The Visayas leg of the nation- wide series of consultation workshops on the Country Level Evaluation (CLE) in the Implementation of the Paris Declaration in the Philippines was conducted in Cebu City last December 1, 2010 at the Rajah Park Hotel.
The one day workshop was attended by 44 participants from 35 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Samar, Leyte, Panay and Negros Island, a representative from the CLE team, a representative from National Economic Development Authority-Project Monitoring Staff (NEDA-PMS) and two from AidWatch Philippines.
The workshop was conducted in two parts. In the morning, Jazminda Lumang of AidWatch Philippines gave the introduction of the meeting, the basic issues and questions regarding Aid, the Paris Declaration and the CSOs’ participation on the issue of aid effectiveness while Lirio Abuyuan of the CLE Team presented the draft final report of the CLE Phase 2. An open forum was facilitated after the two inputs.
In the afternoon, Lumang presented the CSO initiatives on Aid Effectiveness post- ACCRA while Mr. Vince Cinches, Executive Director of the Fisherfolks Development Center (FIDEC, Inc.) in Cebu presented a case study on the ODA funded Coal-fired Power Plants in the province. Another open forum was facilitated after these two inputs
After the open forum on the abovementioned inputs, a workshop was facilitated among the participants on the different existing ODA projects in the Visayas since 2005, the issues surrounding these projects, the projects’ impact on the communities and the CSOs perspectives on these projects. A plenary which presented the reports and came up with different recommendations culminated the workshop.
Some key points, questions, issues and recommendations were raised during open forum and plenary of the workshop.
In the morning session, participants were able to raise their questions regarding the CLE process and mechanism and concerns on the existing ODA projects in the Visayas. Abuyuan, Lumang and Ms. Malou Eudela of the NEDA-PMS answered, noted and processed the points raised in the open forum.
In summary, the major points were:
- The indicators used in the CLE showed a little of the CSOs and grassroots organizations’ perspectives. Case in point, Dr. Erlinda Yap-Posadas of the Visayas Primary Health Care Services, Inc (VPHCS) pointed out that contrary to the CLE report, there is an overwhelming neglect in Public Health care delivery in the country as evidenced in the public hospitals like the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center where patients overflow along its hallways. Yap- Posadas expressed that the harsh reality of people dying because of the government’s non-provision of public health care be brought up to the 2011 High Level Forum in Korea.
- The participants raised the question of what mechanisms CSOs can utilize so as the efforts (e.g. campaigns, protests, dialogues) put into the issues regarding ODA projects will result into what the people need. To which, Abuyuan said that there are many existing mechanisms for CSOs to utilize. However, Abuyuan also said that if the government agencies are not doing their parts, CSOs must be the one to work on it through their own efforts and that CSOs should not be dependent on government agencies when it comes to affecting change in the issues around ODA. Lumang expressed that there is a need for concrete evidences that will give meat to the claims and protests against these projects as well as active engagement with agencies concerned such as NEDA, people from donor countries and the donor agencies. Lumang added that there is a need fro CSOs to understand how the government operates regarding the ODA projects.
- Ownership is a major issue in terms of the ODA implementation in the Visayas. The communities are victimized rather than benefited by the projects. The mega-dams of Bohol under the Bohol Irrigation Projects I, II and III do not have enough water to irrigate its supposed service areas even as the farmers continue to pay different kind of fees. Through all these irrigation projects funded by JICA, there was no proper consultation among the communities affected. People’s organizations in the communities and CSOs launched international campaigns against these projects. Despite of the the BHIPs being faile dprojects, they are now being continued through the Korean government funding. Aside from environmental degradation, these projects worsened the poeple’s economic conditions. Same is true with the South Reclamation Project (SRP) in Cebu. Cebu participants pointed out that with the SRP, many fisherfolks have become porters, scrap metal scavengers and laborers in the makets which decreased gravely their incomes. Lumang pointed out that once the people have the sense of ownership towards these projects, they will be willing to pay corresponding fees and other issues will be dealt with accordingly among the government and the communities.
- It was also raised that there is lack of understanding on what ODA really means on the grassroots level. (e.g. the funds are to be paid by the people themselves in the form of taxes, etc.)
- Corruption is also a major issue raised in the open forum with regards to the ODA projects. Participants said that huge amounts of funds in ODA projects go to politicians/government officials’ pockets.
- The need for capacity building among CSOs in engagements and dealing on the different issues of aid effectiveness and in specific projects.
- Indemnification of victims of ODA projects is also a major issue raised in the open forum. Estrella Catarata of Central Visayas Farmers Development Center (FARDEC) sighted displacements of families from their households and economic activities as major results of ODA funded projects. For instance, Rey Luchana of Dagohoy, Bohol sighted that farm lands bulldozed to make way for the failed Malinao dam has remained useless or not utilized by farmers for 13 years now. Also, more than 1,000 hectares of cornfields were converted into ricefields for the same irrigation project in Bohol and are now wasted because of the dam’s failure to irrigate the said farm lands.
- Environmental degradation is another major issue. Participants of the workshop pointed out that almost all of the ODA-funded projects result/contribute to the massive destruction of the environment.
- On the other hand, the participants registered that the CSOs in the Visayas have been very active in the people’s battle against the negative impacts of the ODA projects. The campaign against the SRP and BHIP in Central Visayas reached international grounds. Furthermore, the Japanese government actually stopped funding BHIP as a result of the massive campaigns launched by the partnership of the CSOs and the People’s organizations in Central Visayas.
During the afternoon session, Lumang highlighted in her discussion on CSOs’ initiatives on aid effectiveness after ACCRA, the different levels and arenas AidWatch Philippines have engaged into and that of other CSOs in the country and in the international community.
Moreover, Lumang stressed that AidWatch will have to:/
- Come up with an independent report on the implementation of the Paris Declaration in the Philippines.
- Conduct case studies that will give evidence/meat on the claims of the CSOs and communities on the impacts of ODA projects to the people and the environment.
- Work on convening “Parliamentarians for Better Aid”
As a challenge, Lumang pointed out that regardless of the 2011 Korea HLF, the tasks of the CSOs are here in the country.
For his part, Cinches presented the case of the coal-fired power plants (CFPP)project in the province of Cebu funded by the Asian Development Bank and the CSOs’ campaign against it which is already gaining grounds.
The campaign against CFPP is being spearheaded by FIDEC, FARDEC, Community Empowerment Resource Network (CERNET) and the Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC).
This project is only the 2nd in the Philippines to have been served with a Temporary Restraining Order.
The campaign against the CFPPs in Cebu is the only campaign, according to Cinches that has used legal, metalegal and scientific means. It is seen to be of big help in the region in terms of the many lessons that can be learned from it, especially that of other campaigns related to environmental protection.
In the open forum which preceeded Cinches’ presentation, some points were made:
- In Ilo-ilo city, CFPPs remain to be a problem. In fact, Marjo Labinghisa of Panay Center for Disaster Response stated that two children have died as indirect result of the CFPP in Ilo-ilo city.
- Like in Panay, the so called lack of power is being used by the proponents of the CFPP in Cebu as an excuse to implement the project. The proponents want the CFPP in Cebu to be operational come January 2011.
- Cinches said that there is a need to substantiate data and establish these as direct results of the CFPP. However he also said that it should be the burden of the proponents to make sure that their projects are safe and environment-friendly. Furthermore, they willl be conducting a scientific evaluation of the CFPP this month.
- Geraldine Labradores of Solidarity for People’s Advocacy Network (SPAN-Central Visayas) stated that AidWatch should monitor local projects, quickly support campaigns and help in mobilizing the broadest of local and international groups.
- Lumang said that AidWatch can also help in facilitating dialogues/engagements with ADB. She added though, that the project could be part of the public-private partnership that is being pushed by the current administration.
- Myrissa Tabao of the Foundation for Philippine Environment added that people from Mindanao are looking at Cebu as they are also confronted with the issue of CFPP as power supply for mines that will be opened.
- The issue of the CFPPs should be brought up to the HLF4.
After the open forum, the participants were divided into workshop groups. The workshop was aimed at consolidating an island-wide picture of ODA issues towards building a national database on aid related-issues since 2005 onwards, identify needs and priorities as well as develop corresponding campaigns and programs for 2011 and draw up a program of action in preparation for the HLF4.
After the workshop, each group reported and presented their workshop paper.
While there are specific issues in each of the provinces in terms of the types of ODA projects, glaring similarities are evidenced on the issues surrounding the projects: environmental destruction, negative impacts on health and economic displacements.
For the program of action, common among the provinces were: pushing for the indemnification of victims of the projects, mobilization of communities and networks, information dissemination and scientific studies on the projects.
After the workshop reports, the participants came up with recommendations and program of action up to the first quarter of 2011.
- For the ODA concerns such as data gathering, updates and list of projects for inventory, it was suggested that CSOs engage with local Planning and Development offices in the municipal and provincial levels, local NEDA offices, the Department of Interior and Local Government, local development councils and Barangay development councils.
- Engage international groups and strengthen international solidarity through the church such as the Korean counterpart of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart or the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.
- In preparation for the Korea HLF4, Cebu CSOs can host a meeting of CSOs in the first quarter of 2011.
- Local formation of networks/ AidWatch formations in the regional level.
- NEDA can be engaged directly for support in meetings and other activities
- Independent country level report must be done along with development-results report.
- The participants agreed that in the regional campaign against the negative impacts of ODA and aid effectiveness, the ’banner issue’ for the region is the CFPP and food sovereignty which can carry out the major concerns of the CSOs and the communities in ODA projects: environment, health and economic displacement. Local/provincial CSOs will immediately meet for this.
- The regional gathering for the campaign will also be within the first quarter of 2011. FIDEC, FARDEC, CERNET and PEJC will lead the campaign and be in charge of involving and engaging other CSOs and concerned agencies.
In closing, Dr. Oliver Gimenez, CERNET executive director raised the following points:
- CSOs and POs are faced with many challenges especially in mobilizing resources
- There is a need fro CSOs to calculate engagements with different agencies
- CSOs must push through with its core tasks of educating, organizing and mobilizing towards development effectiveness
Visayas-wide CSO-NEDA workshop in preparation for the 2011 HLF4
December 1, 2010/Rajah Park Hotel, Cebu City
List of Participants
|ANALYN MIRANO||PDG, INC.|
|VALERIE JAN LONGAKIT||USPF-COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT|
|FRANCE VELOSO||WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTER VISAYAS|
|FR. MARS CARABIO||IFI|
|JENNIFER EBRADO||CEBU RELIEF AND REHABILITATION CENTER|
|TESSIE JAGMOC||RURAL CONCERNS NETWORK|
|RITCHE NELLAS||COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT RESOURCE NETWORK|
|UBO PAL (?)||GIS-|
|VINCE CINCHES||FIDEC, INC.|
|FR. JESS DUMUAL||MSC|
|DIVINAGRACIA MALICAY||VIHDA, INC.|
|ERLINDA YAP-POSADAS||VPHCS, INC.|
|ESTRELLA CATARATA||FARDEC, INC.|
|JESSICA PEJO||PASIL WOMEN’S ORGANIZATION|
|ANGELIE MARENGGA||PASIL WOMEN’S ORGANIZATION|
|JACK JACELA||TASK FORCE-PARTICIPATORY LOCAL GOVERNANCE|
|ATTY. GLORIA RAMOS||PHILLIPINE EARTH JUSTICE CENTER|
|SENONA ALQUIZALAS||CHILDREN’S LEGAL BUREAU|
|CATALINA JACELA||TULUNGHAAN SA DALAN|
|ARMI CORNEA||TULUNGHAAN SA DALAN|
|MYRISSA TABAO||FOUNDATION FOR PHILIPPINE ENVIRONMENT|
|NERISSA DIEZ||SHARE A CHILD MOVEMENT, INC.|
|MARIA IRA PAMAT||SPAN-BOHOL|
|ATTY. ALMA APARECE||ASIA CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE FUTURES|
|MARJO LABINGHISA||PANAY CENTER FOR DISASTER RESPONSE|
|RUTH SALDITOS||FAIR TRADE FOUNDATION-PANAY|
|REV. JEAN||UCCP-SOUTHERN LEYTE|
|BERT ADA||FARMERS LINK|