The Mindanao leg, the last of the nation- wide series of NEDA-CSO consultation workshops on the Country Level Evaluation (CLE) of the Implementation of the Paris Declaration in the Philippines was conducted in Cagayan de Oro City last December 14, 2010 at the Dynasty Court Hotel.
The one day workshop was attended by 40 participants from 25 CSOs in the Northern Mindanao Region, CARAGA and Davao, the NEDA-Project Monitoring Staff Director, NEDA Region 10 official, a representative from Department of Agriculture Region 10, City Vice Mayor and three 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 Director Roderick Planta of NEDA Project Monitoring Staff presented the draft final report of the CLE Phase 2 with updates from a recent meeting of the International Reference Group in Bali, Indonesia. An open forum was facilitated after the two inputs.
In the afternoon, Lumang presented the CSO initiatives on Aid Effectiveness post- ACCRA, after which Rosalinda Tablang, AidWatch co-convenor and Executive Director of the Council for People’s Development and Governance presented the parallel process of Development Effectiveness, its principles and the Filipino CSOs’ engagements regarding this. After the two inputs, Dulphing Ogan of KALUMARAN, an organization of Indigenous People in the CARAGA region and Amirah Ali Lidasan of KALINAW (Peace)-Mindanao gave the Mindanao situation which showed the different development projects in the island and the people’s continuing struggle against the ill-effects of such, the human rights violations and militarization that they see as aspects of ‘development’. Another open forum was facilitated after these inputs.
After the open forum on the abovementioned inputs, a workshop was facilitated among the participants on the different existing ODA projects in Mindanao since 2005, the issues surrounding these projects, the projects’ impact on the communities and the CSOs’ perspectives regarding 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 forums 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 Mindanao. Planta, Lumang and Tablang answered, noted and processed the points raised in the open forum. Region 10 NEDA official Jaime Pacampara also answered some questions directed to him.
In summary, the major points were:
- On the issue of the different type of conditionalities raised by AidWatch as among the issues not addressed by the Paris Declaration, Director Planta pointed out that although there is a difference in perspective between CSOs and the government, the latter is improving. He cited that now, the government does not promise what it cannot deliver anymore. On the case of health, Planta said that it’s time to also look at local funding and monitor it aside from the ODA which constitutes small portion on the health sector.
- NEDA Region 10 official Jaime Pacampara raised the issue of ODA projects not processed properly from the time of the feasibility studies to implementation up to its completion. He asked Director Planta whether there is a cap limit for revisions in the projects in terms of financial and the form of the projects. He added that there are instances when ODA projects have good feasibility studies that are not validated in the fields. Dir Planta answered that the head offices are not given better options in terms of policies regarding these issues, by the offices in the regions/fields. He said that if the local offices have better policies, head offices should be informed so as to improve the processes.
- The issue of consultations with the CSOs was also raised. Participants pointed out that the CLE consultations may not have occurred while Planta said that there were but maybe with other CSOs. He also said that there is a need for a systematic partnership and engagements between the CSOs and the government.
- Another major issue was raised by Lidasan regarding the CLE2. Lidasan said that the CLE did not reflect some of the realities in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), especially in the government’s protection of civil and political rights. She said that ARMM, being bombarded by development projects from major donor agencies is a place where there are massive violations of human rights brought about by war and/or militarization. She also cited that in 2005, it can be remembered that major donor agencies called out for the stop of war in Mindanao because implementations of projects were being hampered. Planta explained on the other hand that the CLE was country to country and not within the country. Tablang on the other hand said that the appreciation of the indicators used in the CLE depends on the perspective of who are looking at it. Furthermore, Lumang said that AidWatch will be coming up with it independent report and different indicators.
- Edtami Mansayagan of Indigenous People’s organization SAMDHANA Institute on the other hand pointed that there is little priority in terms of indigenous people’s participations in relevant development issues when they are affected largely. He also added that despite the positive ratings that the government got from the CLE2 in the different indicators used, it is the communities who can really say whether the people are experiencing genuine development. Planta expressed the possibility of more engagements between CSOs and NEDA, and said for instance, a joint monitoring of projects can be conducted.
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. Lumang once again presented the plans of AidWatch Philippines to come up with an independent report on the implementation of the Paris Declaration in the country, continuous conduction of case studies on the impacts of ODA projects in the people and their communities and the convening of the Parliamentarians for Better Aid.
For her part, Tablang stressed on the important milestones in the Philippines CSOs’ engagements in the parallel process of development effectiveness in the country and globally. Among these milestones were the Philippine open forum on CSOs development effectiveness general assembly which gathered more than 40 organizations in the country and the creation of the Istanbul Principles on Development Effectiveness which binds CSOs in countries involved. Included in the Istanbul principles are upholding of human rights and women empowerment, among others.
After the inputs on CSOs initiatives Post-ACCRA, Lidasan and Ogan presented the Mindanao situation which showed the different development issues in the island, the state of human rights and the people’s response to these issues.
One of the highlights of the discussion on the Mindanao situation is the massive destruction of ancestral domain lands due to large-scale mining, power generation projects, big agri-businesses and other development projects. Most especially for the indigenous peoples, these projects caused displacements of homes and livelihoods and division among communities.
In the open forum that preceded the discussion on the Mindanao situation, the issue of power-generation projects and its privatization became the focus.
Among the major points were:
- Pacampara explained in the EPIRA law, the government is not allowed to invest in power thus the private sector involvement, as in the Pulangi 5, a dam project in Bukidnon. Furthermore, he said that projects undergo processes and that the government does not approve of projects without proper consultations conducted among the affected communities. However, Jomorito Goaynon of KALUMBAY, an indigenous people’s group in Bukidnon said that there was not a genuine consultation between the project personnel and the communities. Instead, he said that a bogus signing of Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) form in their community. Members of the communities who signed the FPICs were not really aware of what they signed.
- Moreover, Ogan said that in the experience of the indigenous peoples, the implementation of such projects come along with massive government troops deployment in the project areas.
- It was also cited that big power-generation projects such as coal-fired power plants in Davao are not set-up to generate energy/power for the majority of the population but for big businesses/ industries.
After the open forum, the participants were divided into groups according to their regions for the workshop on ODA projects in Mindanao. The workshop was aimed at coming up with a database of each of the ODA projects identified- its status, the process of implementation, people’s response and the communities’ needs among others.
There were three groups: Northern Mindanao Region, CARAGA and Davao.
Each of the three regions has particular projects but the similarities in the projects are largely involving power generations, dams and mining. On the other hand, there is massive destruction of ancestral domains, displacement of indigenous peoples and human rights violations perpetrated by government troops.
Among the needs of the communities were research, studies and data-basing of the projects, education and awareness building.
For the plan of action, the participants identified the following to be conducted towards the 2011 HLF4 in Busan:
- ARMM consultation on ODA projects
- Power conference or an activity that will tackle the issue of power and its privatization
- Formation of local AidWatch
In closing, Pastor Beltran Pacatang of CONCORD Inc. encouraged the Mindanao CSOs to face the challenges in the issues of genuine development, engage the communities and other government agencies in different levels to further advance the people’s aims and aspirations.
40 INDIVIDUALS from 25 CSOs in the Northern Mindanao Region, CARAGA and Davao, NEDA- PMS, NEDA REGION 10, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE REGION 10, LGU and AidWatch Philippines.
NMR: 16 ORGANIZATIONS
CARAGA: 3 ORGANIZATIONS
DAVAO: 6 ORGANIZATIONS
List of Participants
|Kristine Gimongala||Community-Based Health Srevices- Northern Mindanao Region|
|Ian B. de la Rama||Mindanao Farmers Resource Center, Inc.|
|Wildon Barros||Northern Mindanao Labor Center for Education and Research|
|Gleceria J. Balangiao||MFRCI|
|Sheila Mae Bolivar||Healing Democracy|
|Maya Labendia||Advocates for Community Health, Inc.|
|Carol Abrio||Panday Bulig|
|Edtami Mansayagan||SADHANA INSTITUTE|
|Maria Gina Arayan||PARTNERS, INC.|
|Benjie Sambaan||Panday Bulig|
|Mae Fe Templa||In Peace Mindanao|
|Tyrone Velez||Barug Katungod Mindanao|
|Jessibel Marie Sanchez||Kalusugan Alang sa Bayan, Inc.|
|AJ Javier||BREAD, INC.|
|Emma Ricafort||Nonoy Librado Development Foundation|
|Quennie Oboy||In Peace|
|Amirah Ali Lidasan||KALINAW-Mindanao|
|VM Cesar Ian Acenas||LGU-CDO|
|Jaime Pacampara||NEDA- 10|
|Terence Krishna Lopez||AidWatch|