BAGUIO CITY – The Regional Social Development Committee (RSDC) of the Cordillera Regional Development Council began the implementation of the second round of its flagship program “Convergence Program for the Poorest Municipalities in CAR” in Tineg, Abra. The program was presented by newly-elected RSDC chairman DSWD-CAR Regional Director Leonard Quintilla during the 4th Quarter RSDC meeting on October 17.

The Convergence Program aims to consolidate and focus the delivery of government services to the poorest municipalities in the region. Tineg, Abra is one of the six municipalities identified by the committee based on data on accessibility and poverty incidence. The others are Calanasan, Apayao; Bakun, Benguet; Tinoc, Ifugao; Pasil, Kalinga; and Paracelis, Mountain Province.

The first program which spanned the years 2015 to 2018 focused on the poorest municipalities identified based on existing data. These are: Malibcong, Abra; Kabugao, Apayao; Kibungan, Benguet; Banaue, Ifugao; Tinglayan, Kalinga; and Sadanga, Mountain Province. The agencies participating in this convergence program are DOH, DepEd, HUDCC, DOT, DSWD, DENR, EMB, DTI, TESDA, NEDA, NIA and DILG. The RSDC aims to conduct its next quarterly meeting in one of the other priority municipalities of the Convergence Program.

Tineg, Abra is one of the least accessible municipalities in the region with most of its barangays linked only by footpaths and rugged terrain. The team, led by DSWD-CAR, monitored existing programs of the various government agencies and its beneficiaries in the area last September 26. “We face our beneficiaries and they tell us how these programs have affected their situation”, said Director Quintilla. “The focus is on what programs have benefited them”, he added.

Tineg residents who met with the team enumerated three primary concerns of the Abra town. These are (1) the assessment and improvement of educational facilities and the need for more school teachers, (2) construction and improvement of daycare centers, and (3) the construction of a municipal fire station. Tineg, the largest municipality in Abra, comprises about 30% of Abra’s total land area.

The newly organized RSDC is headed by DSWD-CAR Regional Director Leonard Quintilla as Chair, RDC Private Sector Representative Arnel Cabanisas as Co-Chair, and DOH-CAR Regional Director Amelita Pangilinan as Vice-Chair. The officers will serve a term of three years.

NEDA-CAR serves as the technical secretariat while the DSWD-CAR serves as the administrative secretariat of the sectoral committee.