Legarda Says She Will Beat Poverty in Antique

March 29, 2019

On the first day of the campaign for local elections, Senator “Inday Loren” Legarda said she will do all to beat poverty in her home province of Antique.

Legarda, who is running for representative of the lone district of Antique under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), said, “Poverty is our biggest enemy. Ito ang ating patuloy na nilalabanan.”

According to the 2015 Poverty Census of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Western Visayas has the eighth lowest poverty incidence among the regions in the country. However, among the provinces in the region, Antique has the highest poverty incidence at 26% percent, followed by Iloilo at 20%, Aklan at 14.9%, Capiz at 12.9%, and Guimaras at 5.22%.

“It is unacceptable that our province is blessed with so much natural resources from the mountains and the seas, yet it is the poorest in the region. We should not allow our people to live in poverty,” she stressed.

Legarda also noted the rate of malnutrition in Antique. Based on the National Nutrition Survey of Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI): In 2011, 22.3% of Antiqueño children aged 0-5 were underweight; it went up to 29.2% in 2013, and 29.9% in 2015. For Antiqueños aged 5-10, 45.5% were underweight in 2011, 39.9% in 2013, and 49.4% in 2015. Meanwhile, the National Nutrition Survey for 2015 showed that 44.7% of Antiqueños aged 0-5 and 41.2% aged 5-10 were stunted.

“Moving forward, our solution is to provide jobs and livelihood, ensure access to education, and improve the health and wellbeing of our people,” said Legarda.

“But how do we ensure that we will be able to provide these to Antiqueños? We need transparency and accountability in the use of budget. Our local governments and all local government agencies should have seamless convergence to ensure efficiency in bringing services to the people in the quickest time to curb hunger, joblessness, and malnutrition,” she said.

Legarda noted that the province is actually improving in terms of good governance being one of the recipients of the Seal of Good Local Governance in 2018, a first for the province, which she credits to Governor Rhodora “Dodod” Cadiao and Vice Governor Edgar Denosta. Legarda, Cadiao and Denosta are campaigning together as Team LCD.

“This is just the beginning for our beautiful province. We have many more programs for Antique and I have been working with the provincial government to ensure that all towns benefit from the government’s programs and all concerns of Antiqueños are being addressed,” she added.

As a three-term Senator, Legarda has crafted laws on education, such as the Free College Education Law; on health, such as the National Health Insurance Act of 2013; and on livelihood, such as the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), and Barangay Kabuhayan Act, among many other laws that address the various needs of Filipinos.

After 18 years of serving the nation, Legarda now wants to focus on Antique and to ensure that the laws she authored would actually benefit her kasimanwas.

Aside from ensuring that the government’s programs—free college education in state universities and colleges, free healthcare services, skills trainings, employment and livelihood programs from various agencies—reach all corners of the province, Legarda goes out of her way to bring more opportunities for Antique.

She has also provided support for all local industries, providing boats, community fish landing centers, and post-harvest fishing kits to fisherfolks; breeding stock for dairy and poultry farmers; weaving and processing centers for weavers; trainings to improve local products; and equipment, facilities and materials needed by various MSMEs in the province.

Legarda also made possible the reopening of Antique’s airport and the revival of the Philippine Airlines’ direct flights to the province. Beginning this year, there will be FastCat services from Culasi to Caluya to Mindoro and Batangas, also through Legarda’s efforts.

“Antique has a strong potential for ecotourism, which is why we are ensuring that the needed infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and ports are in place. I want to harness the resources of Antique to benefit the very people of the province. I will do every effort possible to fight poverty, but I will only be able to do so with everyone’s help. We all need to work together for the progress of our province. Together, we will make Antique an equitable, inclusive, resilient and sustainable province. Panahon run kang pag-uswag, Antique!” Legarda concluded.