Antique Lone District Representative Loren Legarda is urging all Antiqueños to have “malasakit” (concern) as the mantra for their province.
Legarda recently took her oath of office, together with other political leaders of the province, at the Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park in San Jose de Buenavista.
“Malasakit or pag-ulikid in the Antique dialect is a very nice word for it means you think of someone else or something as if they are your own,” the seasoned legislator said.
The veteran lawmaker said that this word made her forego many attractive and lucrative positions offered to her in the national government and abroad because she is thinking of her home province that has remained to be one of the poorest in the country despite its natural beauty and rich natural resources.
“I have always marveled at our natural beauty and the richness that abounded our province but what struck me was that amidst its natural bounty many of our kasimanwas (provincemates) have remained very poor,” she said in her inaugural address.
“Antique’s poverty incidence is the highest on Panay Island.”
Legarda said that Antique’s poverty incidence is the highest in Panay Island with 18.3 percent followed by Iloilo with 15 percent, Aklan 13 percent, and Capiz at 5 percent.
“I just could not simply turn my back to my beloved Antique,” she said.
Legarda finds the poverty incidence in Antique as unacceptable that is why she decided to run as the lone district congresswoman of the province. “I ask for unity, cooperation…let us set aside political differences,” she added.
She said that since the local campaign is now over she is asking everyone, even from the opposing camp, to support her plans and programs for Antique.
“If there will be continued political squabble, the political leaders cannot give food and livelihood to the people,” Legarda said.
“I will prioritize providing livelihood opportunities to the 590 barangays.”
She said that she intends to give priority to the development of the barangays, which is why she took her oath before Barangay Captain Macario A. Bagac of Barangay Mag-aba, Pandan, where she resides.
“I will prioritize providing livelihood opportunities to the 590 barangays,” Legarda said.
She mentioned the Shared Service Facilities of the Department of Trade and Industry was funded while she’s still senator to provide needed equipment like on food processing, cacao processing, and herbal medicines had already been approved. The deliveries to the various associations that will serve as cooperators in the barangays have already started.
Aside from the many programs that will come from national government agencies, Legarda also said that there will be several European Union donations that she has sought, including technical assistance, during her recent visit to the EU countries.
Meanwhile, Antique Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao, in her message, urged her provincemates to work together with them.
“Let us keep in mind that we work not just for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children… Let us work towards a progressive, healthy, and hopeful Antique,” Cadiao said.