Sorsogon State College, Mayon, Castilla, Sorsogon—The Regional Convergence Initiative (RCI) launched and presented the Convergence Area Development Plan (CADP) for Pili Watershed to the local government unit of Castilla on September 27, 2018 here.

The CADP was developed through a series of consultation meetings, workshops and writeshops with LGU-Castilla, Departments of Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Interior and Local Government (DILG) in 2016 until 2017.

Considering that poverty in rural areas is more felt, the CADP was designed based on the economic, education and health aspects of the residents along the Pili Watershed Area which include barangays Poblacion, Maypangi, La Union, Milagrosa, Libtong, Bagalayag, San Isidro, Monte Carmelo, Canjela, Maracabac, Oras and Dancalan.

According to Castilla Mayor Atty. Joan L. Aquende, the Pili Watershed Area is one of the watershed areas in the Philippines that is considered in critical condition. She is hopeful that through the CADP, opportunities will be brought to her municipality. She added that these convergence, inter-agency, inter-sectoral and inter-community activities will support their livelihood, peace and order and security programs.

Aquende also added that with the involvement and commitment of the local government, more relevant interventions from national agencies will be given to her constituents.

The Department of Agriculture-Bicol distributed a total of Php496,500.00-worth of agricultural machineries and input which include palay seeds, fertilizers, corn seeds, corn sheller, pili and cacao seedlings, assorted vegetable seeds, camote tops and cassava cuttings.

During the presentation and launching, DA-Bicol also distributed information materials.

Atty. Mohamad Fyzee Alim representing Undersecretary Atty. Ranibai D. Dilangalen said that convergence will unite the DA, DAR, DENR and DILG to converge and pool their resources to achieve the common platform of providing wider opportunities to the people of Sorsogon to improve themselves.

Director Rolando R. Castro of DENR-Human Resources Development Service said that it is impossible for an individual institution to respond to the multi-needs of the residents of Sorsogon. Thus, he said that complementary actions of the RCI, NGOs and locals for a balanced utilization of Sorsogon’s natural resources will develop more resilient and self-reliant communities.

Moreover, Bureau of Soils and Water Management OIC-Executive Director Angel C. Enriquez said that the CADP will help her in her advocacy of conserving and preserving production areas especially for rice. She encouraged all the farmers from the different barangays to continue producing food for the Filipinos.

The CADP contains the involvement of the several government agencies mandated to contribute to rural development through the convergence initiative approach. It will support physical infrastructure, capacity building and the LGU’s initiative to promote public-private partnership..

The ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement was done by the regional directors of DENR-5 Atty. Antonio A. Abawag; DA-5 OIC-Regional Technical Director Rodel Tornilla; DAR-5 Engr. Arnel S. Dizon; Mayor Aquende, Dir. Enriquez; Atty. Alim; Dir. Castro; and Sorsogon 1st District Representative Evelyn Escudero.

The one-day activity was also attended by representatives from RCI member-agencies, Sorsogon State College, National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development, farmers, fisherfolks and the different barangays of Castilla.

DA-5 Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations Dr. Edgar Madrid said that truly, convergence will create a positive impact in the lives of many Filipinos.

The implementation of the CADP will start this year until 2022. (jaysonmgonzales with photos by Raymond Adversario)