Having withstood one of the hardest periods in the history of the province, Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc looked to assure the Ilokano community of his government’s thrust toward rebuilding a safer, stronger, and more prosperous province during his first State of the Province Address (SOPA) yesterday.
Speaking to a crowd of some 150 provincial officials, local chief executives, and members of the health, agriculture, business, academic, and youth communities, Gov. Marcos Manotocs’s speech focused on his administration’s achievements and plans to “build back better.”
“I believe our province has fared better than most. First and foremost, early emergency measures were implemented to protect public health, such as securing our borders while still ensuring trade and cargo continued.
We invested heavily in our COVID [-19] capacities and resources. We launched a myriad of financial assistance and economic stimulus programs to support and create livelihood for our people, ” Gov. Marcos Manotoc conveyed.
“Now, we are more knowledgeable and more equipped to manage this pandemic, and we will continue to build back better.
We have focused on making sure that all Ilokanos are safe and can provide for their families. Our efforts have led to a province that is safe and strong amidst disasters and a Provincial Government that is swift in addressing the needs of our people, ” he added.
He highlighted his plans for an improved health system through streamlined health services and funding of COVID-19 support programs; sustained agriculture development through shifting to more profitable crops and level-up mechanization; a reshaped economy through preservation and creation of businesses, jobs, and livelihoods; trusted tourism through site promotions and development; and revitalized education through scholarship programs and adoption of localized education policy for the resumption of face-to-face classes.
The speech also featured some beneficiaries of the Provincial Government’s programs, namely, an African Swine Flu-stricken hog farmer who re-ventured into livestock raising, an ex-Overseas Filipino Worker who is now an entrepreneur, a Sagip Nurse beneficiary who now serves at a correctional facility, and a travel agent who has reclaimed his job, among thousands of others.
“In Ilocos Norte, no matter the crisis, we have always survived, and ultimately, we have prevailed. We have proven that the resiliency of Ilocos Norte is not only in its leaders, but our true resiliency is in our people. We have seen that, regardless of the calamity, we stand tough and we stand together. The Ilokano spirit always prevails.
In the years to come, we shall rebuild a safer, stronger, and more prosperous province: a province that illuminates the young, equips the farmer, and empowers the small business owner. A province proud of its past yet fully committed to its future,” the Governor said.
Amidst the threat of COVID-19, the Ilokano community witnessed Gov. Marcos Manotoc’s SOPA through a webcast on Facebook and satellite viewing stations across the province set-up by local government units.－Edison Justin B. Deus, PGIN-CMO