ABUYOG, LEYTE — The Regional Convergence Initiative – Sustainable Rural Development (RCI-SRD) led by the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office scaled up their efforts in finalizing the formulation of Abuyog’s Convergence Area Development Plan (CADP).
The CADP serves as a master plan that addresses the issues and gaps in managing the watershed and the ecosystem in a holistic and sustainable manner. This will be undertaken through the implementation of interventions and activities by the four core government agencies which include the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agrarian Reform and Department of the Interior and Local Government, including other supporting line government agencies, non-government organizations, state colleges and universities, and civil society organizations (CSOs).
The Municipality of Abuyog has long been identified as one of the possible expansion areas of the region’s convergence areas. Aside from Abuyog, other municipalities which are being considered as expansion sites include: MacArthur and Mahaplag. All of these municipalities surround the Bito Watershed area that covers a huge tract of key agriculture, forestry and fishery areas.
DA RFO VIII Assistant Regional Director Elvira C. Torres, Chairperson and permanent Alternate of the RCI-TWG, together with the different agency-partners took turns in explaining to the local constituents the objectives, guiding principles, and advantages of a more focused, synchronized and concerted delivery of basic services. “[NCI-SRD] is a development strategy adopting ridge-to-reef approach which transformed the once sleeping town of Javier into a model municipal convergence area as it is widely known today,” Dir. Torres pointed out.
Mr. Rodulfo M. Cabias, the Municipal Planning Development Officer, is also the main architect of the CADP along with representatives of collaborating agencies.
Among the most ambitious but attainable targets are the establishment reforestation/rehabilitation of Layug, Hagasan and Bito watersheds in support of the National Greening Program. This is achieved by planting rattan and bamboo to at least 500 hectares, use of intercrops in between coconut lands, abaca production, rice, corn and vegetable production, honeybee farming, 1,000 hectares of jackfruit, cacao plantation and many more.
During the open forum, majority of the 56 barangay chairmen present identified the lack of road network as the foremost problem which hindered the agricultural development in their respective localities/barangays. However, at the end of the half-day consultation, the participants did not raise any objection to the planned projects. In fact, they have unanimously voted to adopt and support the CADP which will soon be finalized by the DA-RFO 8 as the lead agency prior to its submission to NCI-SRD Secretariat for due approval by the Secretaries of the four core departments – DA, DAR, DENR and DILG.
Mayor Lemuel Gin K. Traya was on hand to welcome and lend moral support to the visiting RCI-SRD group.