplan, we take a hard-headed look at the old casino-dependent model, and for the first time, develop a multi-faceted, family-driven tourism of sand and wind sports adventure, heritage and gastro-tourism. Today we seek to provide investors and tourists with the unique Ilocano lifestyle, reengineering the Museo Iloco as a food and retail outlet, rebranding the convention center as Plaza del Norte, soon to be the best meeting facility north of Subic and Baguio. Paoay kumakaway, to date Paoay Lake has been turned-over to the province and will be co-developed with the Environmental Department. Malacañang ti Amianan is also backed in the hands of the province. Through our promotions and marketing events we have had a bumper summer, domestic boom, hotels seeing as much as a 300% increase in occupancy well into June. Our new sisterhood agreements with the premier provinces of Cebu and CamSur should strengthen this marketing effort.

Isang hirit nalang tungkol sa munting barangay na may sariling turismo. Iyung barangay kapitan, kasi doon walang maubos na maisip kung paano tutulungan ang kanyang mga kabarangay, wala kasing lupa na maayos na masakahan sa mga bulubundukin. Nagplano siya ng kubo-kubong piknikan, dinayo ng mga kalapit. Pumatok! Nagbenta pa ang kababaihan ng pagkain. Ayos din! Pero kulang pa ring ang kita ng barangay. Wala nang maisip si Kap, hanggang nadining niya na may nauusong zipline. Takbo siya kay Mayor Carly Abadilla, na imbes na pagtawanan ang plano niya, tinulungan pa siya magpatayo ng “home-made zipline.” Noong una, di tuloy-tuloy ang takbo sabi nila, ngunit pagkatapos ng ilang subok, inanyayahan ni Kap. Adonis Manuel ang mga kaibigan sa unang zipline ng Ilocos Norte. Agbiag ti Barangay Caribquib, Banna ken ti turismo iti barangay!

Nagpupundar tayo sa kalsada, sa bagong negosyo, dapat din tayo mag- INvest sa tao. Tulad ng balikbayan at OFW na bumubuhay sa ating ekonomiya. Noong nagkagulo sa Middle East, sa North Africa, pinangunahan ng probinsya ang pagsagip sa ating mga cailian. Tuloy-tuloy ang ating pagtulong sa kanila, sa training bilang skilled worker sa hotel at restaurant, service and retail, at iba pang trabaho na indemand. Balang araw, sana’y puro skilled work na ang gagawing ng OFW natin, nang di na manganib ang ating kababaihan.

Ito rin ang sabi ng Project OFs- RED, pilot kasi tayo ng United Nations at Western Union. Ibubuo natin ang kauna-unahang counterparting scheme ng OFW at ng probinsya “piso ko, sa piso mo.” Ilulunsad rin ang Lakasa, isang project ng kababaihan para sa kapwa babae, pamana ng salapi’t dunong ng ating matitinik na businesswoman, bangkera, doktora, at propesyonal.

Ang pagINvest sa tao ay hindi nagtatapos sa mga nag-aabroad, kundi sakop rin ang pag-alaga ng mahina’t may-sakit. May makabagong Provincial Health Investment Plan na tayo. Kasama rito ay ang inaasahang South District Hospital sa Pinili o Badoc, equipment at gamit na kulang-kulang sa mga ospital, pati ang Mothering Centers ng nanay at baby sa ilalim ng MDG. Samantala, ang ating masisipag na BHWs ay inisponsoran ng Unilab Corporation ang kanilang training. Tag-ulan na, kayat problemado tayo muli sa dengueng natuklasan sa San Marcelino, Dingras. Katapat nito ang Anti-Dengue Task Force ng probinsya. Sana’y mabuo natin sa lalung madaling panahon ang Solid Waste at water management plan ng probinsya.

At pinakahihintay ng lahat, maibibigay na rin ang PhilHealth cards ninyo! Matapos ang madugong pagsisiyasat ng namanang utang raw ng probinsya, marerehistro na ang mga dating opisyales, tanod at BHW. Sulit din naman ang paghihintay, pagka’t madadagdagan ng mahigit na disisais na libong 16,000 MDG indigents ang Philhealth natin.
Marami pang dapat gawin, at ang ating Provincial Hospital unti-unting nagbabago, mula sa new wing hanggang sa ating mga doctor. Pati na din ang Laoag Hospital, malapit na. Wag mag-alala, kayang kaya tayo!

National corporations have been the first to note that One Ilocos Norte is abuzz. Leading the way, Robinsons is developing Phase 3 of their housing offerings. After false starts and political intrusions, Puregold is finally building in the heart of Laoag. We have SM group’s commitment to invest in 2 grocery sites, and shortly we hope to have an SM mall in Ilocos Norte. Meanwhile, Camellia Homes, buoyed by strong opening sales from a “huge pent-up market,” is committed to develop more sites and malls shortly. Duty Free Philippines just opened last week at the airport also. We believe that there is no better endorsement for local government than private INvestment.

Still, problems remain, for not only is land hideously expensive in our town centers, but our failure to adequately title property poses a serious deterrent to growth. Even land that has belonged to the province for decades, including the hectare lot of the Capitol remains untitled until today. But with Executive Order 42-11, we launch “Task Force Titulo a Natalged,” a provincial titling program to begin in Pagudpud. Without infallible title, our beachfronts and scenic zones will remain idle and vulnerable to those who arrogate property for themselves flagrantly against the law.

The rule of law has been violated time and again in this province. As we sit here today, we are also mindful of friends, family, fellow public servants who are no longer with us this year. Felled by assassins’ bullets, they bear sad proof of the political assassinations rampant in our region. Until we show a marked improvement in peace and security, no matter what efforts the government may make, businesses will not continue to invest. PD Chan, Capt. Piso, Vice Mayor Tom Torralba of Badoc, kayo na lang ang pag-asa. We have a long way to go, with countless illegal firearms, inadequate policing, and a prosecution undergoing public scrutiny. The Anti-PAG has been struggling. But as citizens let us take responsibility and determine at last once and for all to end the violence in our generation.

Hinihiling ko ang tulong ninyo, pagkat sa kabila ng marami at magandang pangarap para sa ating probinsya’y wala naman akong magagawang mag-isa. Nagpapasalamat ako ako na inihalal ninyo ako bilang gobernadora, at sinusuportahan sa bawat hakbang nitong makasaysayang taon.

Magkapit-bisig tayong muli na maihatid ang Ilocos Norte sa bagong milenyo, na walang barangay na maiiwan at wala ring mahirap o may sakit na makakalimutan. Magkaakbay, dalhin natin ang Ilocano sa kinabukasan, para sa ating anak at pamilya – sa INobasyon, INspirasyon, Investment. Makikilala muli bilang malikhain at dakila ang Ilocos Norte. Isa tayong munting probinsya ngunit matayog ang ating mga pangarap.

One great year, one great Ilocos Norte!

Ti Ilocano ket naanus ken nagaget. Ti kinalaingna ket mabigbig iti sangalubungan. Dumtengen ti panawen a haan tayo makuntento iti ‘kastoy lattan.’ Awan ti imposible!

Mamatiak a ti Ilocos Norte ket lugar dagiti managpartuat,umun-una kadagiti naisangsangayan nga aramid. Awanan amak ken buteng. Panawenen tapnu intay pabaruen ti aramid ken panunot tayo.

One Great Ilocos Norte!

Dios ti agngina. Dios ti mannarabay iti ayayaten tayo a probinsiya ti Ilocos Norte.

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