Imee Marcos shares Ilocos Norte’s strategy in keeping poverty low

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Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos, in an interview, stressed the importance of a needs-based approach in solving unemployment and poverty, making progress and socio-economic development more inclusive.

Kung blanket approach, walang effect ‘yan,” she said, mentioning that local government units (LGU) need to refocus and provide not just a general solution for all; instead, LGUs must give a ‘tailor-fit’ solution based on the needs of their constituents.

She then cited possible projects, such as scholarships for academically excelling students, skills training for those in technical and vocational courses, and cash-for-work summer programs.

According to her, Ilocanos are further ‘classified’ into different groups: the ‘Biblical poor’ are the elderly or differently-abled, unable to work and thus in need of direct medical and financial assistance; ‘breakthrough poor’ are those who are skilled and able-bodied, yet in need of assistance in schooling and training; and the ‘seasonal poor’ are those needing employment for shorter periods of time, such as farmers during the rainy season and after calamities.

With this, Governor Marcos emphasized that in solving poverty, government funds are being wasted if not allocated for the right solutions that are contextualized to communities’ needs.

She also reiterated that LGUs must be proactive and hands-on, saying, “Kailangang gumalaw ang local kasi hindi na kakayanin ng national na puntahan isa-isa yung mga bahay, o bisitahin lahat ng nangangailangan. Kailangang maging aggressive din lahat mula barangay, maging ang Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).

“It takes a village, ika nga. Everybody has to join in the effort,” she stated.

Since 2004, the Philippine Statistics Authority has ranked Ilocos Norte among the top 20 poorest provinces nationwide. When Marcos was elected in 2010, the province’s unemployment rate went down from 37 percent to 4.2 percent.

Today, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, led by Governor Marcos, continues to strengthen its social capital and boost socio-economic growth through different employment and scholarship programs.