The Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Region 1 Sec. Hermogenes Esperon reported the key accomplishments of the region during the 7th leg of the Kasama sa Pamana: Regional Pre- State of the Nation Address (Pre-SONA) series last June 15, 2021. The event was held at the Thunderbird Resort, City of San Fernando, La Union, and was streamed live via the RTVM Facebook page. The Pre-SONA series aims to inform the general public across all the regions of the major accomplishments of the President Duterte Administration since 2016 and its ongoing programs for 2021. The series shall culminate with the President’s final SONA on July 26, 2021.

In left photo, CORDS for Region 1 Sec. Esperon (center) diligently answers the query of one of the participants during the Pre-SONA event. Shown on the right photo are the onsite attendees of the event.

Sec. Esperon highlighted the notable achievements in Region 1 along infrastructure, economic, environment, and social development, as well as peace and security. He also reported the strategies on the continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized the importance of the implementation of the strategies laid in the Ilocos Regional Development Plan. He likewise encouraged everyone to strive to achieve more, build resilience and strengthen convergence efforts among line agencies, local government units and private sector. In conclusion, he said that “there are lot of things to be done, but with us working together, we could build a better new normal for our people.”

Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles summarized the major accomplishments of the current administration, as well as the remaining plans for the rest of the term. He highlighted the region’s contributions on the implementation of the National Food Policy being carried out by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger which include the implementation of guidelines that ensure nutrition adequacy and food accessibility and safety. Accomplishments of the President Duterte Administration along the following six clusters:  Economic and Development; Infrastructure; Human Development and Poverty Reduction; Participatory Governance; Security, Peace and Justice; and Climate Change, Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction were also highlighted through video presentations. On the other hand, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General Ramon Cualoping presented Pres. Duterte’s legacy dubbed as “Tapang at Malasakit”, namely:  a drug-free nation; golden age of infrastructure through Build-Build-Build Program; ending communist armed conflict; independent foreign policy; fewer hungry Filipinos, and accessible health services.

Finally, Dr. Rhuel Bobis of the Department of Health-Center for Health Development Region 1 reported the updates on the COVID-19 situation in the region as well as the vaccination roll-out status. Shortly after the reports, an open forum was conducted to address issues and concerns of the participants.

San Fernando City Mayor Herminigildo Gualberto, as the host of the activity, welcomed the participants. The Pre-SONA event was attended by congressmen, local chief executives, representatives from regional line agencies, private sector representatives, youth, business sector, media, and other stakeholders. Also gracing the event were La Union Governor Emmanuel “Pacoy” R. Ortega III and Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis V. Singson.

The event was followed by the Special Kapihan sa Ilocos, with the secretaries and some governors, congressmen, and regional directors serving as panelists while media practitioners asked questions and information on the topics discussed during the Pre-SONA forum.

The Office of the Cabinet Secretary and the Presidential Communications Operations Office through the PIA Regional Office 1 coordinated the Pre-SONA Ilocos leg. The National Economic and Development Authority Regional Office I, as the secretariat of the Regional Development Council I, provided the needed data and other inputs to the activity.