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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Untapped Potentials of Antique

      Antique is composed of 18 municipalities with a total of 590 barangays. It has a total land area of 251, 757 hectares or 2,729.2 sq. km., 83% of which is upland and 17% is lowland. It is mostly an agricultural province where majority of its people derive their income from agriculture. The 1989 survey showed 130, 387 metric tons of palay was produced followed by copra with 11,600 metric tons. The lowest is cacao with only 15.85 metric tons.
       Antique is a mountainous province which accounts for the majority of its area (83%) as upland. Thus, the land produce is not sufficient to meet the basic needs of the Antiquenos. Therefore, various development programs and projects were implemented to sped up the economic development of the province such as the Evelio B. Javier Upland Development Project and others.
       For livestock production, the province has produced hogs, cattle, carabao, goats while they produce chickens for their poultry production.
       Fishing is another major industry of the province especially among the coastal towns of Antique. On average, an estimated 10,536.2 metric tons of fish is produced annually. Fish is exported to Iloilo and Manila. Crustaceans also abound in the province especially in the island town of Caluya, where robber crab known locally as “Tatus” is plenty.
       Coal and marble are the two major minerals found in Antique. Huge reserves of coal are found in Semirara Island, one of the six islets of Caluya. In fact, it has the second largest coal deposit in the Philippines. Marble is found in the mountains and quarries of Pandan and Libertad. The multi-colored marbles extracted from these places are exported to the different parts of the country.
       Antique has two distinct climates: dry and rainy. The dry season extend from December to May while the rainy season starts from June to September. The months of October and November are characterized by alternate sunny and rainy weather.
       Antique is shaped like an elongated stretch of land along the entire west coast of Panay bounded by the province of Aklan on the north and northeast, Capiz on the east, Iloilo on the south and southeast and the Cuyo East Pass on the west.
       Because of its long, entrail-like shape, with rugged, hilly and mountainous terrain, the most important concern of the Antiquenos is their road. Going to any towns of Antique by bus from Iloilo City is really a trying experience. All the towns in northern Antique could be reached only through the capital town of San Jose except Hamtik. Other towns in southern Antique like Anini-y and Tobias Fornier could be reached via a separate road. The total road network of the province is 1,442.672 kms.
      San Jose is 97 kilometers away from Iloilo City – that would take around one hour and a half travel by bus. Being the capital town of the province, San Jose is the central point by which the distance of each town in Antique is based. The farthest, Libertad, is 143 kms. from San Jose, followed by Pandan (123 kms.), Sebaste (108.9 kms.), Culasi (89.5 kms.), Tibiao (73 kms.), Barbaza (61.30 kms.), Valderrama (57.17 kms.), Laua-an (55.1 kms.) Bugasong (43 kms.), Anini-y (40.46 kms.), Tobias Fornier (28.20 kms.), Patnongon (25 kms.), San Remigio (21.7 kms.) Belison (15.56 kms.), Sibalom (10 kms.), Caluya Island could be reached only by ferry boat on a one to two hour drive from the port of Culasi.
         Most of the towns of Antique are fishing communities. Out of the 10 municipalities, 14 are coastal towns and 1 is an island of six islets. Only 3 are inland towns. These coastal towns are: Anini-y, Tobias Fornier, Hamtik, San Jose, Belison, Patnongon, Bugasong, Laua-an, Barbaza, Tibiao, Culasi, Sebaste, Pandan and Libertad. The inland towns are Sibalom, San Jose, San Remegio and Valderrama. Caluya is an island with six islets.
         Going to the different towns of Antique from Iloilo City is done through a bus but from San Jose to the different municipalities, jeepneys could be used. Travel by ship to Manila from San Jose and vice versa using RORO or other ships are regularly scheduled. There is also a ferry boat which ferries passengers to the neighboring province of Palawan and vice versa at least thrice a week.
         There are two ports and two small airports in Antique for the ocean-going vessels and similar aircraft. One port and an airport is located in San Jose while the other port and an airport is located in Semirara Island, Caluya owned by the Semirara Coal Corporation, a private mining firm. There are also two subports in Antique which serve small ships and other sea-going vessels. One is located in the town of Culasi which serve as departure and entry point for small vessels plying the Caluya-Mindoro route. The other one is situated in Jinalinan, Pandan, which serve also as another departure and entry point for ships sailing the Pandan-Cagayan de Oro and Manila route. There are several big bus companies and airline companies and ships sailing alternately twice a week to and from the province, besides the numerous jeepneys, tricycles and trisikads which cater to the transportation needs of the Antiquenos.
           Mails, telegrams and packages are handled not only by government’s postal service system and the Department of Transportation and Communications but also local and international couriers. Telephone companies like PLDT, Globe Telecoms, Islacom and cellphone networks like Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, Sun Cellular among others provide the telecommunication needs of the natives.
There are quite a few number of radio stations in Antique and one or two local newspaper.
Improved economic productivity was facilitated by the electric power provided by the Antique Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ANTECO) to the more than 200,000 consumers of the 18 towns of the province with an average daily consumption of 10,987.83 kilowatts. The northern towns of Pandan and Libertad are served by the Aklan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AKELCO).
           One important factor for increasing economic productivity is water for irrigation and consumption. Of the total potential irrigable area of 26,650 hectares, only 14,251 hectares, or 60.26 percent are served by irrigation systems. The sources of water supply in Antique are as follows: deep or shallow walls and improved springs (Level I); piped water system with communal faucets (Level II); piped water system with service direct to the consumers (Level III). The total number of households served by potable water in 1989 is 59,613 or 75.50 percent.

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