Area development, subsidiarity and federalism

Area development, subsidiarity and federalism

 

TIMES of crisis are windows for great opportunity. That is an old Chinese saying. But in these troubling times (for many), what opportunities indeed lie ahead? There are quite a few and the promising thing is they seem to be opportunities that would open up given current trajectories or the way things are unfolding. Indeed, 2017 may be the year that developmental change finally proceeds.

The world is shifting away from the international policies of recent decades that, while they have created well-being for unprecedented billions of people, have likewise resulted in great tensions. Not just tensions between peoples but tensions between people and their environment and even tensions inside people due to an identity overly linked to consumerism rather than their inherent truths; consumerism that threatens the very sustainability of Mother Earth.

 

One such opportunity is the re-emergence within government of the area development paradigm or development framework under Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez. While Sixto K. Roxas was its initial advocate in the late 1960s it had unfortunately been bastardized in several big government projects that went puff! (just as the autonomous regional experience is going puff!) due to wrongful implementation, which in turn was due to a misunderstanding of what area, development is basically about.

With Secretary Gina at the helm of a major government department that has a direct and meaningful role in national development, the area development paradigm is set to take off and this time under the leadership of a capable and knowledgeable environment and natural resources secretary. For one, Secretary Gina has been a practitioner of area development approaching the various undertakings of the ABS-CBN Foundation in Palawan and other provinces wherein the local people were the implementers and the beneficiaries of the eco-tourism projects that simply highlighted the potential of their area (thus the term area development).

Secretary Gina knows that with the Philippines’ archipelagic territory, the mountain ridge ecosystem connects by streams, creeks, rivers to the various other ecosystems until the final one (within our territory), the coral reef ecosystem, the totality of which was once teeming with life. “Life in all its fullness” was certainly what the Philippines was (before the times of colonization and industrialization. But alas, development was under the unitary and sectoral paradigm).

Area development deepens this understanding of the fragile but critical relationships between and among interconnected ecosystems and working with the local people applies the principle of subsidiarity which states that functions and decision-making should be undertaken at the lowest possible hierarchical level and the role of the higher organizational level is to support those lower units undertaking the functions.

As Secretary Gina says, “area development is about nurturing and helping the local people nurture their local areas to unleash [their]productive potential”. This means making development based on the potentialities of the area. This is the better opposite to what has been going on since the Philippines became a country under colonial masters where the desires of the corporations were simply imposed on local areas that suited their businesses. And since business was all that mattered, they generally left the place worse off and, in many instances killing off the ecosystem that the locals could have relied on for sustenance. The zenith of this “devil may care” attitude seems to be the guiding principle of many large mines that decimate the geological and hydrological functions of the ecosystem leaving the locals in perpetual risk and scamming the Filipino people by leaving behind a permanent pit hole of humongous dimensions. It wouldn’t be surprising if the economic tab left behind by derelict mines long abandoned by mining companies that have been in turn abandoned by their shareholders are simply dumped on you and me, the taxpayers. Secretary Gina calls this “madness”.

Under the principle of subsidiarity, it is government’s role to assist local people co-create local sustainable economies based on the perpetual beneficial use of the local ecosystem bounties for even distant future generations. Thus, the shift towards federalism is timely in that area development and subsidiarity are wholly compatible with federalism. In fact, they are necessary complements to genuine federalism. Where unitarism (our present centralized system) brought us corporate-led sectoral and highly inequitable development, federalism should usher in community-based, ecosystem-sensitive area development that gives everyone who wants a chance to participate in the local economy that opportunity.

Thus, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is leading the way by selecting 29 priority areas to demonstrate area development and is enlisting the help of the Sixto K. Roxas Foundation that targets poverty eradication by creating the template of an expanded local social accounting matrix of the value-adding power of the local sectors and how incomes are distributed (or not distributed locally but remitted out of the local area). Secretary Gina wants all programs of the DENR like the National Greening Program, Bamboo Program, Biochar Program, Mangrove Rehabilitation Programs, and Mining Programs to be re-crafted along the principles of area development with its concrete manifestation of viable community enterprises that are networked to build up to scale and demonstrate the opposite of “trickle-down” (pinatulo) towards the alternative of “nurturing upwards,” or pinatubo.

President Duterte seems to be instinctively aware that the ideological lines are not anymore between the “left vs. the right,” the old Cold War mentality of these old ideologies (that ironically are united in their pinatulo paradigm as both ideologies rely on trickle-down sectors to benefit the locals) but between the primacy of nurturing people and ecosystems versus sectoral corporations (that have grown so large, moneyed and powerful), or in other words “pinatulo” vs. “pinatubo”. Thus, the push for federalism as a government organizational set-up where now, finally, area development can be its favored bride guided by the vow of subsidiarity.|(Special Feature) Philip Camara, The Manila Times

News

Reforestation areas to be developed as green economy models

 

 

A “Green Economy Model” (GEMs) orientation for the selected 2017 e-NGP PO partners was conducted particularly to the members of the Bulo Farmers Association based in Bulo, Tabuk City, Kalinga in February 26, 2018.

The activity was facilitated by Miss Melanie M. Pis-oy and Ms. Alma I. Dajoya from the DENR Regional Office together with Ms. Sheila B. Bakidan, Ms. Novalyn Dacay-og, Ms. Libertee Da-o, and Ms. Hazel Gay Lay-asan, Forestry Technicians of CENRO Tabuk.

Since it is a mandate of the law to ensure that gender and equality shall always be incorporated in every activity and in introducing development intervention inclusive growth, Ms. Pis-oy discussed the topic on Gender and Development. She emphasized that gender equality is vital in every development endeavor.  In every work, more hands are needed, men and women need to be empowered too.

The GEM was presented by Ms. Dajoya who discussed the guidelines in the operation and transition of the DENR’s programs and projects into GEMs as provided by DAO 2017-08.

Dajoya emphasized that GEMs aim to transform DENR programs and projects into GEMs where household members create sustainable goods and services for the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems and create viable community enterprises where households are the focal members and players in creating value-added environmental products and services.  It also moves to accelerate the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems and promote the protection of the environment through the creation of green jobs.

Based from the objectives, GEM is a holistic approach in forest conservation. The Department is now shifting into a new paradigm from its usual practice that restoration of degraded forest land is merely through reforestation and agro-forestry. With this new program, the DENR together with the Community people will treat hills and mountains especially the e-NGP sites as enterprises in accordance with the plans and interest of the PO members.

The main output of the activity was to come up with a business plan. It was agreed by the group that they will go into wine production, chili paste, and banana chips processing. The needed raw data will be identified by the PO members while the drafting of the business proposal and business plan were assigned to the PO president with the assistance of GEM Focal person and assigned site manager. It is therefore important that the DENR personnel and employees shall possess the skills and passion to lead the POs in the realization of the GEM ultimate goals in the pursuit of sustainable economical and ecological development.

After the orientation, some of the participants visited the 2017 e-NGP as proposed GEMs site.  Their plantation was intercropped with agri-crops such as pegion pea, banana, beans and monggo.  With the collaboration of the members of the PO and the technical assistance by the DENR Technicians, the people will benefit from their reforestation areas.|SBakidan

Photo Releases

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION MATERIALS  - Resource speakers to the Learning Event discuss how to make effective communication materials.Prof. Fe Abalos (left) focuses on the content of the communication material while Instructor James Beltran (right) emphasized on the design and lay-out. Prof. Abalos (left) helps the participants in determining how to create the content by determining first who are the audience of the material while Mr. Beltran (right) shows how a certain picture used in the communication material would affect the “tone of the content” or “the emotion of the reader”|SJEMauting

DENR–CAR trainees. Some DENR – CAR employees closely follow instructions of Prof. Fe Abalos on how an IEC material, particularly on how a 3-fold brochure, should be laid out during designing process.  She also demonstrated how a brochure would look like when printed and folded.|SJEMauting

DENR–CAR CONDUCTS JINGLE WRITING CONTEST. First and Second Place Winners (left photo) of the DENR – CAR 2017 Jingle Writing Contest, Jesher Nicolas and Jirah Vercelyn Teliagen are with Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Atty. Crizaldy Barcelo (left photo-right end) and contest organizer Perlita Nerja (left photo-left end) and third placer, (right photo-right end) Cristifan Toring after receiving their cash prizes and Certificates of Appreciation. (Read more...)|SJEMauting

FOREIGN PATROLLERS - Beberly Calugan (left) of the DENR-CAR’s Enforcement Division assists the Indonesian visitors in handling the Lawin patrolling gadgets.  These gadgets are equipped with android applications with cyber tracking capacity and spatial monitoring and reporting tool to generate field data for speedier analysis and intervention.(Read more...)|AJTuraray

Bamboo Movement - Members of the Bantay Gubat put on the finishing touches while assembling bamboo shavings for a table during a bamboo furniture training-workshop.  The training was initiated by the DENR-CAR in partnership with DTI-CAR (Read more...|P. Abra, VIDeVera

THE WINNERS TO THE FIRST ENVIRONMENTAL QUIZ BEE. Together with the judges and the DENR Officials, the winners show off their Certificates and medals.  From left to right are three of the judges Mr. Jose Maria Bringas Madriaga, Ms. Michelli Lazo and Ms. Carmelita Bersalona Leano.  They are joined by PENR Officer of Abra For. Shirley Leano and Regional Director Ralph C. Pablo (Read more...) .|PTNerja