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

Sec. Cimatu visits Ilocos, lauds convergence initiative in Piddig

Sec. Cimatu visits Ilocos, lauds convergence initiative in Piddig

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (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.

Initiated by former two-term Piddig mayor Eddie Guillen, a civil engineer and current consultant of the Municipal Mayor’s Office, the 1,750-hectare coffee development project in Piddig is now gaining ground to achieve its ultimate purpose of alleviating poverty by providing sustainable livelihood, both in upland and lowland communities.

At first, Guillen recalled that he was able to convince the DENR to fund nurseries for lowland and highland coffee farming as part of its National Greening Program (NGP). The rest is history as other national government agencies and farmers’ organizations threw their support to this national convergence program for coffee.

How the local government unit of Piddig put together these government agencies to support this largest convergence initiate program is “impressive”, said Cimatu as he noted this can be replicated by other local government units nationwide through the enhanced NGP program.

“I was touched by this program and I am proud we have a (former) mayor like him (Guillen) who initiated it. It looks like a very simple program on NGP but there is more to it if we go beyond other concepts to make it successful,” Cimatu said.

After a short briefing at the municipal hall, Cimatu along with other national and regional top officials of the DENR went to Sitio Lammin to check on the coffee development project.

Describing his former work in the military as a tough job, he said being appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the new DENR Secretary is also tough as it came as a surprise to him but he told Ilocanos, “I will do my best to protect the environment”.

“The landscape is no longer the battle field but the landscape is nature itself. Perhaps, this is now my final chapter,” Cimatu added.

Photo Releases

PREPARATION FOR 2016 – Staff of PENROs and CENROs in Region 1 together with the Licensing Patent and Deeds Division durng the target setting and action planning workshop for 2016.

WETLANDS FOR OUR FUTURE – In celebration of the World Wetlands Day (WWD) on February 2, 2016, the City of San Fernando in La Union through the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO) spearheaded a mangrove planting in different barangays including Pagdalagan, Catbangen, Bangcusay, San Vicente and Carlatan. Various national government agencies, non-government organizations, students, teachers and barangay officials participated and showed their support on the advocacy of protecting and preserving the nation’s wetlands.  A coastal clean-up ... Read More

KIDS TO FOREST PROGRAM (K2F) IN REGION I FORMALIZED. Institutional partners of the K2F Region 1 have formally committed to support K2F through a Memorandum of Partnership Agreement (MOPA) signing held on May 5, 2016 at the Provincial Capitol of La Union. Institutional partners include DENR Region 1,... Read More

TURNOVER OF KEY OF RESPONSIBILITY – (Left) Former Ilocos Sur OIC PENR Officer Benjamin Abucay congratulates new PENR Officer Raymundo C. Gayo as new head of office in the province of Ilocos Sur. (Right) While For. Francisco Arenas accepts the challenge and opportunity to be the new CENR Officer of CENRO Bantay.

HANDS ON TRAINING/WORKSHOP – Records Officers, Systems Analyts, LAMS Operators from Regions 1, 2, 3, CAR and NCR undergo a step-by-step hands-on LAMS Philippines training with the guidance and supervision of the Land Management Bureau.

DENR-1 JOINS 18TH FOUNDATION ANNIVERSARY OF THE CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Clad in yellow shirts DENR-1 personnel showed support during the Grand Civic and Military Parade of the 18th Cityhood Celebration of the City of San Fernando in the province of La Union on March 18, 2016. Various schools, government agencies and non-government agencies marched along the streets of SFC in this year’s grand celebration. During the parade, DENR-1 personnel showcased a headdress in commemoration of the 2016 World Wildlife Day celebrated during the 3rd day of March with the theme “the future of wildlife is in our hands”.

WALK FOR JUANA – In line with the celebration  of Women’s Month, DENR-1 personnel including the  Environmental Management Bureau, Mines and Geosciences Bureau and PENRO La Union employees actively participated during the inter-agency activities conducted by the Regional Advocates for Gender Equality (RAGE I) on March 16, 2016 at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University Mid-La Union Campus. The activities include a funwalk, cheering completion, and parlor games.

159 DENR-1 NEWLY APPOINTED AND PROMOTED EMPOYEES TAKE OATH – As part of the continuous implementation of the DENR Rationalization Plan, a total of 159 newly appointed and promoted employees from the Regional Office, PENROs and CENROs took oath on March 22, 2016 at the DENR-1 Social Hall, DENR building, Sevilla, San Fernando City La Union. Regional Director Paquito T. Moreno administered the oath taking ceremony together with Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Pedro L. Noble and Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Gwendolyn C. Bambalan. During his message, RD Moreno encouraged the employees to stay committed and dedicated to their respective positions while embodying DENR’s ideals and aspirations and mobilizing the citizenry in protecting, conserving and managing the natural resources.

15TH ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY – DENR-1 Employees Multi-purpose Cooperative held their 15th Annual General Assembly on March 23, 2016 at the Social Hall, DENR building, Sevilla, San Fernando City La Union with the theme “Financial Stability through Cooperative”. Elected Board of Directors including Mr. Jimmy Santos, Atty. Hipolito Salatan, Ms. Amalia Menzi, Ms. Georgina Barrona and Mr. Camilo Domingo took their oath of office before the members of the cooperative. 

KAPIHAN SA ILOCOS – DENR-1 Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Gwendolyn C. Bambalan discusses environmental programs, projects and events on March 9, 2016 during a press conference at the Philippine Information Agency, San Fernando City La Union. Also featured in the said media activity were Kids to Forest Young Earth Ambassadors James Darylle Rey and Cesar Ariola, Jr. Rey and Ariola shared their stories on how they initiated change in their family, peers, school and community towards caring for the environment. The Kapihan sa Ilocos, held every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month is a one-hour live program aired over three radio stations in the La Union and Dagupan.

DENR-1 PROMOTES TEAMWORK AND CAMMARADERIE IN SPORTSFEST 2016 – Highlighting the athletic skills and physical prowess of DENR-1, EMB-1 and MGB-1 officials and employees, the DENR-1 Sportsfest 2016 last December 20-21, 2016 at the Wallace Air Station, San Fernando City La Union served as an avenue to strengthen teamwork and promote camaraderie and sportsmanship. Divided into four (4) teams (Team blue-Technical Services, Team Red-Management Services, Team Black-Environmental Management Bureau and Team Yellow-Mines and Geosciences Bureau), employees competed in five (5) sports categories namely basketball, badminton, table tennis, chess and tug of war. Also, a fun run activity and zumba session was held before the opening rites of the sportsfest. At the kickoff ceremony of the said event, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Gwendolyn C. Bambalan encouraged each team to do their best in each game but also to enjoy and respect their co-players. (Felisandelle C. De Vera, RPAO-1)

National Youth Council, Commissioner-at-large Paul Anthony M. Pangilinan delivers his piece on the importance of cooperation and active participation of the different agencies.

CONVERGENCE AND COLLABORATIVE EFFORT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND FOR THE PEOPLE:  (from left to right) Mangatarem Mayor Balong Ventenilla, Pangasinan Governor Amado “Pogi” I. Espino, III, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary  Regina Paz L. Lopez, Natural Resources Development Council President-Designate Sylvia Ordonez,  DENR -1 Regional Director Paquito T. Moreno, Jr. CESO III, >>> Read More >>>

Former Mayor and now consultant Eddie Guillen (l) of Piddig shows to DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and Region 1 Director Paquito T. Moreno, Jr. the map of the Lammin Coffee Plantation during the cabinet secretary’s visit here on June 2, 2017.

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