The provincial government of Ilocos Norte will inaugurate the Ilocano Migrants’ Monument today on Airport Avenue, Laoag City, as a tribute to the contribution of Ilocano overseas Filipino workers to socio-economic development in the province.
The inauguration coincides with International Migrants Day, an event declared by the United Nations General Assembly 15 years ago to recognize the efforts and contributions of migrants worldwide.
It also commemorates the international convention on the protection of migrant workers’ and their families’ rights.
Provincial Tourism Officer AianrAee Racquel shared, “It’s our first historic tribute to our OFWs, Ilocanos who are working abroad—who have been abroad for generations.”
Gov. Imee Marcos has said the monument is for returning migrants and others who work hard in other countries just to bring in dollars and remittances to Ilocos Norte.
Ilocano migrants have been assisting the provincial economy since laborers were recruited in the 1900s to work in Hawaii sugar plantations.
Sixty-one percent of Ilocano families receive financial assistance from abroad —the highest percentage worldwide.
“Today, ours is a strong transitional economy, growing rapidly at 16.7 percent… Our human development index remains high. We should recognize also our social capital—the great Ilocano network of families, barangays and communities,” said Marcos in her 2015 State of the Province Address.
While representatives of national agencies working on OFW issues will attend the inauguration, it is the families of these migrants who will be honored.