The opportunity to accomplish my mission why I chose to work in the local government came wrapped up in the response of the Philippine Government to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. To fulfill in part the commitments made by the country to this historic meeting, the Philippine Agenda 21 was formulated, where government and key sectors of society agreed to implement an action agenda for sustainable development, known as the Agenda 21. Among the existing and ongoing initiatives related to sustainable development that served as the basis for PA 21 is the Human and Ecological Security (HES).
The Gathering on Human and Ecological Security (GHES) held on June 15-17, 1995 at the Philippine International Convention Center resulted in the issuance by then President Fidel V. Ramos of various directives mandating the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local authorities to implement the agreements reached during the said conference. In the case of the Municipality of Rosario, the national implementation of Agenda 21 down to the barangay level was made part of its Human and Ecological Security Program.
At this point, it is but proper that I give credit to DILG Municipal Local Government Operations Officer (MLGOO) Pedro "Ed" Mendoza for highly recommending me to Mayor Rodolfo G. Villar that I be made a member of the core group who attended the Trainors' Training on Human and Ecological Security, Social Reform Agenda/Minimum Basic Needs (MBN) Approach on November 14-17, 1995 conducted jointly by the DILG and the Provincial Government of Batangas.
The members of the master mind group who served to implement the HES Plan in the municipality of Rosario are:
- Manuel Luis Quizon - designated Sustainable Development Action Officer (SDAO) by the Municipal Mayor
- Pedro Mendoza - DILG Municipal Local Govenment Operations O fficer
- Genciano Barbosa - Municipal Buget Officer
- Dr. Emelita Abacan - Municipal Health Officer
- Teodoro Lacerna - Sangguniang Bayan Member
The national leadership of the DILG must have realized the HES Program required great paradigm shift so that an introductory module on the The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People of Steven R. Covey was included in the training.
Office for Sustainable Development
At the municipal level, from 1992-2001, Mayor Rodolfo Guerra Villar served three consecutive terms and was succeeded by his wife, Mayor Clotilde Gozos Villar. Elected for the 2001-2004 term, she retained the designated SDAO to the new Office for Sustainable Development (OSD). The OSD was created through a municipal ordinance of the Sangguniang Bayan enacted under the leadership of previously Vice Mayor Felipe A. Marquez, now the incumbent Municipal Mayor serving his second term following the tenure of the Villars.
Key Result Areas
The DILG Memorandum Circular No. 97-234 dated September 19, 1997 which made further amendments to DILG Memorandum Circular No. 95-94, enumerated the specific accomplishments to be reported by the municipality and the barangays among others applicable to the Municipal and Barangay Governments of Rosario, Batangas:
- INTEGRATION OF HES INITIATIVES IN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS
- Revise the Local Development Plan (LDP) to respond to the identified HES issues and concerns.
- Advocate and enforce the use of evironment-friendly technologies, such as bio-farming, composting, waste recycling, and the like.
- Prevent practices that are harmful to the environment, such as smoke-belching, industrial pollution, toxic-waste dumping and other similar practices.
- Incorporate the objectives of Women in Development (Republic Act No. 7192), Moral Recovery Program, the Philippine Plan of Action for Children and the Katarungang Pambarangay.
- STRUCTURAL REQUIREMENTS OF HES
- Review existing organizational structures and capabilities, and modify, as warranted, to effectively deal with human and ecological security concerns.
- Create the Office for Sustainable Development, or
- Designate a Sustainable Development Action Officer
- Strengthen the Population Management Office to monitor the balance of population, resource and enviroment.
- FINANCING HES
- Prepare a HES Plan, as a major component of the Local Development Plan and the Annual Investment Plans, indicating the programs, projects or activities funded from out of the 20% Development Fund.
- Allocate in the annual budget, 20% of the 20% Development Fund to finance HES undertakings as well as, the administrative costs of the Office for Sustainable Development.
- LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT - NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS (LGU-NGO) PARTNERSHIP FOR HES
- Ensure continuing consultations and dialogue with national government agencies (NGAs), NGOs and peoples' organization (POs) to provide avenues for discussion and formulation of a common development framework and agenda which locally-based network of NGOs/POs, LGUs and NGAs may pursue.
- MEASURES TO ENHANCE ECOLOGICAL SECURITY
- Institutionalize the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Program.
Develop a community-based Information-Education-Communication (IEC) program on the need to protect and sustain the environment, as well as, the importance of multi-sectoral participation on various HES concerns.
- LGU SUPPORT TO REFORESTATION PROGRAMS
- Update land use plans and zoning ordinances to allocate sites for communal forestry program.
- Provide infrastructure support systems such as seedling nurseries, and other tools and implements.
The HES Plan formulated by the Municipality of Rosario was a sincere attempt to implement at the municipal and barangay levels various national programs and initiatives related to sustainable human development and ecological security within the framework of the Local Government Code of 1991 using the community organizing process for implentation strategy. The plan combined the various elements of the following national programs and initiatives among others:
- Philippine Agenda 21
- Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act (RA 8425)
- Minimum Basic Needs Approach to Improved Quality of Life - Community-Based Information System (MBN-CBIS)
- Gender and Development (GAD)
- Millennium Development Goals
- Philippine Plan of Action for Children
- Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA 9003)
- Moral Recovery Program
- Barangay Health Workers' Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995 (RA 7883)
- Special Program for Employment of Students (RA 7323)
Interestingly, former Senator Ralph Gonzalez Recto principally authored and sponsored during the 10th Congress while he was still a Congressman of the 4th Congressional District of Batangas the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act (RA 8425). It provided for the institutionalized implementation of Social Reform Agenda and created the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) for this purpose among other purposes. This law is a pillar of the HES Plan implemented by the Municipality of Rosario, Batangas - a constituent municipality of then Congressman Ralph Recto.
His wife, former Lipa City Mayor and now Batangas Governor Vilma Santos Recto, vigorously implemented the MBN-CBIS Program during her incumbency as City Mayor of Lipa. Her decision proved to be both wise and practical.
The practical insight that MBN-CBIS complemented by community organizing, as an invaluable approach for the successful implementation of any anti-poverty intervention at the grassroots level - the barangay, the purok or sitio, the neighborhood - is also very much evident based on experience of its implementation in Rosario, Batangas.