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The Regional Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (RCI-SRD) recently led the launching of Central Antique Convergence Area (CACA), a collaboration of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) at the municipality of Valderrama Covered Gym.

The five municipalities under the convergence initiative are from Central Antique including Barbaza, Bugasong, Laua-an, Patnongon, and Valderrama.

"May our plans and efforts be blessed by the divine providence in making this convergence a haven of peace and progress," said DENR Region 6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr. who represented Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

In her message, Antique Representative and former Senator Loren B. Legardasaid:“This convergence activity should make agencies work together towards a complementation of efforts for the progress of one Antique.”

Legarda alsohighlighted the management of watershed through rehabilitation programs like agro-forestry and reforestration, protection of the ecosystem, especially the protected areas in the province, and resource development through sustaining propagation of high value and good quality of indigenous and fruit-bearing trees.

Five major watersheds which provide food and other resources to the provinceare located in central Antique including Dalanas River in Barbaza, Paliwan River covering Laua-an and Bugasong, Cangaranan River in Valderrama and Ypayo and Carit-an Rivers in Patnongon. However, the rivers are vulnerable to extensive flooding, landslide and soil erosion which need to be addressed to ensure resiliency of local government units (LGU)particularly those in the purok level.

Legarda encouraged her constituents and local leaders to never allow illegal logging in the province because this degrades the soil. She added that pursuing environment-friendly livelihood enterprises and building farm to market roads will improve the quality of life of the people in the areas.

On the other hand, Antique Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao proudly announced that with the convergence area development, the province of Antique will be the “rising star of WesternVisayas.”

Valderrama Municipal Mayor Mary Joyce M. Roquero in her message said support for local products will improve livelihood and spur economic growth in the municipality adding that the province of Antique is “where the mountains meet the sky.”It has a total land area of 252, 200 hectares of which 47.04 percent or 118, 634 hectares are classified as forestland and 52.96 percent or 133, 566 hectares are alienable and disposable lands.

The mayor added that Php10 M worth of eNGP projects were issued to the different people's organizations as payment for the establishment ofnew plantations for 2019.