Central Antique Convergence Area launched

The Central Antique Convergence Area (CACA) was launched with the goal to contribute more to the inclusive growth and poverty reduction in central Antique.

The launching was held on Nov 8, 2019 at the Covered Gym of the municipality of Valderrama.

The activity was spearheaded by the local government units (LGUs) of Central Antique area, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Interior and Local Government Unit with support from provincial and regional counterparts.

During the launching, various national government agencies and provincial government projects and services were given to the beneficiaries from the five municipalities of Barbaza, Bugasong, Laua-an, Patnongon and Valderrama.

In her speech, Antique lone district Rep. Loren B. Legarda the importance of convergence for fisherfolks, farmers, academe, local government, senior citizens and millennials as it would provide sustainable rural development.

“We need the CACA because of the irony that the province of Antique is rich with natural resources yet remains to be the poorest province in Panay with poverty incidence of 18.3% or almost one fourth of our population,” Legarda said.

Legarda added that the CACA would not only be able to confer, improve, protect and rehabilitate but also provide environmental friendly livelihood to the residents.

Undersecretary Virginia N. Orogo attended the event in behalf of DILG Sec. John R. Castriciones.

Other officials who attended the event were DA Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña, DENR Regional Executive Director, Francisco Milla Jr., DILG Regional Director Ariel Iglesia. DA Regional Director Remelyn Recoter and DAR Assistant Regional Director Lucrecia Taberna.

The Central Antique Convergence Area Development Plan (CADP) CY 2020-2024, under the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development, as a strategy, can contribute more to the inclusive growth and poverty reduction through the complementation of efforts for the development sectors by implementing conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources, environment-friendly enterprises and livelihood enterprises.

The municipalities of Barbaza, Bugasong, Laua-an, Patnongon and Valderrama located in the Central part of the province of Antique are among the five municipalities of who are under the Convergence Initiative.

“As you see long before this was launched, we already prepare for this and this should not be failed and we do not allow this to fail because the CACA can be the example for other areas in the country”, Legarda said.

On the other hand, implementing agencies (DA-DAR-DENR-DILG) assured their full support in attaining sustainable rural development in the province.

DA USec. Evelyn G. Laviña encouraged everyone to help the farmers and fisherfolks achieve masaganang ani at mataas na kita through the implementation of the programs of the CACA in the next five years.

“With this convergence we are helping one another by knowing each other’s weaknesses and strengths, pooling resources and working synergy, we will truly achieve masaganang ani at mataas na kita”, she said.

Usec. Orogo said that in order to achieve a certain level of development in the countryside, the DA-DENR-DILG-DAR should help one another and agree to some terms to resolve issues in terms of laws and policies, that somehow contribute to slow development of every rural area. Furthermore, she also added that the Convergence strategy will help fast track the development of the 5 municipalities.

“Let us make your town the model of sustainable rural development and engage in entrepreneurship and industrial to our local community based on agriculture”, she said.

Moreover, DENR Regional Executive Director, Francisco Milla Jr., highlighted the Farm to market Road projects that will be implemented from ridge to reef to develop the country side and provide an easy transport of farm produce and develop the eco-tourism potentials of the municipalities.

Likewise, DILG Regional Director urged everyone to talk more often and converge initiatives in local economic development endeavors for collaboration. He assured that the DILG is always open for discussion and integrations for sustainable rural development in the local level.

“DILG has the steadfast commitment in our convergence efforts. Let us continue to work together in ensuring the right values of investment opportunities in our vibrant economy. Let’s do it for our children, families and communities,” he said.

Among other activities during the launching is the Ribbon Cutting and Viewing of Exhibits of the products in the five towns in Central Antique area, Ceremonial distribution of projects (DA-DAR-DENR-DILG), presentation and turn-over of the of the CADP and signing of Memorandum of Agreement between the implementing agencies.