Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Outstanding Ilocanos for 2019

Most of them come from the private sector and civil society, and four from government service. Six are men, two women, one a volunteer group led by a young woman, and a class of workers.
Different backgrounds, different advocacies, but all exemplifying the great Ilocano spirit. Here are The Ilocos Times Outstanding Ilocanos for 2019, receiving well-deserved recognition as the Ilocos Norte Bicentennial Celebration comes to a close.

Eugenio Angelo Marcos Barba
FOR promoting inclusive growth through nation-building.
A pioneer member of Kabataang Barangay, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba also served as three-term municipal mayor (1992-2001) and senior provincial board member (2001-2010). With a long line of political history, he has proven himself as a committed and competent public servant.
Mr. Barba continues to inspire fellow local government officials to strive even harder, setting past accomplishments as motivations to continue uplifting the lives of Ilocanos. He remains committed to bringing inclusivity in all government programs. A vice governor for the masses, he continues to help in eradicating poverty in the province through pieces of legislation capacitating the poor and underserved sectors.
He has given due priority to the agriculture and the fisheries sector and has committed himself to helping the youth attain holistic development through access to quality education. By supporting the administration of Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos, Mr. Barba has enabled Ilocanos to contribute to the province’s transformation, particularly in the business, agriculture, education, and tourism sectors. He has also lent his full support to groups protecting the environment.

Matthew Joseph Marcos Manotoc
FOR demonstrating his vision for a healthier public and for promoting holistic youth development.
Alongside being the senior board member of the Province of Ilocos Norte, Mr. Manotoc also serves as chairperson of the National Movement of Young Legislators-Ilocos Norte Chapter. An athlete himself, his sports prowess has equipped him with passion to relentlessly promote fitness and wellness for all ages, and sports programs and scholarships for the youth through provincial resolutions and ordinances.
His initiatives include advocating several health campaigns and championing youth welfare. He has been spearheading the installation of three-generational (3G) playground-cum-fitness-parks and sponsored the resolution providing scholarships to young athletes representing the province in big sports tilts.
While he remains determined to create more public recreational spaces and support the youth through continuing partnerships with local volunteer groups, he also strengthened his commitment to providing accurate information to Ilocanos through the “Transparency in Appropriation Ordinance of Ilocos Norte.” Manotoc sustains mutual trust by giving everyone equal access to government transactions, thereby echoing the importance of transparency and accountability.

Maximo D. Cajigal
FOR transforming Badoc to what it is today.
From a crime-prone town to the newest tourist destination, Mr. Cajigal did everything to bring crime volume down in his town: from 117 in 2015 to 56 last year. This eventually paved the way for tourists to flock to the La Virgen Milagrosa chapel and to the beach where the church is located.
On top of this, Mr. Cajigal initiated various infrastructure projects not only for tourism but also for agriculture. He completed 46 major infrastructure projects in his first three years in office. These include farm-to-market and local access roads, child development centers, multipurpose covered halls, and barangay health units.
The new Badoc mayor also prioritized agriculture by helping his town’s farmers through procurement of farm machineries and inputs, and planting materials and high value crop seedlings, which he distributed to them. He also improved the town’s irrigation system and barangay trading centers.

Virgilio M. Calajate
There is no denying that Vergel Calajate is one of the most influential men in the town of Badoc because of his success as their Liga ng mga Barangay president, businessman, civic leader, and, above all, a courageous catalyst of change. He is at the helm of Badoc politics, having a major role in the transformation of the town from a backward-looking, tumultuous municipality to the peaceful and vibrant “Baro a Badoc” that it is today.
His wisdom, experience, and principled leadership example provided compass and inspiration as Badoc made a defining turning point, and began sailing on to the place of distinction and progress it rightfully belongs.
Peace and order, which was given top priority, saw marked improvement. Badoc is no longer known for crimes nor mischief but for faith and piety, heritage and history, and the beauty and splendor of its natural wonders.
Agriculture, health, education, and social services were given due attention in order to empower the Badoqueño. Various sectors were engaged to ensure that development is holistic, responsive, and inclusive.
An ardent devotee of the La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc, he is a key leader of a movement that brought about change not only in personalities, but more on the transformation of principles and values, thereby strengthening the unity of the people, and strengthening their resolve to keep and further elevate the gains of the “Napabaro a Badoc.”
As barangay chairperson, he has set a high bar of success in growing barangay income, having transformed the lives of locals through livelihood initiatives. As a businessman, he has helped spur growth and development in the community by creating jobs and by strengthening the local economy. But it is in being a devoted family man that he takes pride in, as husband, wife and grandfather—of a family that is legendary in their service to the Badoqueño.
The man who helped spark a wave of change. Agent of peace and progress. An outstanding Ilocano truly worthy of esteem and recognition.

Reynaldo E. Andres
FOR effectively communicating technologies and innovations to farmers.
In his writing career that spans three decades, he has written over a thousand science and technology (S&T) articles for various publications and has sown fresh and novel ideas in the minds of his readers, mostly farmers. He has mastered the skill of employing simple and understandable writing that is to-the-point but no less engaging.
In 2013, he received the Professional Media Award (PMA) as the Best Science Journalist in the Philippines, bestowed by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development and the Department of Science and Technology.
Mr. Andres’ winning articles on modern agricultural technologies and innovations were printed in Bannawag and The Ilocos Times where he is a regular contributor. Since May 2009, he has written over 300 S&T articles for Bannawag, a record unsurpassed in the publication’s history.
The chief for Information Services of Mariano Marcos State University, he has served as correspondent of top national newspapers and magazines. His work is syndicated in over 30 regional newspapers across the country. He also has a book on English-Iluko Glossary of Agricultural Terms under his name. In the 1990s, the Ilocano Language Department of the University of Hawaii hired him as part-time editor and translator of its English-Iloko Dictionary project in the Philippines. 

Michelle Dy
FOR being one of the country’s top social media influencers.
From Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Dy started uploading makeup tutorial videos which were shot in her bedroom.  Now, an online sensation, she was one of the first few who understood and explored the new genre of video blogging or vlogging; enabling her to connect with millions of millennial followers and social media users.
She is the first Filipina makeup vlogger to be featured at the YouTube Fan Fest Philippines last May 2018. As a true superstar, she serves as ambassadress and endorser of biggest brands in the country. Dy shares the limelight with friends and fellow Ilocano vloggers— Angel Dei Peralta, James Burn, and Ronan Domingo. The true-blue Ilocana had her share of controversy but was able to surpass them as she found her strength in being promdi.

Modesty M. Alejandro-Leaño
FOR forwarding social welfare, accessible healthcare, and quality medical education.
Dr. Leaño is currently the Department Head of the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMHMC)-Department of Pathology and Laboratories and the Department Chairperson of the Department of Pathology at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU)-College of Medicine.
One of her notable contributions in the improvement of Ilocos Norte’s health sector is the establishment of the Newborn Screening Center Northern Luzon which caters to all newborns in Regions I and II. The National Voluntary Blood Program (NVBSP) of the MMMHMC is also under her supervision.
She has trained at the MMMHMC-Department of Pathology and Laboratories and became a full-fledged fellow in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. While her other colleagues opted to practice in areas outside the province, Dr. Leaño remained dedicated to helping fellow Ilocanos. As one of the few pathologists in Ilocos Norte, she has authored notable medical journals. She hopes to continue training more medical doctors who, like her, will practice in the province.

Eric Herbert T. Chua
FOR developing better services and benchmarking innovations in entrepreneurship.
At a young age, he has become an industry leader, venturing into automotive parts wholesale distribution, retail trade and servicing, and the restaurant industry, among others.
As president of Kookee House Inc., a bakeshop chain founded in 1990, he credits the success of the home-grown brand to loyal Ilocano customers. While some local shops have folded over the years, Kokee House successfully withstood the entry of national competitors in Ilocos Norte. To achieve this, Chua made sure to strike the balance between product consistency and innovation. Demonstrating his effective marketing skills, he is committed to maintain costumer-centered service. Indeed, Kookee House Inc.’s cakes and pastries will remain as staple for it has captured the meticulous taste of Ilocanos.
Mr. Chua currently serves as Director of the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCCI)-Ilocos Norte and is an active member of various business groups.

Movement Against Plastic Pollution (MAPP)-Ilocos Norte
FOR advocating the protection of natural resources through active youth volunteerism.
Founded in 2017 with Patricia “Pating” Dacanay at the helm, the Movement Against Plastic Pollution (MAPP)-Ilocos Norte remains vigilant in raising awareness and educating people regarding the damaging effects of plastic pollution to marine ecosystems. With a large following, MAPP-Ilocos Norte, continues to carry out its advocacy in online platforms by calling out organizations and institutions who violate environmental laws; for instance, activities that involve releasing of balloons.
Composed of students and young professional environmentalists, the group regularly conducts coastal and underwater clean-up activities. It has also collaborated with academic institutions and local government officials in organizing educational discussions such as the “Usapang Dagat: A Marine Conservation Day Camp” last June 2018.

Disaster Workers
FOR helping mitigate the effects of disasters and natural calamities.
Last September 2018, typhoon Mangkhut [Ompong] devastated Ilocos Norte, causing damage in agriculture and infrastructure with an estimated cost of PHP4.4 billion.
Although identified as hardly achievable, the province miraculously recorded a zero-casualty rate. Days before Mangkhut’s expected landfall, disaster workers efficiently coordinated with local government units (LGUs) and concerned agencies in conducting pre-emptive evacuation of residents in high-risk flooding, landslide-prone areas and storm-surge coasts which are the most frequent area of casualties in extreme weather.
Keeping communities safe while leaving their own homes and putting their own lives at risk in times of disaster is the utmost form of sacrifice offered by disaster workers.

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