“The launch of our CEST projects is proof that Antique has vast potential for growth and inclusive, sustainable development,” Antique representative and Deputy House Speaker Loren Legarda said in her keynote speech at the project launching of Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) at the University of Antique Convention Hall, Sibalom, Antique on August 1, 2019.

Legarda reported that “the province of Antique has been neglected for a while” and left out but through the CEST project by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and University of Antique (UA) in collaboration with the provincial government, it “has placed Antique back on the map.”

With this DOST project, Legarda aimed to establish TechnoHubs in various municipalities in the province that would provide technical, marketing and business management assistance to different TechnoBEEs or Technology-Based Barangay Economic Enterprises.

These TechnoHubs will also house various production, packaging and support facilities that cater to an area of focus.

As a result, this will enable the proponents to build capacity, provide livelihood, generate employment, and alleviate malnutrition in the barangay level in Antique.

“I think that agencies of government should always converge so that they can share technology, know-how, skills, and even marketing,” she said.

Legarda furthered that the collaboration among UA, Department of Education, DOST, local government units, and congress is so important in order to qualify CEST Antique as “a template, a laboratory, or a prototype” not only for Panay but also for the whole region.

Likewise, UA president Dr. Pablo S. Crespo Jr. agreed that indeed, this collaboration brings UA closer to the realization of its mandate which is to assist in the socio-economic development of Antique.

Being co-proponent of the project, “UA is moving beyond instruction” according to Dr. Crespo.

With anticipation, Legarda pledged to visit the said TechnoHubs particularly in Tibiao, Caluya, San Remigio, Hamtic, and Sibalom to continuously help all barangays put up their own Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) and develop their own knowledge and skill using innovation and science and technology.

Legarda also led the ceremonial turnover of STARBOOKS desktop computers that contain thousands of digitized science and technology resources in various formats, and printers to ABC Elementary School as well as the 30 units of Ceramic Water Filter (CWF).

DOST Developed Complementary Food and Capability Building on Food and Nutrition

In order to demote the province from the top list of having the most malnourished children in the region, the DOST CEST project implemented the complementary feeding using the Food and Nutrition and Research Institute (FNRI) which developed complementary food.

The UA Complementary Food Production Facility – Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (Sibalom TechnoHub) will handle the production of the said product which will be distributed to DepEd schools via NutriKart.

The NutriKart will sell rice and grains-based products such as powder blends, curls, chips, bread and others to DepEd pupils as alternative to junk food.

To signify collaboration and pledge commitment to the project, DOST regional director Engr. Rowen Gelonga, DepEd acting division schools superintendent Dr. Victor de Gracia, UA president Dr. Pablo Crespo Jr., and Alangan United Farmers Association vice president Rodrigo Aldemita signed a memorandum of understanding and memorandum of agreement in the presence of Cong. Legarda and Gov. Rhodora Cadiao.

Mr. Aldemita signified in behalf of the association’s commitment to supply mongo and rice for the complementary food production while applying good practices in farming as encouraged by DOST FNRI.

The CEST Antique projects are also in partnership with Department of Social Welfare and Development VI and National Nutrition Council VI.