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On January 26, 1999, DA Acting Secretary William Dar, DAR Secretary Horacio Moralez Jr., and DENR Secretary Antonio Cerilles and Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada signed the memorandum to create an Internal-Departmental Steering Committee and Technical Working Group to apply and monitor a common framework for sustainable rural development.
In 2011. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) joined the NCI-SRD to strengthen interventions of the local government in the countryside.
The NCI-SRD Milestones
1999 – The National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) was established through the issuance of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1 Series of 1999. It created the interdepartmental Steering Committee and Technical Working Group for the application and monitoring a common Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) framework. Strategic plans were prepared for nine convergence sites that were prioritized, namely: (1) Cagayan Valley River System, (2) Central Luzon, (3) Quezon-Bicol River Basin System, (4) Panay Island, (5) Negros Island, (6) Bohol Island, (7) Zamboanga Peninsula, (8) Davao Norte / Oriental / Compostela Vallley, (9) CARAGA. Resistance to convergence as a strategy was very strong back then, because of fear of possible merging of the rural development agencies.
2001 – NCI-SRD was shelved because of the change of the national leadership and the resistance due to “turfing” issues among the agencies involved.
2004 - President Arroyo reactivated the NCI-SRD through the issuance of JMC Series of 2004 (Guidelines for the Operationalization of the reactivated DA-DAR-DENR Convergence Initiative towards SRD). NCI-SRD became a strategy to achieve the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan Goal 1 target of developing 2 million hectares of agribusiness lands. A Steering Committee Resolution No. 1 tapping the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) – Environment and Rural Development program was created to support NCI-SRD. GTZ supported the NCI-SRD in the conduct of island-wide planning workshops and other technical assistance activities. DA was designated as the lead convenor of NCI-SRD. Lead convenors per island were also identified: DAR for Luzon, DENR for Visayas, and DA for Mindanao.
2005–NCI-SRD Strategic Planning was conducted in August 2005 at the Development Academy of the Philippines in Tagaytay. The role of LGUs was recognized and island-wide orientations about NCI-SRD were conducted, but still no follow-through actions were made due mainly to the absence of budget for NCI-SRD activities.
2006 – A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the three rural development Secretaries on July 3, 2006 adopting the Guide for Implementation of DA-DAR-DENR National Convergence Initiative towards SRD. Persistent turfing issues and the frequent change in the leadership of the NCI-SRD presented constraints.
2007 to 2008 – JMC 1 Series of 2007 was drafted and the 1st and 2nd Public Consultation on Agribusiness was conducted, but protests by civil society organizations (CSO) on alleged ‘land grabs’ or overseas farm investments became stronger, and the proposed guidelines were overtaken and covered by the Biofuels Act.
2009–There was a change in leadership in NCI-SRD. NCI-SRD’s four components (Policy and Advocacy Agro-enterprise Cluster and Agribusiness Development, Capacity Development, and Knowledge Management) were strengthened. The 1stNational Convergence Agri-investment Forum was conducted to showcase local agribusiness projects for possible funding by local and foreign investors.
- Training on Business Advisory Services – Financial Analysis and Market Evaluation
- Training on GPS and GIS for NCI Field Personnel
- 2nd National Convergence Agri-investment Forum
- Launching of the Central Antique Local Convergence Agro-Enterprise Cluster (LCAEC)
- Book Launching of the Book entitled “The Power of Convergence: Triumphant Stories of Collective Action”
- Participation to Land Use Bill and other “Green Bills”
- Creation of the NCI-SRD Policy Procedures and Emerging NCI-related Policy Issuances and Concerns (PICs)
- Formulation of NCI-SRD Manual of Operations
- Launching of the other 9 Pilot LCAECs
- 1st Agrikultura Trade Fair “ Agraryo, Agrikultura at Kalikasan: A Convergence towards Sustainable Rural Development
- Publication of the Results-Based Management (Development of NCI Results Chain)
- Creation of House Bill No. 5582 “Rural Development Bill”
- Formulation of Integrated Ecosystem Management (IEM): The Convergence Framework
- Scholarship Program for the Master in Public Management Major in Rural Development
- 11th National Watershed Conference
- Publication of the Business Planning Handbook for Collective Enterprise (w/ JICA)
- NCI-SRD Communication Plan and Strategy
2013 – present -Dr. Oscar Parawan took over the leadership of NCI-SRD. Institutional aspect of NCI-SRD with the draft of Joint Administrative Order and strengthening of National and Regional organizational structures were prioritized. The Balik Probinsya Program was mandated to NCI-SRD and extensive planning with other involved National Government Agencies (NGA) was prioritized.