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

DENR-CAR launches 1st Regional Cave Congress

 

Abundant in a variety of trees, rich in different kinds of rock formations and blessed with clean rivers and falls; a province of sincerely conserved environment in the Cordilleras, no wonder it’s been titled, “The Last Nature Frontier of the Cordilleras.”

Have you guessed where this is? If you’ve got it right, it’s Apayao. A truly remarkable province. Warm as it may be but it upholds that essence of “nature at its best.”

With its title alone, it calls for further protection and preservation of its nature. Republic Act No. 9072 otherwise known as “National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act” states that it is the policy of the State to conserve, protect and manage natural wealth and heritage which includes cave and cave resources.

In support to this, with the initiative of Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR) in collaboration with the provincial and municipal Local Government Units of Apayao, Department of Tourism-CAR, Civil Society Organizations and Apayao State College, a Regional Cave Congress took place on April 20-21 in the province of Apayao specifically in the municipality of Luna where Dupag Rock Formation, Lussok cave, and Manacota cave and Underground River resides.

There were over 110 attendees composed of tourism officers, local tour guides, students, concerned government employees and cave enthusiasts all-over Cordillera and neighboring province.

Gov. Elias Bulut Jr. also supported this event to help in the protection of the province’s nature and also convinced other locals to join the Congress to gain more knowledge on how to take better care of Cordillera’s “Last Nature Frontier” which is also their home.

DENR-CAR Representative, For. Henry Valleros talked about the Philippine Laws, Rules and Regulations concerning caves; caves as ecotourism destinations; cave management planning and implementation; and survey, assessment, validation and classification of caves.

For. Wrexton Afidchao discussed on conducting surveys in caves and safe cave exploration. He also gave guidelines on how to protect yourself and minimize disturbance of wildlife when exploring caves starting with the use of protective gears and wearing proper attire.

Cave enthusiast couple Eric Bangad of Sang-at Salve Outdoor Club and wife Prissy Bangad of Gaia Exploration Club also shared their knowledge and experiences in caving.

Robert Pangod, the Tourism Officer of Sagada, warned of the effects of tourism boom in Apayao. As observed in Sagada, tourism boom has affected them in ways such as their culture and waste management. Anticipating more tourists for the province would have the need for extensive preparation and in as much as possible, the preservation of nature.

One of the best ways to ensure protection of our nature is knowing the “Why?” Ely Cadang of PENRO Nueva Vizcaya emphasized that if people have that love and care for their nature, they would have that sense of protection since “Human is the best caretaker of the environment.” He also gave the advised to make Apayao’s culture intact – not allowing foreign culture change their culture, despite tourist influx in the future.

Apayao Tourism Officer, Rebecca Mamba, also gave an introduction of Apayao’s history and landscapes in preparation for the adventure the following day.

Participants were able to experience the wonders of the caves and Dupag Rock Formation crossing rivers just to discover their hidden beauty.

The Dupag or Marag Rock Formations is a naturally designed landscape. With its sharp edges, locals were able to use it as their fort during the revolutionary years.

Fishes were evident in the Manacota Underground River as well as bats and other insects that prove sustained life in its cave.

Lussok cave astounds its visitors with its numerous chambers, underground creek and served as home to several bats.

Aiming to have the Regional Cave Congress at a regular basis, the host and participants gave suggestions for the next host province. Abra was taken into consideration.

Prior to the Congress, the Regional Cave Committee held a meeting on April 19 to evaluate on the recommended classification of five caves in the Region. In agreement, the following caves were categorized as Class II: Pita Cave of Bangued, Abra; Punsian Cave of Luna, Apayao; Dukligaw Cave of Kabugao, Apayao; and Takadang Cave of Tuba, Benguet. Pipingew Cave of La Trinidad, Benguet was sorted as Class 1. Class 1 are delicate caves limited only for mapping, photography, educational and scientific purposes; it is not open for the public while Class 2 is open to the public but must be accompanied with tour guides; some areas may have hazardous conditions and sensitive biological values. Lastly, Class 3 is generally safe to inexperienced visitors with no threat to its environment. These agreements will be forwarded to the DENR Secretary for issuance of classification order. |SJEMauting

Photo Releases

A team from CENRO Buguias headed by CENR Officer Rabindranath Quilala works together with Benguet Provincial Public Safety Command and PNP Buguias in hauling about 3, 000 bd. ft. of illegally sawn pine lumbers and slabs in Amgaleguey, Buguias on January 13.|C. Buguias, VSito

CENR Officer Rabindranath P. Quilala of DENR-CENRO Buguias gives his speech (top picture) during the formal presentation and courtesy visit  of the Deputized Environment and Natural Resources Officers (DENROs) (main picture) from the Municipalities of Atok, Bakun, Bokod,  Buguias, Kapangan. Kibungan and Tublay at the Provincial Capitol of Benguet last January 23, 2017 (Read more... )|Photo by C. Buguias

Dr. Marissa R. Parao (right), Dean of the College of Forestry, Benguet State University (CF-BSU) receives the eco bags from Ms. Perlita T. Nerja, Sr. Comm. Dev’t. Officer, DENR-CAR. The bags formed part of the information kits given during the 1ST International Conference on Forestry, Environment and Climate Change sponsored by the CF-BSU on January 12-13, 2017 at BSU, La Trinidad, Benguet. (Read more...) |GSAstudillo

CDD Chief For. Julius K. Cawilan presents DENR-CAR’s efforts in addressing Climate Change in the Cordilleras during the 1st International Conference on Forestry, Environment and Climate Change on January 12-13, 2017.(Read more...)|GSAstudillo

One, two, three, as Municipal Agricultural Officer (MAO) of A. Lista, Ifugao Engr. Eugene Culimay counts species of birds flying towards the bridge of Sto. Domingo, A. Lista, Ifugao, the second team and location of the ASIAN WATERBIRD CENSUS while (Read more...)|C. A.Lista, PBalao

Baguio City - UP Diliman Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry representative For. Gio Zaragosa explains to concerned DENR personnel how the Phil LiDAR Program works. This Program took off from the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation Program and branched into PHIL-LiDAR 1 and 2. (Read more...|SJEMauting

DENR-CAR LAMS Administrator Philippe Cosalan assists a Geodetic Engineer while facilitating the conduct of a training on “E-Survey Plan” held recently in Baguio City.  Cosalan explains to the participants the importance of learning and properly understanding how to operate the system.|SJEMauting

TOTAL UPGRADE. DENR-CAR Data Managers from different field offices listen intently to the instructions of Felix Gaschick, Biodiversity and Forestry Specialist for B+WISER during the Regional Workshop on Lawin Data Management from February 7-9, 2017 at the Eco Lodge, Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City. (Read more...)|AJTuraray

WE ARE ALL IN. DENR Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez (Center), MGB-CAR Director Fay W. Apil and DENR-CAR Director Ralph C. Pablo do a Team Hand – Stack with the leaders of the mining community of Sitio Loacan, Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet as they vow (Read more...)|AJTuraray

Regional Team Leaders listen intently to the instructions of Forester Eligio Soliman of the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) before the conduct of a controlled fire in a site in Sabkil, Itogon, Benguet. The activity form part of the Forest Fire Prevention and Management Training participated by DENR forest managers from Regions 1, 2 and CAR.|Photo by C. A.Lista

Tabuk City, Kalinga - Karen Razelle M. Duyan of PENRO Kalinga delivers a lecture on March 9, 2017 to students of Balawag National High School, Tabuk City.  Topic discussed focused  on Climate Change, its manifestation in the present times and its catastrophic effect on the planet should its inhabitants remain unconcerned. This regionwide environmental awareness campaign is in accordance to Republic Act 9512 known as the Environmental Awareness and Education Act.|P. Kalinga, JBalla-ao

Women Power. DENR women employees of PENRO Kalinga known as Women Change Movers dazzle in their dancing costume as they take part in the Women’s Month Celebration in the Province of Kalinga on March 9, 2017 at the Kalinga Provincial Gymnasium.|AJTuraray

DENR-CAR Representatives (left) hand over educational materials to the Principal and teachers (right) of Batad Elementary School, Banaue, Ifugao after conducting the school campus information dissemination specifically on environmental degradation. Mahogany and Narra seedlings were also given to be planted near the school in exchange for the donated books as part of the continuing Trees for Books, Books for Trees project of DENR-CAR.|SJEMauting

Awardees : Rizal Elementary School Principal Mr. Jackson T. Caya-os (second from left), joins the winners Aprilynne D. Campos, Journey Y. Remiendo and Alfred A. Wacdagan who were the declared winners of the Philippine Eagle Coloring Contest (Read more...)|ANBasali

Participants composed of tourism officers, local tour guides, students, concerned government employees and cave enthusiasts all over Cordillera and nearby province pose to attest the first ever Regional Cave Congress in the Philippines initiated by DENR-CAR.|SJEMauting

Wildlife Brahmmy Kite Eagle (left) and Hawk Eagle (right) are finally released within Mt. Sto. Tomas Forest Reserve on April 11 after being diagnosed and declared as “in good condition” by an accredited veterinarian. (Read more...)|SJEMauting

BAGUIO CITY - ARD Augusto D. Lagon (right)  of the DENR-CAR receives the plaque of appreciation and variety of Sylvatrop issues from Editor-in-Chief Dr. Bighani Manipula (center) and Dir. Carlos Arida of WWRRC (left). Sylvatrop is the technical journal of the Philippine Ecosystems and Natural Resources.(Read more...)|SJEMauting