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Legarda Vows to End Poverty in Antique, Gets Overwhelming Support from All Sectors

May 10, 2019

Senator “Inday Loren” Legarda, who is running for Congresswoman of the lone district of Antique under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), today reiterated her vow that she will do everything to end poverty in her home province.

“When the campaign started, I have declared my intention to beat poverty in Antique. After going around the province in the past 42 days, my resolve to do so only got stronger. As I visited our towns and barangays, I saw the hardship and needs of our people; I heard the pleas of my kasimanwas. We cannot let the poor remain poor. We cannot let our province suffer while our neighbors are soaring,” said Legarda.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) 2018 First Semester Poverty Incidence among Families, poverty incidence in Antique is at 18.3%, the highest in Panay Island, followed by Iloilo at 15.8%, Aklan at 14.6%, and Capiz at 5.9%.

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 2015, 29.9% of Antiqueño children aged 0-5 and 49.4% of those aged 5-10 were underweight; Moreover, 44.7% of Antiqueños aged 0-5 and 41.2% aged 5-10 were stunted.

“We should not allow our people to live in poverty. We should not let our children suffer from malnutrition. Our province is blessed with so much natural resources, we must use these sustainably to uplift the lives of our people,” she stressed.

“Moving forward, our solution is to bring government and its services closer to the people. I have been doing this and will continue to do so when elected as Congresswoman of Antique. We will continue to provide jobs and livelihood, ensure access to education, and improve the health and wellbeing of our people,” said Legarda.

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.

Aside from funding these laws, she has also ensured 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.

She has brought to Antique programs like the Medical Assistance for Indigent Patient (MAIP), Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), improvement of hospitals and rural health units, Free College Education in University of Antique, CHED Tulong Dunong Program, TESDA Training for Work Scholarship Program, DOLE TUPAD and Kabuhayan, DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), and DTI Shared Service Facilities (SSF).

She has also given 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 direct flights to the province through Philippine Airlines, which now flies to Antique three times a week.

Last May 6, FastCat had its ceremonial voyage from Lipata Port in Culasi to Caticlan Port in preparation for the Culasi-Caticlan route, which will soon be available to Antiqueños and tourists who want to visit the province. There will also be a Culasi-Caluya route after the port in Caluya is fixed this year. These are possible through Legarda’s efforts as she has convinced FastCat President and CEO Chet Pastrana to invest in 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 a progressive province,” said Legarda.

Fellow Antiqueños and Panayanons, who were or are in government service, threw their support to Legarda saying that the province will immensely benefit from her hard work and experience both as a multi-awarded respected journalist and a highly accomplished three-term senator.

Palawan Governor Jose “Pepito” Alvarez, who has roots in Bugasong, said that Legarda is respected not only as a public servant but also as an environmentalist, stressing that the laws she has authored is beneficial to all, especially to the development of Filipinos.

Hanggang ngayon, tinatamasa pa ng buong Pilipinas ang kanyang malalim na pag-iisip at dedikasyon para sa kapakanan ng lahat. Base sa mga nagawa na ni Loren Legarda, hindi ako makakapaniwala na may iba pa na mas nakakahigit na kandidato para maging representante ng Antique sa Kongreso,” said Alvarez.

Former Executive Secretary Peter Garrucho, who is from Pandan, Antique, said that Legarda will be an effective representative of the Province. “Her many years as a Senator of the Republic provide her with high visibility and the valuable network of decision makers in government and the private sector. With such strengths, she can bring more focus to the development needs of the province and she can accelerate the flow of resources to make a difference.”

Former Tourism Secretary Narzalina Lim, who is also from Pandan, said, “Antiqueños are very fortunate to have Senator Legarda because she makes sure that things get done.”

Lim noted that while Antique is a beautiful province filled with tourist attractions, infrastructure and tourism promotion programs should be in place so people are aware of what the Province has to offer. “Knowing this, Senator Legarda initiated the re-opening of the Antique airport, with direct flights of Philippine Airlines to the province. She has also introduced several projects to improve roads, bridges and ports. These projects will have to be sustained going forward.”

Former Energy Secretary Raphael “Popo” Lotilla, who is from Sibalom, said, “Senator Loren’s sustainable development advocacy in the Senate and in her professional life is certainly a source of strength for building greater resilience among the communities of Antique.”

Atty. Ade Fajardo, Outgoing President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines who has roots in Antique, said, “I am quite certain that with Sen. Legarda’s wide experience as a longtime legislator, and her vaunted acumen in budget crafting as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, she can train her sights on administration of justice and formulate plans that will help uplift the wellbeing of Antiqueños by providing them access to better and more secure centers of justice and legal aide.”

Former Secretary of Agrarian Reform, Atty. Rene Villa, who is an Ilonggo, said that for the past decade or more, Antique has been under-represented in Congress and as such, the province’s myriad problems have not been articulated and brought to the attention of the proper agencies of the national government.

“With Senator Loren Legarda deciding to go back to her roots and represent her province in the House of Representatives, Antique will again find her voice and rightful place in the Halls of Congress. Senator Legarda is well respected by her peers and by those who had the privilege of working and interacting with her. The province will immensely benefit from her hard work and the various linkages she developed through the years both as a media practitioner and as a public servant,” Villa said.

The Rodriguez Family of Taytay, Palawan—former Mayor Roberto Rodriguez, Vice Mayor Christian Rodriguez, and Sangguniang Kabataan Palawan Provincial Federation President Anyatika Rodriguez—said: “As a family who traces our roots in Antique, we are happy that the province has Senator Loren Legarda, whose brand of service as a senator is truly remarkable. She takes every challenge as an opportunity for growth and improvement, as she is already doing in Antique, unlocking every potential for development the province has, and promoting the kind of development that is most beneficial to Antiqueños. As Representative of the province, Senator Legarda can do more to address the development needs of the province and will certainly represent the utmost desires of the people, which will lead Antique to greater progress.”

Legarda thanked her kasimanwas for their outpouring support, “I am thankful for the kind words of my fellow Antiqueños and Panayanons. They inspire me to continue this journey of bringing the needed change to my beloved Province. But my greatest motivation are the poor, vulnerable and suffering Antiqueños who have waited for so long to feel that the government cares for them. I will ensure, as I am already doing in the past few years, efficiency in bringing services to the people in the quickest time to curb hunger, joblessness, and malnutrition. It’s time for Antique to rise and be known as a model province for inclusive, sustainable and resilient development. Panahon run kang pag-uswag, Antique!” Legarda concluded.