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 8 joins PH Haiyan’s Regional Climate Change Conference
    Thursday, December 14, 2017

    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in region 8 supported the recently conducted 2nd Regional Climate Change Conference spearheaded by PH Haiyan Advocacy Cooperative in cooperation with the Climate Change Commission. The event aimed at raising the awareness of the youth and urging them to become more actively involved in efforts to address the causes and impacts of climate change was attended by around eight hundred fifty (850) students from across Eastern Visayas.

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Photo Releases

Director Arleigh J. Adorable assumed office as new Regional Director of DENR region 8. His assumption to duty was witnessed by Assistant Secretary for Field Operations - Visayas Marcial Amaro, Jr., Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Carlito Tuballa, ARD for Management Service Arturo Salazar, MGB RD Raul Laput, EMB officer-in-charge Maribel Munsayac, and DENR 8 PENROs and CENROs. In his message, RD Adorable enjoined the DENR 8 workforce to work hand-in-hand as one family, saying "together, we shall achieve more".

RD Arleigh J. Adorable delivers speech during the Environmental Summit 2017 hosted by Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 8 with the theme: "Ako, Ikaw, Tayo ang Kalikasan"

Beneficiaries jubilantly display their Land Titles with Cong. Edgar Mary S. Sarmiento, RD Arleigh Adorable, ARD Carlito Tuballa and other government officials.

RD Arleigh J. Adorable delivers his message during the launching of Mount Nacolod Local Conservation Area (LCA) and MOA signing between the DENR, LGU and People's Organization held in Silago, Southern Leyte last November 09, 2017. Mt. Nacolod is one of the nine piloted LCAs in the country. It is home to 229 flora species, mammals, and diverse set of birds, including the Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematurupygia), the Visayas wattled-broadbill (Sarcophanops samarensis) and hornbill.

RD Arleigh J. Adorable (middle) visits the mangrove nursery of Barangay Burayan in San Jose, Tacloban City during a mangrove planting activity held in the area which was participated by DENR employees and the local community in celebration of the Environmental Awareness Month, Climate Change Consciousness Week, and the Clean Air Month (also in photo, Brgy. Chairman Jan Michael De Veyra (left) and ARD for Technical Service Carlito M. Tuballa (right)).

RD Arleigh J. Adorable delivers his message during the National Land Administration and Management System (LAMS) 3rd Quarter Assessment which was hosted by DENR Region 8. LAMS is an information system designed to provide effective management of land records and efficient delivery of land transactions and information services to the public.

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