Area development, subsidiarity and federalism

Area development, subsidiarity and federalism

BY PHILIP CAMARA ON JANUARY 5, 2017

 

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.

The author, a co-convenor of the Subsidiarity Movement International and the Federalist Forum of the Philippines, advocates for the bottom-up development model as well as proper decentralization, and the strengthening of regional governance. He served for 12 years in the Regional Development Council of Central Luzon as chair of the economic committee. He was a consultant for the Philippine Alternative Fuels Corp. (PAFC) and was on the board of trustees of the HARIBON Foundation. He is currently a member of the board of advisors of CDPI.

News

DENR Sec Cimatu leads Ground Breaking Ceremonies in Bangui Ilocos Norte

DENR Sec Cimatu leads Ground Breaking Ceremonies in Bangui Ilocos Norte

 

 

Bangui, Ilocos Norte – Despite heavy downpour of rain triggered by typhoon “Inday”, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu made a drizzly working visit in his hometown Bangui, Ilocos Norte to lead the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Re- Development Old CENRO Bangui Building Office situated in Barangay Manayon, Bangui, Ilocos Norte last July 19, 2018. Secretary Cimatu was joined by DENR Region- I key officials led by Regional Director Reynulfo A. Juan, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB ) OIC, Regional Director Carlos A. Tayag, and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Regional Director Ma. Victoria Abrera.

The Secretary was warmly welcomed by DENR Ilocos Norte officials and personnel led by Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Victor Dabalos, Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Laoag City, Noemi Ruadap, OIC CENRO of Bangui Lina Ramoran together with the Secretary’s brother Bangui Municipal Mayor Fidel A. Cimatu, Jr. and Bangui local officials who joined the blessing and Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Old CENRO Bangui Building Office. The present new CENRO Bangui Office is located beside the old building and was constructed last February, 2013 during the term of then DENR Secretary Ramon Paje.

Before the ground breaking ceremonies, Secretary Cimatu had a hearty late lunch with DENR-I officials and cracked jokes with CENRO Bangui personnel and an informal meeting followed conveying the DENR’s important role in the Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Strategies after a Cabinet Cluster Meeting in Malacanang. RD Juan, RD Tayag and RD Abrera likewise, presented a short but vital audio- visual on environmental issues and concerns in the region particularly siltation concerns as a result of quarrying in Bued River, Pangasinan and the shoreline near Holcim Cement Plant in La Union; prohibited constructions and titled lots along navigable or floatable waterways within riverbeds: the issuance of Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) on mineral processing plants without permits: destruction of seabed and among others. In connection with the environmental issues, the Secretary reminded DENR Ilocos Region officials to maximize appropriate penalties regarding environmental laws. He also briefly cited the DENR's accomplishments in the on- going rehabilitation of world famous Boracay Island which he is presently leading together with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) after President Rodrigo Duterte gave a six- month period rehabilitation efforts to regain the natural and pristine beauty of the island.

In connection with Boracay rehabilitation, Cimatu discussed the plan of creating DENR Satellite Offices near beach resorts in the region and all over the country aimed to monitor sanitary conditions and environmental violations. Rampant environmental violations have been on- going for decades in coastal communities all over the Philippines and the creation of DENR satellite offices is so far the best solution to protect and conserve coastal environment and educate people residing along coastal areas.

The DENR Secretary’s fruitful working visit lasted until evening entertaining issues and concerns not only on DENR matters but also regarding local environmental issues. (G. Garcia – RPAO)

Photo Releases

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu visited his hometown in Ilocos Norte recently and made a side trip to Piddig, where he met with local officials to gain more insights on the ongoing development of the town’s model project under the national convergence initiative on coffee farming.

A Serpent Eagle was recently rescued from the Eco-Trail of Holcim Phils. Located in Quirino, Bacnotan, La Union last July 21, 2017.  The said eagle was allegedly trapped at a cage which Holcim provided to feed some 20 species of migratory birds gliding within the area.  It was found that the said eagle could not make its way out from the cage, reason for the workers to save the struggling eagle from being trapped.  Spilornis Cheela is the scientific name of the Crested Serpent Eagle which was named “Kailian,” coined from the local term of “Kababayan or Kabayan.”  Holding “Kailian” during the ceremonial release on July 25, 2017 are Bacnotan Mayor Francis Fontanilla (on blue collared shirt) and Holcim Plant Manager Eraño Santos.  Looking on are DENR1 representatives, Wildlife Handler Joe Nullar, Enforcement Division Chief Atty. Arlene Buduhan and Cora Pugal of the Wildlife Conservation Division.  DENR1-RePAO

DENR Chief Sec. Roy A. Cimatu as he turns-over the DENR1 Flag of Leadership to Regional Director Reynulfo A. Juan while RD Paquito T. Moreno looks on (R)

New DENR 1 RD Reynulfo A. Juan delivers his acceptance speech during the Turn-over Ceremony

New DENR 1 RD Reynulfo A. Juan’s smile shows a sincere commitment in upholding the DENR mandate

The Officials on the Presidential Table (L-R) LMB Dir. Atty. Emelyne Talabis, BM Francisco “Kit” Ortega Jr., EMB1 RD Ma. Victoria Abrera, DENR1 RD Reynulfo A. Juan, ASec. Marcial Amaro, Jr., DENR ARD-TS Gwendolyn Bambalan and MGB1 RD Carlos Tayag.

DENR Assistant Secretary Marcial C. Amaro Jr. enjoins the participants to identify activities that will put a stop on destructive activities along the coastlines of Ilocos Region.

Pangasinan 2nd District Representative Leopoldo N. Bataoil manifested his support to the undertaking

RD Reynulfo A. Juan as he encouraged everyone to be part of the solution to the glaring environmental concern.

BM Kit Ortega highlights on educating the youth on the value of environmental protection

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu with USec. Jonas Leones (left photo) offered a fruit bearing seedling to the gradeschool pupils of Barit Elementary School as a gesture of commitment that the youth will play vital role in protecting the environment from exploitation. Right Photo shows Sec. Cimatu signs on the Pledge of Commitment Wall. #TayoAngKalikasan

Photo shows DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu (5th from left) leads the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Re- Development Old CENRO Bangui Bldg. together with DENR-I key officials led by RD Reynulfo A. Juan and Bangui Mayor Fidel Cimatu, Jr.

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