Third State of the District Address of Deputy Speaker Loren LegardaDecember 8, 2021
3rd State of the District Address
Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda
Representative of the Lone District of Antique
December 8, 2021
Mayad nga adlaw sa akon mga kasimanwa!
Time flies so fast.
Two years ago, ang ating mga kasimanwa ay naghangad ng panibagong simula. Ngayon, buong pagmamalaki nating masasabi na sa loob ng mahigit dalawang taon, nabigyan natin ng bagong pag-asa ang mga Antiqueño.
When I started my term as your Congresswoman, my goal was for Antique to become inclusively progressive, peaceful and orderly. I envisioned a province that empowers the vulnerable and dispossessed, stands as a responsible steward of our natural resources, and proudly respects its rich historical and cultural heritage that defines its unique identity.
Today, we can say that, together, we have revived the glory of Antique and, in a short span of two years, we have steered our province towards resiliency and sustainability.
Sa gitna ng pandemya na patuloy na sumusubok sa katatagan ng ating probinsya, it is time to look back at what we have achieved within the past year and lay down what needs to be done in the months ahead.
To date, we have a total of 316,711 doses of vaccines allocated to the province, and, as of December 5, 133,754 Antiqueños have received complete vaccination against COVID-19.
We still have a long way to go, but with the Provincial Government, through the Provincial Health Office, the local government units (LGUs), and our close coordination with the Department of Health, we are accelerating our vaccination program. We are hoping for the utmost cooperation of our kasimanwa for us to reach our goal.
Habang patuloy nating tinututukan ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kasimanwa sa banta ng COVID-19, patuloy rin nating sinisiguro na ang bawat Antiqueño ay nakakatanggap ng sapat na assistance mula sa iba’t ibang proyekto ng pamahalaan at hindi na nahahadlangan ang ating pag-kamit ng kaunlaran.
The story of Antique’s road to progress can be vividly seen in the lives of every Antiqueño and communities that were given opportunities, new ventures, and new hope for themselves and for their families.
For every livelihood assistance that we have provided, every pay-out conducted and new projects turned over and inaugurated, we have also given our kasimanwa an opportunity to get out of poverty and aim for a much brighter future for themselves and for the new generations.
The problems of unemployment and lack of livelihood caused by the imposition of lockdowns and community restrictions are among the major problems that need to be addressed urgently. Karamihan sa ating mga kasimanwa ay umaasa lamang sa pang-araw-araw na kita kung kaya, isa o dalawang araw lamang ang mawala, ay apektado na ang gastusin ng pamilya.
Sa pakikipagtulungan natin sa Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), we were able to help almost 61,000 beneficiaries under the DOLE Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) mula 2019 hanggang kasalukuyan.
In addition to this, we have also employed a total of 9,377 interns under the DOLE Government Internship Program (GIP) from 2019 to present.
I supported the partnership of DOLE-Antique Field Office and the DepEd Schools Division of Antique in hiring interns to be deployed as “para teachers” and provide much-needed assistance to learners, enabling them to cope with the new learning system under the new learning modalities.
To further uplift the lives of many Antiqueños, we also ensured that programs from the national government continue to reach the province and benefit our kasimanwa. These are the Barangay Kabuhayan Skills Training Program (BKSTP), Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), and Special Training for Employment Program (STEP), all under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and which have benefitted over 18,000 Antiqueño trainees since 2016.
Napondohan din natin ang pagpapatayo ng TESDA centers sa ating 18 municipalities, maliban pa ito sa ating Provincial TESDA center sa Hamtic. Nakapaglaan na rin tayo ng pondo para sa provision of equipment outlay and operational expenses sa bawat Training Center.
Sa Kongreso naman ay naipasa natin ang HB No. 9887 for the establishment of Antique Provincial TESDA Training and Assessment Center sa Hamtic at ang Pandan TESDA Training and Assessment Center to serve the northern part of the province. Kapag ito ay maisabatas na, masisiguro natin na mapaglalaanan ng sapat na pondo ang ating mga Training and Assessment Centers na magiging kaagapay natin sa pagpapaigting ng ating mga programa sa pagsulong ng kabuhayan at paghasa ng mga kakayanan ng ating mga kasimanwa.
Patuloy din nating sinusuportahan ang ating mga maliliit na negosyo at maging mga kasimanwa nating nagnanais na makapagsimula ng sariling kabuhayan. Sa pamamagitan ng DOLE Pangkabuhayan, we have assisted 4,464 beneficiaries towards financial independence mula 2019 hanggang kasalukuyan.
Among these beneficiaries are members of the San Jose Multipurpose Cooperative, beneficiaries from Barangays Magdalena and Lumpatan in San Remigio, and beneficiaries in Tobias Fornier that include marginalized farmers, fisherfolk, vendors, women, youth, and senior citizens who received capital funds for hog raising, cattle fattening, poultry raising, rice and frozen products retail, and tailoring, among others.
In partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, we were likewise able to provide livelihood opportunities to 67 Associations in Antique. Lubos kong ikinatutuwa na makatanggap ng report o makakita ng Facebook posts kung paano nabago ng mga livelihood projects na ito ang buhay ng ating mga kasimanwa kagaya ng Callan bakeshop sa Sebaste, at ng community stores sa Libertad para sa Simbolo ng Liwanag ng mga Kababaihan Association sa Igcagay at Cubay Progression Women Association.
Also under DSWD SLP Livelihood Assistance Grant, a total of 8,537 beneficiaries were given seed money to start their livelihood projects. Kasama dito si Emeterio Panes, na nakapagsimula ng shoe repair shop mula sa halagang nakuha niya from DSWD-Livelihood Assistance Grants.
Tuloy-tuloy din ang ating distribution ng Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) sa ilalim ng DSWD para sa ating mga kasimanwa na nangangailangan ng financial assistance lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya. Mula 2019 hanggang sa kasalukuyan, tayo ay nakapagtala na ng mahigit 49,000 recipients para sa programang ito. These include assistance given to 95 families that were affected by the 4.8 magnitude earthquake in Brgy. Igmasandig, Valderrama last June 7, pati na rin ang mga empleyado na nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa malaking sunog na nangyari sa Gaisano Mall nitong taon.
Ang ikaayong lawas ng ating mga kasimanwa ay nananatiling prayoridad natin lalo pa’t isa tayo sa mga probinsyang unang nakapagtala ng mas nakakahawang uri ng COVID-19 na Delta variant.
A healthy province is a productive province. In light of our fight against this unprecedented health crisis, we have to bolster the efficiency and competence of the health sector and provide the people with access to health assistance coverage to protect them from prolonged financial hardship.
Our kasimanwa continue to access medical assistance for their hospitalization, laboratory fees, and medicines through the DOH Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients (MAIP) program, and from 2019 to 2021, more than 41,000 patients have already benefitted from the MAIP in the amount of Php 181.72 million.
To serve our kasimanwa in far-flung areas, I funded the construction of 115 Barangay Health Stations (BHS) under the 2019 GAA and, to date, we have turned over 28 BHS to provide them access to immediate health assistance.
In Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital, the construction of the 100-bed additional ward was completed last March, while the repair and renovation of the annex building is on-going. The construction, expansion, upgrade, and renovation of the other eight (8) hospitals in the province are also in progress.
Furthermore, we still have the ongoing expansion, construction, and renovation of 18 RHUs in the municipalities of Anini-y Belison, Barbaza, Culasi, Caluya, Hamtic, Laua-an, Libertad, Pandan, Patnongon, San Jose, San Remigio, Sibalom, Sebaste, Tibiao, Tobias Fornier, and Valderrama.
Nakahanda na ring pagsilbihan ng ating apat na sea ambulances ang ating mga kasimanwa, lalo na ang mga nasa isla o mga coastal communities. The 4 units of sea ambulances will be used in our hospitals in Culasi and in Caluya.
Despite having most of our 18 municipalities situated in coastal areas, this is the first time our province received sea ambulances that will immediately transport those in need of emergency medical assistance to the nearest healthcare facility and will effectively lessen impediments in health care delivery due to geographical location.
I also made it a personal mission to eradicate the problem of open defecation in the communities upang masiguro ang maayos na sanitation at mapanatili din ang kalusugan ng ating mga kasimanwa. Naumpisahan natin ang Zero Open Defecation Project para sa 15,075 households with shared and/or no sanitary toilet facility sa probinsya na naitala ng Provincial Health Office at sa kasalukuyan ay nakapamigay na tayo ng 7,259 toilet bowls sa iba’t ibang barangay sa probinsya.
Recognizing the significance of quality education as one of the best investments in nation building and economic development, patuloy nating sinisiguro na nabibigyan ng sapat na atensyon ang mga pangangailangan ng mga mag-aaral at ng mga guro upang mapagtagumpayan ang mga hamon sa ating educational system.
For fiscal year 2020, P205.6 million was allocated under the Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF) for the construction of 82 new classrooms in 12 elementary schools and high schools in the municipalities of Laua-an, Culasi, Hamtic, San Remigio, Sibalom, Tibiao, Tobias Fornier, Belison, and Patnongon.
Ang ating mga teachers naman, sa pakikipagtulungan natin saDeped, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), at University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), ay natuturuan din na pahalagahan ang pamana at kultura sa pamamagitan ng mga cultural mapping workshops, na atin nang sinimulan noon pa.
Meanwhile, under the 2021 GAA, I supported the funding for the construction/rehabilitation of Multi-Purpose Buildings in Barangays Lipata-Lamputong in Culasi, Pandan Central School, Pandan, and Sibalom Central Elementary School.
COVID-19 has brought extraordinary challenges to the Department of Education and the teachers themselves in delivering quality education through alternative learning approaches. In response to the need to cope with the changes in the learning modalities, our teachers and non-teaching personnel in 11 DepEd schools in Antique recently received the first batch of information technology (IT) packages, which include 2-in-1 tablet PC, laptop, smart TV, wireless router, charging cart, and inkjet printer funded under my 2019 amendment for the DepEd Computerization Program when I was the Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.
To further provide the needs of our education sector, we allocated an additional Php 60 million this year under the DepEd Antique budget for the improvement of facilities in the Schools Division Office to help our DepEd employees carry out their tasks more efficiently and effectively as well as for the procurement of equipment such as heavy duty copiers and scanners, among others, to assist our teachers in conducting online classes and in the production of modules and other info materials for the students. At bilang dagdag suporta naman sa gastusin para sa printing ng mga modules for our blended learning system ay naglagay tayo ng dagdag Php 30 million sa MOOE ng DepEd Antique.
In our commitment to uplift higher education and further bring down the number of out-of-school youth, I sponsored the scholarships for college students under the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) Tulong Dunong Program, now with 23,293 grantees from 2017 to 2020. We will also help new scholars under the 2021 GAA.
When I was Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, I supported the increase in the allocation for SUCs under the Free Wi-Fi for All – Free Public Internet Access Program of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and I am glad to know that with our coordination and partnership with the DICT, more areas in Antique finally benefitted from this initiative.
As one of DICT’s Free-Wifi for All project beneficiaries, Antique successfully established services in Geographical Isolated Disadvantageous Areas (GIDA) sites and in public hospitals. My office is coordinating closely with DICT to ensure that additional sites will be activated with internet connectivity, especially in DepEd schools.
On a personal note, nakipagtulungan din tayo sa private sector upang makapagpatayo ng free WiFi access at kasalukuyang isinasagawa ang installation nito sa 20 barangays sa ating probinsya.
Naumpisahan na din natin ang pagpapatayo ng Extension Campus ng UP Visayas sa Pandan upang mabigyan ng dagdag oportunidad ang ating mga kabataan sa dekalidad na edukasyon.
As a champion of microenterprises and author of the Magna Carta for MSMEs, and in order to empower local communities in the province, I supported livelihood programs under a convergence with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the University of Antique (UA) for the development of Technology and Livelihood Support Hubs (TechnoHubs) and a brick-making facility in Sibalom.
To date, four (4) out of the five (5) TechnoHubs are already operational and 14 new products have been developed and produced.
Food processing equipment were also provided and will be deployed to the Technology-Based Economic Enterprises (TechnoBEEs), which are located in the 18 municipalities of the province of Antique.
I envisioned the construction of a community-based brick-making facility and, finally, we have launched the Php 20 million-worth project to provide technical assistance for the upgrading of a community-based terra cotta production facility in Tibiao and Sibalom. We have been assisting already our brick makers and potters in the area through this brick-making facility.
Aside from the Techno Hubs and the brick-making facility, I also supported the establishment of a bamboo development center, which we also recently inaugurated under the DTI Shared Services Facilities (SSF) program. The center will have its Nursery and a Bamboo Crafts and Furniture Facility to be situated in the UA-Main Campus in Sibalom.
We further supported our local weavers as we turned over the Weaving and Cotton Processing in Barangay Padang, Patnongon in December 2020, funded under the 2018 GAA.
Under the same GAA, I also provided funds for the establishment of weaving centers in Pandan, Tibiao and Bugasong.
To help bring our culture closer to our people and reawaken our pride in our history and heritage, we have provided funding for the rehabilitation of the Balay nga Bato, Old Capitol Building, and the plazas in each of the 18 municipalities.
The Old Capitol building will be repurposed into a textile gallery, museum and library, while the only remaining Balay nga Bato has been restored and will soon be the home for the Institute of Living Traditions.
Bilang isang probinsya na ang pangunahing pinagkakakitaan ay ang agrikultura at pangingisda, patuloy din nating pinapaigting ang mga programa para sa ikauunlad ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda.
We have to enhance rural livelihoods by promoting programs and providing better livelihood opportunities to our farmers and fisherfolk to increase agricultural productivity and ensure food sufficiency in Antique.
This can be achieved if we continue to provide new opportunities for the farmers through income-generating programs such as livestock farming.
Under FY 2019, I supported the allocation of Php 25 Million for the Carabao-Based Improvement Network lodged under the Philippine Carabao Center Acceleration of Livelihood and Assets Build-up.
Implemented last year, this allocation allowed us to provide 2 units of pasteurizing tank, milk pump, strainer, milk storage tank, nozzle, sealer, hot water generator, cooling tower, tubes & fittings, and soft ice cream machine to Hamtic Multipurpose Cooperative and Pandan Multipurpose Cooperative.
Also under the program, a total of 160 dairy carabaos were distributed early this year to the two recipient cooperatives in Antique. The Pandan Multipurpose Cooperative received 30 dairy carabaos and the Hamtic Multipurpose Cooperative received 130 dairy carabaos, which they distributed to the municipalities of Belison, Sibalom, San Jose, and Hamtic. On the other hand, the milk consolidation and milk processing equipment were already delivered to Pandan and Hamtic Multipurpose Cooperatives, while the milk processing and dairy outlet in the New Hamtic Public Terminal and Market is ready to be turned over.
I also supported the allocation, under the National Dairy Authority (NDA), for the purchase of breeding stock for the Antique Dairy Development Program. Through the program, 99 pregnant heifers were distributed to the different municipalities. Currently, a herd of 189 cattle is being cared for and raised by the farmers. The Antique Dairy Development Program aims to boost our province’s local milk production, build the capacities of farmers for profitable dairy farming, and support the setting up of milk and dairy enterprises.
For the period of January to September 23, 2021, the total milk production is 112,386 liters with the net production valued at Php 2.57 million.
One great benefit of the program is its potential for providing support to the School-Based Milk Feeding Program in partnership with the Department of Education.
The first part of the School Based Feeding Program – Milk Feeding Program (SBF-MFP) was conducted last April 16. A total of 259,240 milk pouches were distributed to 12,962 learners-beneficiaries, while 11,076 school children became its beneficiaries for the 2nd part conducted in May this year.
Aside from dairy and livestock, I also supported the allocation for rice, corn, and high value crops development programs for the province through which machineries and equipment were procured for our farmers.
Our province is also a beneficiary of machineries provided by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMEch), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture that is responsible for spearheading the development of post harvesting. Under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Program and in compliance with the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), our farmers have access to free and efficient rice machineries.
We have also funded the High Value Crop Development Program in the municipality of San Remigio. I allocated funds for the improvement of the coffee processing center of the Bulalacao Calooy Tulatula Farmers Association and provision of equipment such as dehuller, coffee roaster, multi-purpose dryer, mini chain saw, vacuum sealer, crates, and green bags, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the DTI.
Samantala, bilang suporta naman sa ating mga mangingisda, naglaan tayo ng Php 50 million noong 2019 upang mapondohan ang ating mga proyekto sa ilalim ng BFAR. Php 9.8Million was allocated for the fabrication of 200 units of 20-footer FRP boats.
Aside from the fiberglass boats, we distributed fishing gears to our fisherfolk and also provided fishing paraphernalia to promote Lambaklad fishing, a sustainable fishing method being practised in my hometown of Pandan since 1998.
Nagawa din po nating maipasa ang House Bill No. 9939 na naglalayong makapagpatayo ng multi-species marine hatchery sa Tibiao na maaaring makatulong sa fishing industry ng ating probinsya.
To protect marine and wildlife species, especially those found in Antique’s protected areas, we funded the improvement of the ecotourism facilities in the Northwest Panay Peninsula Natural Park at the border of the province and Aklan, and in the Sibalom Natural Park.
To provide better rural-urban connectivity, reduce travel time in transporting agricultural goods and farm equipment, and encourage the development of local markets and agricultural business in the province, I also supported the allocation under DA for the construction of various farm-to-market roads in the province.
Lahat ng mga proyektong ito ay nakalaan upang mapaunlad natin ang ating agriculture sector at mabigyan ng karapat-dapat na assistance ang ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda na siyang naglalagay ng pagkain sa ating mga hapag-kainan sa araw araw. Providing our farmers with the assistance that they need would also give them the chance to contribute in the economic progress of the province. I hope that with all the support that they are receiving now, more Antiqueños will be encouraged to engage in or go back to farming and improve the income of Antique through agricultural and rural livelihoods.
For FY 2019, I also funded community projects under KALAHI-CIDSS-KKB and, last October, we turned over these projects in Pandan, Patnongon, and Sibalom.
Other projects that we have initiated for the betterment of the province are the distribution of solar lights with radio to various barangays, especially to areas where there is no access to electricity.
To beef up the field operations on land by the Philippine Coast Guard in the province, I allocated funds for the procurement of four service vehicles that will be used in the PCG substations in various municipalities.
We also allocated Php 20 million for the construction of a fire station and procurement of a fire truck for the Antique Bureau of Fire Protection.
With my vision to enhance the tourism industry and socio-economic activities in our home province, I funded the construction of the Antique Esplanade in San Jose, which can now be accessed by our kasimanwa and will hopefully bring more livelihood to the nearby communities, promote active lifestyles, and attract local and foreign visitors alike.
In Bugasong, the construction of the Sabang West Road where the Turtle Beach Nesting, Boulevard, and Sunset viewing deck will soon be opened for both Antiqueños and tourists is also ongoing.
We have ensured that the needed infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and ports are also in place. I supported the improvement/rehabilitation of 11 ports in the municipalities of Anini-y, Culasi, Pandan, Hamtic, Caluya, Barbaza, and Libertad under the budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The construction of the Pandan Ecotourism Road, which aims to provide easier means to transport produce from the uplands to the town proper, is well underway. Meanwhile, the construction of the Vilvar Bridge in San Remigio, which was one of the long-held dreams of Antiqueños living in one of the municipalities with the highest poverty incidence in the province, is also ongoing.
I also supported the ongoing construction of access roads and other infrastructure in the province, which include the Panay East West Road project, San Remigio Bugo – General Fullon – Valderrama road, and the Antique Convention Center in San Jose, among others. We also have ongoing improvements being done in the Antique Airport under our DOTr amendments.
Patuloy naman nating isinusulong sa Kongreso ang ating mga local bills na kung maipapasa ay magiging kaagapay ng ating probinsya tungo sa pag-unlad. Ilan pa sa mga local bills na ating isinumite at naipasa ay ang HB No. 9408 for the creation of 7 additional branches of the Regional Trial Court and 1 additional branch of the Municipal Trial Court in the Province at ang HB No. 9008 na nagtatalaga sa August 5bilang araw ng Anini-y sa pag-gunita ng kanilang founding anniversary bilang isang munisipalidad.
Para naman sa ating kultura at likas yaman, naipasa natin ang HB No. 7689 o ang Northern Antique Protected Seascape and Landscape Act upang maprotektahan ang ating natural resources at mapasigla ang turismo sa probinsya. Nakapagpasa rin tayo ng House Resolution para naman hikayatin ang National Commission for Culture and the Arts at iba pang government agencies na siguraduhin na mabigyan ng kaukulang proteksyon ang Antique Rice Terraces at ang tradisyon ng ating Indigenous People na Iraynon-Bukidnon sa San Remigio.
Ilan lamang ito sa mga proyektong patuloy nating pinagsisikapan para sa Antique at sa mga Antiqueño. Nalalapit man ang pagtatapos ng aking termino bilang inyong Representante sa Mababang Kapulungan, asahan ninyong hindi dito magtatapos ang patuloy na pag-unlad ng ating probinsya.
Never has Antique had so much hope and improvement in the province. It needs many years to sustain the progress we have achieved for each Antiqueño family, and I will do that. I will not stop. Bilang inyong boses at kinatawan sa Kongreso ay patuloy kong isusulong ang karapatan at kaunlaran ng bawat Antiqueño.
Tuyo ko nga magserbisyo sa probinsiya kag sa mga Antiqueño kag seguraduhon nga mabaton kang tanan ang para kaninyo. Prayoridad ko ang inyo kinahanglanun, kag obrahun ko ang akun ikasarang para matugro ria kaninyo.
As you can see, the province and our kasimanwa are reaping the benefits from the projects I funded and envisioned when I was still Senator and are being implemented to this day. Imagine if I did not ensure amendments for TUPAD, Pangkabuhayan, AICS, TESDA training centers and scholarships for the province. Tiyak po ako na mas lalong naging mahirap ang ating sitwasyon lalo na sa gitna ng pandemya. Kaya’t ito ang nag-tulak sa akin na magdesisyon na tumakbo uli bilang Senador sa susunod na eleksyon: upang mas makatulong at makapag-bigay ng mas marami pang bulig para sa ating mga kasimanwa. Hiniling ko din po ang tulong ng aking bunsong kapatid na si AA Legarda upang tulungan akong patuloy kayong mapaglingkuran.
Kadya lang gid pagkatapos kang pira ka dekada kang pagpabaya kag kadulum nga inyo nabatyagan ang mga programa kang gobyerno nasyonal.
We will work even harder to make sure that Antique will never go back to being a backward and impoverished province in Panay Island where people felt hopeless and sad. We cannot go back to poverty and darkness. I will not allow that. I will continue to take care of you, with AA, and the leaders of our province, led by Governor Dodod Cadiao.
I am confident that our province will not only overcome this pandemic, but will also continue to thrive and flourish. We will become a province where no one is deprived of quality education, access to healthcare, gainful employment, and livelihood.
Ako dya si Inday Loren Legarda, patuloy na maglilingkod para sa aking pinakamamahal na probinsya at mga kasimanwa.
Kruhay, Antique! Duro-duro guid nga salamat! Palangga ko kamo.