Imee Marcos personally thanks OFWs for Ilocos Norte's progress, empathizes with difficulty of distance from homeFeb 27, 2018
Joining the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) community at the 6th Year Anniversary of the New Marcoseños of Hong Kong Worldwide (NewMAHK) last February 25, 2018, Governor Imee R. Marcos took the opportunity to personally thank them for their contributions to the progress and development of Ilocos Norte.
With 61% of families in Ilocos Norte partially or fully dependent on dollar remittances from loved ones working abroad, the province has grown to be one of the richest, most well-developed, and most educated in the country, marked by a high human development index (HDI).
"Dahil sa hirap ng mga OFW, lahat nakakapag-aral; walang sinasabing mga squatter – may sariling mga bahay; at higit sa lahat, nakikita natin na umuunlad sa maliliit na hotel, restaurant, at iba pa dahil sa turismo. Iyan ay dahil lahat sa tinatawag na hirap at pasakit ng ating mga OFW," said Governor Marcos.
"Ang inyong sipag at tiyaga ang nagpapaaral ng ating mga anak, nagpapatayo ng mga bahay, at nagbibigay ng mga maliliit na negosyo," she added, "Bumababa ang ating poverty level, at ang ating job rate, halos wala nang unemployed. Napakaliit na lang yung walang trabaho at underemployed."
She also shared recent developments in tourism, including the yearly average of two million visitors in Ilocos Norte and the regular docking of Star Cruises' luxury ship Superstar Virgo at the Port of Currimao, saying that these have been made possible by OFWs contributing to the local economy for decades.
Furthermore, Governor Marcos highlighted the rapid creation of local jobs, in particular those brought by business process-outsourcing (BPO) companies like Accenture and Alorica.
"Alam natin na ang pag-migrate, ang pag-alis... ay hindi dapat 'kapit sa patalim' kundi choice talaga ng isang pamilya," she said, empathizing with the difficulty of being away from family and having to work from home just to provide more for loved ones.
"Dapat magbigay din nga trabaho sa sariling probinsiya. Iyan talaga ang gusto naming mangyari." She has also been telling potential investors repeatedly, "Help us generate secure, well-paying jobs so that soon, leaving home will simply be another choice."
For years, Governor Marcos' desire has been for stable and well-providing employment to be available in Ilocos Norte as she recognized the social cost of families getting split apart by time and distance as many parents were forced, out of desperation, to work for higher incomes abroad.