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 to spearhead synchronized coastal clean-up on International Coastal Clean-up Day

“Let us join millions of people around the globe in rehabilitating and cleaning our coastal areas, seas, rivers and waterways from marine debris that harm our marine life and ecosystems this International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day, September 16”, says Assistant Regional Director for Management Service and In-Charge of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 8 Arturo N. Salazar.

In observance of this year’s International Coastal Clean-up Day, the Conservation and Development Division of the DENR Regional Office and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) will spearhead a clean-up activity along the coast of Panalaron Bay, Cancabato Bay, San Pedro Bay and Mangonbangon River. The activity will start simultaneously in every designated area at six o’clock in the morning of September 16. After the cleanup, a short program will be held at Plaza Rizal, Tacloban City.

Nearly three hundred (300) volunteers will join the event. This includes partners from different agencies and civil society organizations such as ABS-CBN Bantay Kalikasan, Let’s Do It! Philippines, Philippine National Police, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and PCG-Auxiliary, Knights of Columbus, United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), Volunteer for the Visayans, Petron Corporation, Tacloban City Rescue Unit (TACRU), Rotary Club of Kandaya, SEED4Com, the city government of Tacloban and other national and local government agencies.

Information from the EMB states that for this year, an orchestrated cleanup will be conducted by donor-partners of the Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody Program. A synchronized coastal cleanup will also be spearheaded by different DENR field offices in other parts of the region.

The EMB also disclosed that recyclable wastes collected from the clean-up will be sold to junk shops. Proceeds will be donated to Tahanang Walang Hagdan, a non-government organization.

“We enjoin the active participation of the public in cleaning-up our waterways especially this International Coastal Clean-up Day and in ensuring a safe and sound environment beneficial to the health and well-being of the community”, says ARD Salazar.

The International Coastal Cleanup Day is being observed annually every third Saturday of September in consonance with Presidential Proclamation No. 470 signed on September 15, 2003 and consistent with Proclamation No. 244 declaring September as National Clean-up Month.

Photo Releases

Ms. Corazon Makabenta of DENR R8 (left) and representatives of different agencies forming the Samar Fellowship Circle show support for the Spark Samar Development Agenda. Also in photo is Samar Gov. Sharee Ann Tan - Delos Santos (center).

Participants of the tree planting activity in celebration of Philippine Arbor Day plant talisay seedlings at Brgy. Salvacion, Palo, Leyte

Women beneficiaries receive their Free Patents from (L-R) a representative of LGU Lilo-an, DENR CENRO San Juan Joejol Cuizon, and So. Leyte ROD Chief Lemy Lotero.

Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) released in Bobon, Northern Samar.

DENR 8 Regional Director Leonardo Sibbaluca presents a Certificate of Recognition to Barangay Chairman Noel Tabao for his assistance in implementing DENR programs and projects and strengthening the community’s resilience to climate change.

DENR Personnel takes two (2) baskets of Leyte pond turtles hidden under the seat of the public utility vehicle.

DENR 8 Regional Director Leonardo Sibbaluca highlights the role of youth in environmental protection during the 5th Regional Youth Day held in Naval, Biliran.

Atty. Lea Fuentes-Apdo representing Congresswoman Yedda Romualdez leads the ribbon cutting ceremony which marked the opening of the exhibit on DENR 8 Milestones and DENR regional office mini park held on World Environment Day – June 5. She is assisted by (L-R) ARD for Technical Services Carlito Tuballa, RD Leonardo Sibbaluca, MGB RD Raul Laput, EMB Division Chief Maribel Munsayac, and ARD for Management Services Arturo Salazar.

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