Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ilocos Norte is least poor province in Region 1

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos during a Capitol Express event in Dingras, Ilocos Norte (PGIN photo)

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

With aggressive programs focusing on poverty alleviation, the province of Ilocos Norte reached the lowest poverty incidence rate in Region 1 at 15% in 2015, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a report.

PSA defines poverty incidence as the proportion of families (or population) with per capita income less than the per capita poverty threshold to the total number of families (or population).

Alejandro Rapacon, PSA-Laoag City officer-in-charge said the latest report could be attributed to dollar remittances sent to families back home by Ilocano overseas workers and immigrants, more local jobs generated by the province’s booming tourism industry and strong political will from government officials to promote investment and job generation here.

“I am proudest of our poverty reduction program but I will continue to work to improve the lot of the remaining 15% poor,” beamed Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos who welcomed this figure in light of her recent recognition as one of Superbrands Marketing Internationals Outstanding Governorship Awardees.

According to PSA, Ilocos Norte has been “consistently included in the least poor cluster of provinces in the first semester of 2012 and 2015.

“The remittances from other countries, more local jobs generated by our booming tourism sector, opening of BPO companies and political will of our elected officials made Ilocos Norte the least poor province in the region,” said Mr. Rapacon. 

In 2010, Ms. Marcosadministration faced the challenges of soaring poverty and unemployment rates in which she employed massive transformation efforts in the province.

On top of her priority development agenda is poverty reduction, which gave birth to “Manang Imee’s Capitol Express”, a one-stop shop outreach program bringing government services closer to home. As part of the scheme, people of Ilocos Norte need not to go to the Provincial Capitol to avail its services but a team from the Capitol offering various programs on agriculture, health, education, jobs and livelihood, among others reach out to all Ilocanos in every municipality or village.

As a result, Ilocos Norte has also exceeded poverty, employment, education maternal health and reforestation in line with the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations Development Programme, citing the significant decrease of 24% poverty rate in 2010.

Describing education as the “traditional pathway out of poverty,” Ms. Marcos also noted that the heavy and continuous investment in education in the province is beneficial to the lowering of the overall poverty incidence rate of Ilocos Norte.

With this, more than 3,000 young Ilocanos across the province have availed of the scholarship grants offered by the provincial government.

Walang maiiwan sa pag-unlad,” vowed Ms. Marcos as she said she is determined to continue the overall development and progress of the province on her third and final term as governor of Ilocos Norte.

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