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 spearheads tree planting in celebration of Philippine Arbor Day

ArborDayThe Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in region 8 highlights the celebration of this year’s Philippine Arbor Day by spearheading a tree planting activity at Brgy. Salvacion, Palo, Leyte.


The event was participated by over two hundred (200) volunteers from the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Education (DepEd), local government unit of Palo, barangay local government unit of Salvacion, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Tacloban Chapter, Pepsi Cola, Office of Leyte 1st District Representative Yedda Romualdez, DENR regional office, CENRO Palo, PENRO Leyte, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Read more...

Photo Releases

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez leads employees of DENR region 8 in an oath to take care of the environment and be better stewards of the earth. Employees also committed to work for integrity, public service, and common good. The oath of commitment was made by the employees during the visit of Secretary Lopez to DENR regional office on January 16, 2016.

DENR 8 Regional Director Leonardo Sibbaluca presents the region’s central nursery and the 12-hectare Leyte Gulf Mangrove Rehabilitation Project site at Brgy. Anibong, Tacloban City to Green Climate Fund (GCF) Director Javier Manazares (seated, 3rd from left) and Demetrio Innocenti (seated, 4th from left). The project implemented in 2014 in the hardest hit provinces of Leyte, Samar, and Eastern Samar by Typhoon Yolanda envisions to restore the lush mangroves in said areas, emphasizing on the crucial role these mangroves play in protecting the coastline, preventing coastal erosion, serving as buffer for tidal currents and storm driven waves, and mitigating the unavoidable impacts of climate change. GCF visited the area for an ocular inspection in response to the request of Secretary Lopez for financial assistance in support to the department’s programs and projects on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Also in photo are (seated L-R) ERDB Director Henry Adornado, ASec Junie Hernandez, Assistant Secretary Evelyn Cruzada of the Performance and Projects Management Office, office of the Cabinet Secretary.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in region 8 recognizes the important role played by indigenous communities in the protection and preservation of the region’s protected areas. In photo is the Mamanwa Indigenous Community in Burauen, Leyte joining this year’s Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park Outdoor Festival held on February 3, coinciding with the declaration of MVNP as a protected area under the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) Act. The event intends to showcase the natural park as a home to various species of flora and fauna including the Philippine Eagle, and promote the preservation of the rich biodiversity in the area. 

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