By: Ronna Marie A. Badua

February 10, 2017 – The DA Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM) under the administration of Dir. Angel E. Enriquez in partnership with the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM) gave away six (6) Small Scale Composting Facilities (SSCFs) to six (6) Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Camps on February 9, 2017 at Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

The awarding was initiated by the Memorandum of Agreement between the DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) and the MILF in line with the commitment of the Philippine government to the peace process. Spotted during the awarding ceremony were: DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Alternate National Steering Committee Chair Atty. Ranibai D. Dilangalen; NCI National Focal Person Dir. Silvino Q. Tejada, CESO III; BSWM XII Technical Assistant in ARMM Engr. Leolito Siase who represented BSWM OIC Dir. Angel E. Enriquez; DA-ARMM Organic Agriculture Focal Person Jamer Guimba; OIC Chair of the GPH on the Cessation of Hostilities Philippine Army Major Carlos Sol; and MILF Camp Commanders/ Representatives of Badr, Omar, Rajamuda, Abubakar, Bilal and Busra.

“This event doesn’t only symbolize the sincere commitment of the government to the peace process but also their campaign to promote a sustainable rural development by providing livelihood to the beneficiaries that will eventually transform their lives”, says Mr. Muhammad Saleh, Camp Coordinator of Joint Task Force on Camp Transformation. He received the six (6) units of SSCFs with an estimated value of P1.8M (P 300,000 per unit) in behalf of the beneficiaries and the MILF Project Board.

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by Ronna Marie A. Badua

8 February 2017 - In response to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s (PRRD) pronouncement during the Climate Change Commission and Advisory Board Meeting last January 31, 2017 to form a Tripartite Convergence Committee (DENR-DA-DILG) to study the possibility of a total log ban throughout the country, the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) called for an emergency meeting of the Alternate National Steering Committee (ANSC).

Apparently, the Chief Executive gave the orders upon hearing the extensive damage brought about by the flash floods experienced in Mindanao particularly in Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon and North Cotabato. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said, “The President wants a total log ban with no exemptions, PRRD attributed the destructive floods to the persistent logging in Mindanao watersheds”.

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by Ronna Marie A. Badua

02 February 2017 - Due to the excessive rains that triggered massive flooding in Northern Mindanao, notably Cagayan de Oro City, the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) was quick to respond to the directives of DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol to exert all efforts in helping the community during the ManCom meeting held last 18 January 2017. The total damage cost brought by the flooding for the Department of Agriculture alone was estimated at P100.12M. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Department of Agriculture specifically reported an estimated P5.3M damage cost.

The NCI-SRD (represented by the Dr. Oscar O. Parawan, Senior Technical Adviser and Head Secretariat Ms. Clare Fevidal), together with the Regional Convergence Initiative X (RCI X), and representatives from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) sat down in a meeting last 24 January 2017 held in Cagayan de Oro City, to discuss the immediate and possible interventions that will address the issues of the damaged areas. The meeting also revisited existing integrated ecosystems management plans and river basin development plans in order to identify the gaps during the implementation of interventions. In general, the NCI-SRD is tasked to come up with priority interventions to prevent and mitigate the occurrence of flooding in Northern Mindanao.

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by Ronna Marie A. Badua

16 January 2017 – The Knowledge Management Component Working Group conducted a writeshop for the Environment and Rural Development Project Completion Report (EnRD PCR) last 09 to 13 January 2017 in Tagbilaran City, Bohol despite the foreboding Typhoon Nina in the Visayas Region. It was the opening salvo activity of the DA-DAR-DENR-DILG National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) for the year 2017.

Dedication to public service and cooperation among the concerned regions and the Local Government Units (LGUs) were evident, that inspite the unavailability of public transport, they were able to find ways to arrive at the venue. The common moniker, “para sa bayan”, has never been more true as participants braved dangerous waters and air turbulence just to finish the draft completion report.

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by Ronna Marie Badua

October 18, 2016 – In response to poverty reduction and climate change mitigation, the House of Congress expresses their unified confidence on the institutionalization of the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) as the key to addressing the fragmented delivery of services to the underdeveloped countryside.

As agreed during the Organizational Meeting of the House Committee on Rural Development chaired by Hon.  Deogracias B. Ramos, Jr. from the 2nd District of Sorsogon last October 18, 2016 at Ramon Mitra Bldg, House of Representatives, the committee shall push for the passage of the National Convergence Act of 2016 this 17thcongress.

Other members of the committee present during the meeting were: Vice Chair Hon. Henedina R. Abad from the Lone District of Batanes; Vice Chair Hon. Ma. Lourdes R. Aggabao from the 4th District of Isabela; Hon. Evelina G. Escudero from the 1st District of Sorsogon; and Hon. Rodante D. Marcoleta from the 1-SAGIP Party-list. Representatives from NEDA, DSWD, DOLE, DILG, PRDP and the NCI Secretariat were also present.

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by Ronna Marie Badua

October 12, 2016 – The Regional Convergence Initiative III together with the Department of National Defense convened at Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation to craft the Memorandum of Agreement for the Renewal of the Bamboo Plantation Project.  It was chaired by Mr. Edwin Paningbatan, PMED Chief of the Department of Agriculture Regional Office III and Regional Focal Person of RCI III.

The meeting was attended by the representatives of the DENR Ecosystems and Research Development Bureau, the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Tourism and the 7th Philippine Army Infantry Division.

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by Emmylou T. Presilda, DA13-RCISRD

Bad news interests people, good news doesn’t.

This rephrased quotation from Napoleon Bonaparte, in reality, has posed a challenge to development journalists especially those in the government. The competition between good and bad news is becoming more evident as mainstream media networks continues to compete for ratings. More often than not, developmental articles end up unpublished or unnoticed leaving the people unaware of the good things the government has been doing.

Recognizing such challenge, the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) through the Knowledge Management Component conducted a five-day Training on Journalism and Development Communication Reporting held in Pagadian City from June 20-24.

Aimed at enhancing the capacities of the Regional Convergence Initiative Component Working Groups from the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Department of Interior and local Government (DILG), and selected Local Government Units, participants are trained the salient features in Photo Journalism, Newswriting, and the importance of Development Communication.

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by Jayson M. Gonzales

SAN AGUSTIN, Pili, Camarines Sur---“Mapagal an buhay sa Manila sabi kan aki ko kaya ako interesado na makanuod tungkol sa mushroom para may dagdag na kita kami asin paulion ko na an aki ko.” (Life in Manila is difficult according to my kid. That is why I am attending this mushroom training so that I can have additional income. And I can let my kid return to Bicol.) This was the reason cited by 63-year-old farmer Leopoldo Labangco from Barayong, Cagmanaba, Oas, Albay for attending the Stakeholders’ Hands-On Training and Entrepreneurial-Planning Workshop on Mushroom Production and Value Adding Products held on May 23-27, 2016 at Aplaya de Condes, Cagmanaba, Oas, Albay. The said training was part of the Balik-Probinsiya Program jointly undertaken by the DA, DENR, DILG and the PLGU-Albay under the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD).

Attended by more than 100 participants from the barangays of Badian, Sabang, Cagmanaba, Maramba, Tapel and Nagas, the five-day event taught them to produce, process and market different mushroom varieties such as Oyster, Ganoderm/Shiitake and Milky Mushrooms. According to Albay Provincial Agriculturist Cheryll O. Rebeta, the training will provide additional income because Dr. Oscar O. Parawan, DA-National Convergence Initiative (NCI) Senior Technical Adviser said “Livelihood is the heart of BPP”. However, while BPP has its potentials, the problem encountered was that the beneficiaries tend to go back to being informal settlers once their source of income is exhausted. The BPP hopes that informal settlers within disaster-prone areas in Manila with unstable livelihood would return to their home province and be provided with livelihood. Since the barangays covered by the program have vast rice areas that are suitable for mushroom production, it is introduce as an alternative livelihood program.

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by Thea Mae Baltazar and Randy Nuñez

The National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) launched its two (2) knowledge products last 26 April 2016 at the DILG – NAPOLCOM Center.

The first is the Resource Guide – Promotion of Green and Inclusive Agri-Fishery Businesses, is an NCI-SRD initiative to establish strategies in creating opportunities for improving financial, environmental and social performance of agri-fishery value chains. The other is the Transforming Communities through a Sustainable Organic Agriculture Industry – A Guideline for Local Government Units in Developing Local Organic Agriculture Plan, is a product of the collaboration of the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED), National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) and the NCI-SRD to promote organic agriculture to Local Government Units (LGUs) by laying down the processes that will guide the LGUs in their planning towards a sustainable organic industry.

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by Joanna L. Olson, DA-RFO 10 w/ reports from RVATejada

Cagayan de Oro City – AIMING for a more focused and unified interventions for sustainable development using the Convergence Initiative (CI) strategy, the four rural development agencies, namely: DA, DENR, DAR and DILG convened with the technical working group (TWG) at the regional, provincial and municipal levels to a Joint Consultation and Planning-Workshop for the Preparation of the Convergence Area Development Plan (CADP), on April 18-22, 2016.

Mustered in the event are the members of the RCI-TWG from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) together with their partner local government units belonging to the Royale and Inayawan-Illana clusters, in the province of Lanao del Norte and the Mt. Balatukan Range cluster, in Misamis Oriental.

“It is a necessity in crafting a CADP for the various local convergence agro-enterprise clusters (LCAEC), as this will serve as the basis for the downpour of resources and implementation of interventions and activities covered in the CI sites for the 2017-2022 period,” remarked Carlota S. Madriaga, chief of the Field Operations Division of DA-RFO 10.

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