Gracing the 52nd Founding Anniversary of “Gotad ad Ifugao” at Ifugao Province last June 20, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos expressed her support for alleviating poverty through a focus on agriculture.
She mentioned challenges in the agriculture sector of Ifugao, pointing out, “We still have failures in irrigation and a lack of research in hybrid rice. The inability to provide farmers more inputs eh medyo kulang pa rin at talagang hirap ang farmers.”
Assuring the province that Ilocos Norte would be there to help, she told them, “I’m convinced that helping each other ̶ not leaving the Cordillera behind, not leaving any Ifuganon behind ̶ I’m certain that we can end poverty in this generation if we really put our minds to it.”
She also said that both provinces have similar problems as two-thirds of Ilocos Norte is in the mountain zone of Cordillera. “I think the most important goal is to lift our people out of poverty in this generation, as soon as possible; certainly, the rural indigenous and remote peoples need to be addressed.”
Through providing quality agricultural infrastructure and increasing off-farm agricultural income for farmers, Governor Marcos believes that such alleviation of poverty could happen in the Solid North, with Ilocanos united.
She added that agro-tourism, with sites such as the Banaue Rice Terraces, could also be a key to addressing poverty and empowering local communities, together with improved affordable healthcare.
“Yung tinatawag natin sa Ilocano na “nagawat” (taghirap), kailangan tugunan din natin yung mga yun. We need to enlist women and the youth to start contributing in commercial activities.”
Noting instances of corruption, she also suggested that the government should directly give to the farmers what they need instead of getting embroiled in scams.
“Medyo radical ‘yung mga ideas natin, but I’m convinced that the hardworking and dedicated Cordillerans can do it,” she added.