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by Regional Convergence Initiative I

Aiming for the title as the first region to develop its Convergence Area Development Plan (CADP) using the available data sources and maps, the Regional Convergence Initiative of Region I conducted the simplified orientation and workshop on the preparation and implementation of CADP covering the three identified convergence sites in Ilocos Norte.

Initiated by the National Convergence Initiative headed by its Senior Technical Adviser, Dir. Oscar Parawan, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture-RFO I being the lead agency of the Convergence Initiative, the planning workshop was held at the Hotel Salcedo de Vigan in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur last December 9-11, 2015.

 

The three day activity was participated in by the various stakeholders with representatives from the three identified convergence sites in Ilocos Norte which are the municipalities of Piddig, Vintar and Carasi, the planning workshop aims to enhance the complementation of activities of the various involved agencies’ initiative to provide solid and tangible pathway leading towards the achievement of the vision, mission and objectives of the convergence sites.

In his message during the Opening Program of the planning workshop, Dr. Paraoan lauded the convergence initiatives of the various agencies in Region I noting that Ilocos Region is one of the most successful convergences from among the 16 regions of the country despite it being a neophyte that only started in CY 2013.

Describing the Convergence in Region I as the mother of all convergence because of the involvement of various government agencies complementing their resources to implement various development programs and projects, Dr. Paraoan saw the importance of a strong partnership among various stakeholders in order to help attain the governments’ goal for an inclusive growth.

He said that the conduct of the planning workshop involving the convergence stakeholders spells out the commitment and support of the agencies to clean-up the plans and directions of the convergence sites, thus facilitating the provision of support and interventions.

Engr. Eduardo Gonzales, DA-RFO I’s Assistant Director and Region I Convergence Initiative Focal Person underscored the importance of conducting the planning workshop leading towards the production of the CADP in order to trace problems and needs in the convergence sites giving the RCI and NCI an idea as to the initial direction on how to develop as well as strengthen the convergence areas.

In his update on the status of the Convergence Area in Piddig, Ilocos Norte he informed the group that the area was already planted with more than 1,000 has. of coffee and on the process of expansion to benefit more local dwellers in the area.

According to Dir. Gonzales, access road was already constructed in the pilot area and the convergence group have already started lay-outing the peripheral fence while waiting for the 100M budget to be released to finish the project.

Moreover, he informed that a 31.5M irrigation project is underway in collaboration with the concerned government agencies like NIA and DA apart from the construction of primary school for the children of indigenous peoples settled in the area by the Department of Education. He added that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) who is in charge on product development and processing of coffee shall provide the convergence site a mini-processing machine to add-value of the coffee product pro duced in the area.

He likewise reiterated the importance of the land-use map of the three convergence sites as a tool in the planning workshop to provide a clearer understanding and delineation as to how the area would be developed not just for agro-eco tourism but also to provide economic and environ 5mental benefits to the Local Government Units in general and to the community dwellers in particular.

To shed light on how the convergence areas would work in drawing out their CADP, Dr. Ernesto Guiang, an NCI Consultant discussed some concepts, principles, application and strategies in relation to the Integrated Environmental Management that would be applicable for the NCI sites.

With his expertise in Environmental Management, the participants were able to identify the current conditions of the three convergence sites in terms of demography, economy, infra and social services so as to determine how the government agencies would respond based from their Programs Projects and Activities and Annual Investment Plans.

To validate the basic features of the current convergence project on Coffee Production in Piddig, the group conducted a field visit at the end of the three day workshop.