Beyond 2015: Addressing Human Rights Deficits in a Post-MDG Development Framework for the Philippines1 I.
We, members of Philippine civil society and social movements, acknowledge that our country has still a long way to go in achieving its targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As we join in global efforts to develop a post-2015 rights-based framework for sustainable development, we are mindful of the lessons learned from the MDGs. We have consulted our constituencies to gain broad participation and support in crafting this agenda for a better Philippine society. We will ensure their voices are continuously heard as we work with government and other sectors to realize our proposals.
II. VISION We envision a world of peace, equality, and sustainability; a future where society is free from poverty, inequality, and powerlessness; where development takes place through the full exercise of economic, social, political, civil, and cultural rights of all citizens, within the carrying capacity of our natural environment.
III. PRINCIPLES 1. Human rights. The belief that all human beings have inherent individual and collective rights, as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948). These rights are also enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution and international treaties signed or ratified by the government. Human rights include economic, social, political, civil, and cultural rights of all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, age, ethnicity or race, religion, and physical or mental condition; these also refer to equality in status, entitlements, opportunities, outcomes, and access to resources and decision-making processes.2 The fulfillment of these rights and freedoms is essential to human development; thus, rights-based indicators should be integrated into all endeavors for development and peace. 2. Social and environmental justice. The principle that recognizes and respects human dignity and rights and provides equal opportunities to all. Social justice means reduction and eventual removal of the gaps between the most favored and the least favored groups. Redistribution measures such as agrarian reform reduce inequalities by sharing the wealth and property of the elite with the poor majority. These require social preparation and values formation. National laws and local legislations must be re-oriented and harmonized to create the supporting environment for social and environmental justice. Social justice also includes the right to decent work and employment. For indigenous peoples (IP) communities, social justice means recognition and promotion of their traditional knowledge, their role in addressing urgent issues such as climate and environment-related crisis, and the need to revive indigenous justice systems. Other components of social and environmental justice are: a. Gender justice. Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, has equal opportunities and an equitable share of the benefits from development gained through active engagements in leadership, decision-making, and change processes. 1 2
Presented by xxx at the xxx, date and place UDHR, France, 1948. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
b. Climate/environmental sustainability and justice. To address climate change, rich and poor countries have common but differentiated responsibilities. Developed countries are primarily responsible for the environmental crisis today. c. Inclusiveness is universality, i.e., no one is left out. The poorest and most marginalized participate in crafting the development agenda, and they are the priority of such plans. d. Access to quality public education and lifelong learning. Education combats poverty; investment in education directly contributes to human development and social cohesion. e. Universal health care is guaranteed in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which provides for the protection and promotion of the right to health and the adoption of an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development. Essential goods and health-related services are available to all at affordable costs. At its core, this right ensures that no one will be denied adequate health care, not even those without the means to pay. f.
Peace is based on the promotion of transformative and restorative justice and based on the fulfillment of human rights.
3. Peopleâ€™s empowerment is the process of building capacities so that all can claim their human rights and determine their future. Empowerment starts by encouraging people to organize and speak for themselves, giving them access to tools, processes, and resources to articulate their agenda/vision, and building confidence and a community around those with a common agenda. It is cognizant of local capacity, culture, and indigenous knowledge. It is internally-driven development rather than one imposed by a few outsiders. Peopleâ€™s participation. Civil society helps ensure the success of the development agenda by participating and constructively engaging with other stakeholders, especially government, in planning, including budgeting, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of the development agenda. Although they may have different perspectives and priorities, government agencies and civil society organizations (CSO) should nevertheless seek to include the other in working for development. 4. Transparency and accountability on the part of both government and civil society are critical to any development agenda. This means: Transparency in crafting, implementing, and monitoring and evaluating the post-2015 development agenda. Accountability of parties such as local and national government institutions, CSOs, social movements, corporations through their corporate social responsibility programs, and the rest of private sector in fulfilling the post-2015 agenda and, on a larger scale, to achieving human rights. For government, this includes adhering to the rule of law and setting up redress mechanisms; for the private sector, this means holding accountable those whose actions hinder development. CSOs can play a key role by monitoring the use of public finance. 5. Respect for cultural diversity. We recognize, respect, and protect cultural heritage and expressions, including different beliefs, norms, customs and practices, laws and language. Development must be culturally-appropriate. 6. Sustainable development is one that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland Report). This means balancing, on one hand, resource utilization to meet current production needs and raise standards of living and, on the other hand, resource protection, rehabilitation, and enhancement to ensure future generations will continue to enjoy the benefits of these resources. It recognizes the mutual dependence of people and planet and the protection of fragile ecosystems.
For IPs, sustainable development embodies the concept of self-determined development, i.e., respecting the IPs’ aspirations. Free, prior and informed consent of IPs must be secured for all development initiatives that affect them. 7. National sovereignty. Protecting our independence, territorial integrity, and upholding foremost the interests of our country, especially in the context of unimpeded globalization. 8. South-south solidarity and north-south cooperation. Building cooperation among developing and less developed countries and between developing countries and the developed/emerging economies in advocating for a post-2015 development framework. This includes aligning grants and funding support from developed countries to the priorities of developing countries.
IV. CRITERIA FOR INCLUSION OF GOALS 1. Adopts a holistic approach that recognizes development as a basic human right, strengthens public service systems to improve human development outcomes, and promotes genuine peace. 2. Mainstreams efforts to reduce inequality and injustices; assesses progress based on disaggregated data on the most marginalized groups. 3. Promotes equality regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or race, and physical or mental condition. 4. Brings together the parallel Rio+20 sustainable development goals and post-2015 development agenda formulation process in a cohesive and coherent global development agenda. 5. Establishes global goals which are then customized for country-specific targets based on a set baseline, context, and a realistic timeframe (similar to 15 years of the MDGs). This entails common but differentiated responsibility for achieving the goals, wherein each country decides how best to do so. 6. Addresses the causes of poverty and environmental degradation that traverse national boundaries; integrates disaster risk reduction, mitigation, and climate change adaptation. 7. Builds on existing capacities, policies, programs, and learnings (e.g., Philippine Agenda 21 in Rio+20, Gender and Development, International Conference on Population and Development 1994, Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2012, the Department of Education 10-Point Basic Education Agenda, Child 21). 8. Ensures the inclusion and participation of people’s organizations and movements at the grassroots level, especially the 14 basic sectors and other sectors that may not be represented by formal CSOs. 9. Targeting The next development framework must focus on poverty reduction, speeding up action to improve the quality of life of the world’s poorest and most marginalized people. New targets need to tackle issues of power and inequality head-on and focus on outcomes in addition to intermediary outputs. The new framework must be sensitive to the diversity of people’s development agenda. The target-based approach of the MDGs has been successful, and the next framework needs to retain clearly defined and measurable targets. We have to review which MDGs have not been attained, address weaknesses and gaps in the post-2015 phase, build on and improve existing targets and indicators. Development goals should be popularized so that these reach the widest public, and the development process must be genuinely participatory.
10. Indicators. Each target should have a range of indicators that provide a full picture of progress from different perspectives, but especially that of the poor and marginalized people. The post-2015 framework should also encompass mechanisms that allow people to track progress and hold leaders accountable to commitments they made. Suggested thematic/sectoral indicators: a. Agricultural education and its contribution to local economy and industry development b. Status of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER), review of land use plan c. Rural development: targeting the poorest of the poor d. Governance issues in rural development, e.g., CARPER is a failure because of poor governance e. Harmonization of policies in different government agencies f. CSO mechanism to hold government accountable to the people, e.g., crafting a social contract (score card) that can be used to assess the Houses of Congress on a regular basis g. Government-donors mechanism to sustain CSO participation in governance h. Freedom of Information (FOI) is crucial to ensuring public access to information; it is a tool to hold the government accountable to the people and be transparent in all transactions. 11. Improves the Human Development Index and recognizes the Happiness Index. The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary composite index that measures a country's average achievements in three aspects of human development: longevity, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Longevity is measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge by the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrolment ratio; and standard of living by GDP per capita. The Philippines ranks 114th (under “medium human development”) of 186 countries in the 2012 Human Development Report. Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) index is composed of four pillars, nine domains, and 33 indicators. The four pillars are: i) sustainable and equitable socio-economic development, ii) preservation and promotion of culture, iii) conservation of the environment, and iv) good governance. The nine domains are: i) psychological well-being, ii) health, iii) time use, iv) education, v) cultural diversity and resilience, vi) good governance, vii) community vitality, viii) ecological diversity, and ix) living standards. Domains i, iii, v, and vii are new additions to the conventional measures. Indicators cover several dimensions; e.g., time use looks at three areas – work, rest, leisure – measured in hours. 12. Realistic and achievable, mainstreamed to local communities, and applicable to local contexts.
V. Main Challenges 1. Economy The country’s macroeconomic policy is anchored on the primary role of private capital and markets in developing the economy. It relies on foreign investments and the private sector in the context of uncalibrated and unimpeded globalization. Despite 6.6% GDP growth in 2012, economic growth has not been inclusive, as evidenced in the challenges described below: a. Inadequate decent jobs. This is reflected in the rigid rates of unemployment, increasing rate of underemployment, and very high labor migration. The number of jobs may have grown in 2012, but mainly due to part-time employment. The 22.7% underemployment rate in July 2012 was the worse since 2006, while the unemployment rate stood at 7.0%. The unemployment rate for the youth, aged 15–24, was even higher at 17%. b. Inequality has worsened. Between 1985 and 2009, the Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, went from 0.447 to 0.448. (National Statistics Office) Every time the Philippine economy went from boom to bust (e.g., 1991 and 1997), income inequality worsened. (Diokno, 2012) c. The Philippines remains one of the industrial laggards in the region. Per capita income of $1,000 in the 1970s has not significantly improved. The manufacturing and agriculture sectors have been in survival mode for the past three decades and continue to stagnate, causing businesses to shut down with losses in jobs, income, and revenue. d. Foreign and domestic debt ballooned. 25% of our annual budget goes to interest payments of debt. For 2013, PhP333.9 billion (under automatic appropriations) has been earmarked for interest payments alone. e. Foreign aid. The bulk of foreign aid has conditions attached, such as privatization and deregulation. f. Blind adherence to free trade, without regard for national interest. Local manufacturing and industries have difficulty competing with cheap imports. The Philippines has nine free trade agreements (FTA) under the ASEAN, one bilateral FTA recently concluded, and four others under negotiation. These agreements contain provisions on intellectual property rights and investments that would restrict people’s right to health and access to medicines. They were negotiated in secrecy, with very limited space for people’s participation.
2. Social Policy The Philippines is seriously lagging behind MDG targets on universal primary education (MDG 2), improving maternal health (MDG 5), and combating HIV and AIDS (MDG 6). The national government’s centerpiece program called Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) involves conditional cash transfer to address the health, nutrition, and education needs of the poorest families. For 2013, the 4Ps budget is over US$1 billion. President Aquino has repeatedly proclaimed 4Ps’ success; likewise, the funders the World Bank and Asian Development Bank have only high praise for the program. However, others worry that 4Ps might end up encouraging dependency, complacency, and mendicancy. A Social Watch Philippines study in 2011 found that while beneficiaries are helped by the 4Ps, they would rather have stable jobs than the cash transfer.
Health a. Maternal health. MMR per 100,000 live births increased to 221 (as of 31 July 2012 SocioEconomic Report) from 97 in 2011 and 95 in 2010, despite reported improvements in health infrastructure. The proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel remains low at 74.3%, as of 2009.
b. Health inequity. Less than 10% of women in the lowest income decile deliver in a health facility, compared to 84% of their wealthiest counterparts. In both government and private hospitals or clinics, data for 1998 to 2007 showed a consistent pattern and worsening degree of inequality in utilization of general health services. c. Infectious diseases. There has been a spike in HIV-AIDS cases and resurgence of tuberculosis. d. Budget. Government health expenditure is inadequate. The Philippines is one of the lowest spenders on health in Asia. Although the health budget has steadily increased from PhP19 billion in 2008 to PhP50 billion in 2013, it remains far short of the 5% of GDP standard recommended by the WHO. Data from the Philippine National Health Accounts shows a 50% increase in out-ofpocket expenditures for health in recent years, even as the share of government and social insurance decreased to 13% and 9%, respectively. (Social Watch Philippines, 2012)
Education a. Budget. After years of neglect and mismanagement of the education sector, public investment in education remains far from ideal. The countryâ€™s expenditure for education falls below the East Asian regional average of 3.6% of GDP and South Asiaâ€™s average of 3.8%, and even lower than the median expenditure of the lowest income countries, 3.9% of GDP. (Social Watch Philippines, 2011). Thus, most studies agree the country will not be able to meet the MDG target for universal primary education (NEDA and UNDP). b. Participation rates. Net Participation Rate (NPR) fell for primary school children and remains slightly over 50% for secondary school students. Mindanao accounts for six out of 10 provinces with the lowest high school completion ratio in 2006. Sulu is lowest, with 23.1% in high school and only 78.5% in primary school in 2006-2007, well below the national rate of 83.2%. There are six million out-of-school youth in the country. (2010 official estimates) c. Alternative Learning Systems in rural areas are not community-based. Distance and costs prevent children from enjoying the right to education, hence, many children (especially boys) end up in child labor. d. Inequality. The lowest scores in the National Achievement Test (NAT) among elementary and high school students were obtained in Mindanao, particularly the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM, excluding Cotabato City) (ADB, 2010). Participation in secondary school is heavily influenced by income, with a significantly higher attendance rate among children from richer families. For boys aged 12-15, the rich-poor attendance gap is 31%; for girls the gap is 12%.
Asset Reform a. Bangsamoro. The land redistribution policy in Mindanao implemented by the American colonial government and adopted by subsequent Philippine governments generally benefited the settlers while disenfranchising and displacing the original residents, the Moros and IPs. Only a few of the original inhabitants of Mindanao were able to acquire land titles. Meanwhile, the incursion of foreign and local investors in ancestral domains without having obtained free, prior, and informed consent exacerbated land conflicts in IP communities; this has also been experienced by other IPs groups in other parts of the country. b. Agrarian reform. Despite four agrarian reform laws enacted in the past 40 years, the government has yet to redistribute 1.1 million hectares of private landholdings 24 hectares and above. (Banzuela, 2012) Government has broken up some estates and awarded land to tenants, but in large measure it has failed to effectively reverse land ownership concentration. (Marife Ballesteros and Alma dela Cruz, 2006)
Social Protection a. Serious problems remain in the supply-side of the 4Ps, which is not linked to sustainable jobs creation or livelihood training. In the Philippines, social protection is partly funded by WB and ADB loans. Social safety nets, social assistance programs (except for 4Ps), social security/insurance, and labor market interventions generally remain fragmented. (Raquiza, 2012)
3. Peace and Security The Philippines has suffered two major armed conflicts in the past four decades: a country-wide communist insurgency and a self-determination struggle by the Bangsamoro (Muslim) communities in Mindanao. Both resulted in widespread displacement, especially of vulnerable sectors such as women, children, and the elderly. Although blame is often directed at the Bangsamoro liberation movements and foreign terrorists, a closer look reveals that most security threats actually come from powerful political clans, business interests, politicians, private security firms, non-state armed groups, and security forces.3 These have grave consequences: o Proliferation of firearms and weak enforcement of security policies, especially in the countryside, perpetuate the violence. o The cultural practice of rido or clan feuds in Bangsamoro communities have resulted in numerous deaths (many unreported and unrecorded), displacement of families from their communities and livelihood resources, and neglect of vast tracts of farmlands. o Extreme poverty contributes to the rising incidence of criminality and banditry in both the urban and rural areas. o IPs’ rights over natural resources in their ancestral domains, especially in mining communities, are threatened by business interests. Poverty and violence often come together in the least developed areas, especially those affected by conflict. In 2005, eight of the 10 poorest provinces in the Philippines were in Mindanao, with Sulu and Maguindanao experiencing the highest poverty incidence at 67% and 66%, respectively.4 Interestingly, the eight poorest provinces also recorded the biggest number of Civilian Voluntary Organizations as police auxiliaries; these often function as private armies of local politicians. Priority issues related to peace, security, and justice are: a. Marginalization of IPs, Bangsamoro, farmers, fisherfolks, youth, and other basic sectors, which lays the ground for continuing armed resistance b. Corruption and lack of government transparency and accountability facilitate the entry of investments that aggravate conflict c. Exploitation of natural resources which render greater benefits to business corporations and the central government rather than to the communities and local governments who bear the ill-effects of resource extraction and exploitation of environment; social relations within these communities are also strained by conflict d. The effectiveness of aid and investment in conflict-affected areas. In Mindanao, especially the ARMM, billions of pesos in aid have failed to reduce poverty or resolve conflict. e. The need to stop externally-driven growth that perpetuates poverty and breeds resource-based conflicts, especially in mining areas f. Slow justice system and double standards used in response to human rights violations Illegal search/arrest/detention; harassment, torture, extra-judicial killings Ineffective rule of law, investigation, and prosecution of cases Residual dislocation Ineffective justice system in Muslim communities. In October 2012, the Bangsamoro struggle for self-determination reached a breakthrough when peace negotiations produced a Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. This ushers in new hopes for lasting peace in Mindanao. But unless peace processes effectively address the root causes of conflict, peace and sustainable development will remain an elusive dream. 3
See Widmer, Mireille, Reducing Armed Violence in the Philippines, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, unpublished (2007); Santos, Soliman, Jr and Santos, Paz Verdades M, (eds.), Primed and Purposeful: Armed Groups and Human Security Efforts in the Philippines. Switzerland: Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, 2010 4 National Statistics Coordination Board, Estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines. Quezon City, 2005.p. 32.
4. Governance Governance has always been a pressing issue in the Philippines. The popularity of the current administration’s slogan of Matuwid na Daan (Righteous Path) indicates how strongly the issue of governance resonates with the public. But despite some efforts at curbing corruption, the administration has a long way to go before it can claim accountable and transparent governance. The political system remains personalistic (‘proprietary politics’) rather than platform-based; political dynasties have become even more entrenched. In general, politicians hail from the elite, which corresponds to election requirements for ‘guns, goons, and gold.’ Because the political elite is often also the economic elite, it is hard to insulate governance from economic interests. Party-list representation in Congress, originally intended to represent the marginalized sectors, has been widely abused by mainstream politicians. Although the Philippines boasts of a strong civil society, their impact on governance has been limited. True, the current administration is more open to CSO participation, especially in the bottom-up budgeting process. But there is still inadequate and poor quality grassroots participation in local and national decision-making processes. The Philippine Development Plan enumerates the following challenges in citizens’ participation: capacity- building, shortage of funds for CSOs, continuous operation and sustainability of programs, ensuring priority and reach of sectors most in need, conflicts of policies and laws with actual practice, weak human rights protection and culture of impunity, intervention of some LGUs in CSO affairs, and the threatening presence of military that deters peoples’ participation. Local and national government lack the capacities and resources to deliver services to the poor and underserved. The Local Government Code provides for the generation of additional resources, but LGUs remain dependent on their Internal Revenue Allotment. Laws enacted by the legislative branch are not fully implemented. Public access to information and freedom of expression are impeded by the Anti-Cyber Crime Law and non-passage of a law on Freedom of Information.
5. Culture and Identity The Philippines is as rich in cultural diversity as it is in biodiversity; both require the same respect and protection measures. Diversity is what makes the Filipino culture and identity unique and dynamic. To be relevant, development targets must acknowledge the full range of our diverse cultures. According to the IP Agenda 2011, the indigenous peoples’ rights are encapsulated in their right to self-determination, also embodied in Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act defines this as the right to ancestral lands and domains, social justice and human rights, cultural integrity, and self-determination and selfgovernance. The challenges faced by the indigenous peoples and to some extent by the Bangsamoro people are: a. Recognition and respect for their claim to ancestral land and self-determination b. Historical marginalization and deprivation of social services such as education, health, electricity, safe water, infrastructure, and livelihood c. Inappropriate laws, policies, and programs relating to development (mining, energy projects, plantations) which threaten to destroy the environment, spark physical and economic displacement and other conflicts, and take away the IPs’ right to own, control, manage, and develop their lands d. Militarization and human rights violations in ancestral territories, resulting from the development projects The lack of cultural attributions of MDG indicators and the difficulty of integrating the perspectives of vulnerable groups (e.g., IPs) into government programs are some of the major drawbacks of meeting
the MDGs.5 Gender-based discrimination also persists, e.g., of women, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders.
6. Environment The Philippines is blessed with natural resources in its 30 million hectares of land and 200 million hectares of territorial waters. It has 128 key biodiversity areas throughout the land and is also regarded as the epicenter of marine biodiversity. Nearly half (464) of all known reef-building coral species and some 1,700 reef species are in our waters. The Philippines accounts for 9% of the worldâ€™s total known coral reef area (25,060 sq. km.). According to a US State Department report, an estimated US$ 840-B worth of untapped mineral wealth makes the Philippines one of the worldâ€™s most highly mineralized countries. Copper, gold, and chromate deposits are among the largest in the world; at 10% potential, these have an estimated value of US$ 2.1 trillion. However, all these vast resources are under threat. The Philippines has a population of over 100 million, 50% of whom see themselves as poor and 60% of whom live along vulnerable coastlines; population growth rate is one of the highest in Asia. The country lies along the equatorial belt, where it is vulnerable to typhoons, storm surges, flooding, and rain-induced landslides. As part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is prone to earthquakes and other geological disruptions. These vulnerabilities are aggravated by climate change in the form of rising temperature, variable precipitation, frequent and intense typhoons, rising sea level, and risks of more droughts, floods, heat waves, and forest and grassland fires. Numerous tragedies from extreme climate events have already struck, particularly in the provinces of Quezon (2004), Leyte (2005), Metro Manila and Laguna (2009), Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities (2011), and Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley (2012). These tragedies claimed thousands of lives and displaced even more; they also cost billions of pesos in damage, especially in the agricultural sector. The government claims to have developed a national approach to mainstream climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the countryâ€™s planning, programming, and regulatory processes. However, the differing approaches of government agencies that result in fragmented responses at the local level prove otherwise. The World Risk Index ranks the Philippines third among 173 countries. Deforestation, environmental degradation, and loss of biodiversity have set back environmental sustainability in the Philippines. Illegal activities are rampant, especially in mining, logging, poaching, and deep-sea fishing. It is said that the Philippines has the best environmental laws; in reality, the combination of elite domination of resources and weak governance result in environmental degradation. The United Nations Development Program proposes the idea that a clean environment [sustainable environment] is a fundamental human right. With human rights as a central theme in the consultations for the Post-2015 Development Framework, civil society is one in promoting resource utilization and management that is anchored on peace and transformative justice, respects human rights, protects territorial sovereignty, protects cultural and biological diversity, and upholds sustainable and holistic development.
Based on the 2012 Survey on Asia-Pacific Vision for a Post-2015 Development Framework MDGs.
VI. Our Proposals 1. Economy a. Establish job creation as the center of inclusive and broad-based growth. Ensure that all jobs are quality, decent, green, with secure tenure and provision for safety nets, and concur with the Philippine-ratified ILO Convention. b. Systematically develop the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, the real economic base. Through value and supply chain analyses and other appropriate measures, these should be linked to the upstream, midstream, downstream, and value addition industries to ensure food selfsufficiency, increase local content and consumption, and maximize export potential. c. Push for redistributive measures and affirmative action for the socially excluded, by: Developing social entrepreneurship among marginalized sectors, i.e., empowering the poor, farmers, fisherfolk, etc. to create opportunities for overcoming poverty Increasing support for the agricultural sector, where majority of the poor are found, to raise income and productivity of both male and female farmers and fisherfolk. This also includes increasing their access to non-farm income. Ensuring the full implementation of agrarian reform, with adequate provision of support services Protecting the marginalized sectors’ access to productive resources such as land, seas, electricity, and water d. Focus on developing the 99% of the Philippine economy: medium, small, and micro-enterprises (MSMEs). Provide these enterprises with incentives and an enabling environment to grow and be competitive. e. Promote progressive taxation for internally generated resources. Broaden and deepen the tax base; it is wrong to repeatedly overburden the diminishing formal economy – labor and industries, including agriculture. Push for a more progressive type of taxation to fund social spending. f. Defining development, participation, and poverty should be a collective effort. There is a need to go beyond GDP and the growth paradigm. Explore alternative development paradigms such as Gross National/Domestic Happiness. Poverty-related programs should not focus solely on economic power; they should also address equality and human rights. Rural areas are being left behind and should benefit from bigger allocation of funds. Vulnerable people need to be empowered so they can participate more meaningfully. g. Foreign debt: Repeal the automatic appropriations law to free up resources for public spending. Conduct a debt audit and repudiate illegitimate debt. h. Aid: Increase the grant component, especially for social development projects. Release aid from unjust conditionalities. i. Link the 4Ps to programs on livelihood training and jobs creation, including asset reform. j. Promote fair trade instead of free trade. k. Oppose the introduction of any TRIPS-plus provisions in regional and bilateral FTAs as these impose stricter intellectual property protection standards than those required under the TRIPS Agreement. We must uphold the Filipinos’ constitutional rights to health and access to essential medicines. In order to avoid unnecessarily compromising public health in the name of trade gains, we call on the government to ensure that the principle of ‘public health first’ is central to these negotiations and that the health sector is adequately represented in FTA negotiations and other trade deals. Provide and institutionalize consultation mechanisms for multi-stakeholders affected by trade liberalization. l. Oppose the private sector’s unilateral decisions on dispute settlement mechanisms in investment chapters of FTAs. m. Pass the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill.
2. Social Policy Health a. Maternal health. Government must ensure that all births are attended by skilled health professionals and that women have easy access to reproductive health services. b. Continuously expand the scope of health insurance (PhilHealth) by establishing locally accredited health centers where the poor can obtain medical assistance.
Education a. Hire graduates to teach in the provinces, with competitive salaries and benefits equivalent to salaries if they worked overseas. b. Improve learning outcome indicators. c. Recognize the right to accessible universal education. d. Improve public school education to a level competitive to private institutions. e. Bring back community colleges that are responsive to local demands. Make these affordable from primary to tertiary level. f. Increase the share of education in the national budget to approximate international benchmarks endorsed by UNESCO: education expenditure at 6% of GDP and 20% of total public expenditure. g. Increase the budget for Alternative Learning Systems. h. Review policies on K+12. i. Merge state universities and colleges as one academic institution per region. j. Improve curriculum. k. Include Moro and IP history in the curriculum at all levels towards better understanding of the struggle of the people of Mindanao and ARMM. l. Develop a special education curriculum for children in conflict areas and geographically isolated areas. m. Provide special education for PWDs. n. Ensure universal quality education from daycare to basic education (pre, K to12), with adequate funding support from government.
Asset reform a. Fully implement asset reform; address the land distribution backlog of 1.1 million hectares and provide agrarian reform beneficiaries with all support necessary to make their lands productive. b. Redistribute land and secure land tenure of the indigenous peoples as a key strategy to eradicating social inequities in Mindanao and ARMM. c. Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). Institute mandatory representation and create IP affairs offices in all LGUs, especially those whose jurisdictions include titled ancestral domains. The IP affairs office should have adequate budget and regular qualified personnel to support the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in implementing the IPRA. d. Encourage adjacent IP territories to link up and consolidate as IP barangays, new IP municipalities, or special districts. In these areas, traditional and the contemporary legal frameworks should be complemented by local statutes and mechanisms. e. Establish an effective information system for the government and its citizens to monitor and track land ownership, thus preventing reconsolidation of land ownership or reversal of agrarian reform.
Social Protection a. Affirm the importance of the provision of universal, quality health care and education, including universal social protection. b. Explore policy alternatives to improving health and education outcomes such as increasing public investment for universal education and healthcare. c. Consider social protection floor approaches which aim to transfer resources and build the productive capacity of the poorest and most vulnerable households and individuals.
3. Peace and security a. The government should institutionalize and consistently implement a national peace policy which recognizes that conflicts are rooted in development problems. b. Pursue peace negotiations not only with the Bangsamoro but also with the National Democratic Front, and find ways to draw more citizen’s participation. Peace negotiations should recognize people’s right to self-determination. Recognize and support the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Transition Commission to craft the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a participatory manner, with recognition of local culture and context. Call on the Philippine Congress to enact the BBL for approval in a plebiscite by the Bangsamoro people. Review for revision the code of Muslim Personal Laws. Enhance our constituencies’ peace awareness and appreciation of the diversity of people’s culture and contexts. Integrate Bangsamoro and IP history and development in the school curriculum. c. Prioritize the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law by convening the Joint Monitoring Committee to build more confidence in the peace processes and help lower the level of violence. d. Seriously study constitutional reforms such as on political structural changes needed to resolve the armed conflicts. e. Pursue security sector reform, focusing on democratic and civilian control of the armed forces and addressing issues that hinder peace processes, including the need to stop the proliferation of illegal firearms and disband private armies, CAFGUs, and CVOs. f. Operationalize the 5 Pillars of Justice (LGUs, prosecution and judiciary, law enforcers, media, and CSOs) Ensure the IPs’ access to justice and protection of their rights, and provide mechanisms for their participation in peace and security risk-free development processes. Protect the rights, safety, and access to justice of vulnerable sectors, including communities in conflict-affected areas, human rights and environmental activists, media, faith-based leaders, gender activists, vulnerable women, PWDs, youth, and children. g. Ensure honest, orderly, and peaceful elections through electoral reforms such as full use of biometric machines and enactment of an anti-dynasty law. h. Anchor resource utilization and management on peace and transformative justice, respect for human rights, protection of territorial sovereignty and cultural/biological diversity, and upholding sustainable and holistic development. Promote an ecosystems- and rights-based and peace-promoting framework on natural resource management and utilization Respect the Bangsamoros’ and IPs’ right to self-determination in planning, development, management, and utilization of natural resources within their territory; be mindful of the local culture and context while pushing for fair and equitable distribution of benefits among the community, the local government, national government, and private sector. i. Improve people’s security of tenure over livelihoods resources while developing and managing such following the sustainable development framework. Finish the long overdue agrarian reform by completing the targets set in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms Law (CARPER) of 2009. Develop an urban land reform program targeting government-owned and idle private lands for redistribution as mass settlement areas. Suspend privatization (including commercial leases) of public lands in highly urbanized areas pending implementation of a housing strategy for informal settlers. Fully implement the IPRA Law and titling of the ancestral domain. j. Set up inter-agency mechanisms with CSO participation to address conflicting land use. This would involve DILG, DAR, DENR, NCIP, among others. k. Review Oplan Bayanihan Program as a strategy for conflict resolution. l. Enact legislation of a national peace policy that addresses the historical injustices and root causes of conflict and provides institutionalized mechanisms for its implementation and oversight. Among the proposed legislation are:
A National Land Use Policy to harmonize conflicting laws and policies creating clashes among resource (land, forest, water, minerals) claimants and users Alternatives Minerals Management Bill
4. Governance a. Complete anti-corruption, transparency, and accountability measures. Issue a public disclosure policy of the Executive Department, including posting of all budget, bidding, and procurement documents in official government websites. Adopt a clear, transparent, and inclusive search-and-nomination process for members of independent commissions, oversight bodies, and government-owned and controlled corporations. Strengthen the office of the new Ombudsman. Ensure that genuine NGO/PO representatives sit in the National Anti-Poverty Commission, local development councils, and local special bodies; strengthen these bodies. Pass the Freedom of Information Bill. Pass the Career Executive Services Act. Promote the Volunteering Act (RA 9418) as a major strategy under the Philippine Development Plan. b. Electoral reform Pass a law banning political dynasties and vote buying. Address the problem of warring political clans by facilitating dialogues and exacting justice to victims of impunity. Intensify voters education that highlights the importance of informed voting, vigilance in poll watching, and their continued role in nation-building. c. Evidence-based decision making Mandate all executive agencies and LGUs to issue semi-annual public reports on their plans/budgets and accomplishments to their respective stakeholders as an accountability and feedback mechanism. Strengthen CSO participation in budget formulation, legislation, execution, and accountability process by, among others, requiring national government agencies and local finance committees to conduct stakeholder consultations before they submit their proposed budget. Engage, maximize, and learn from the Bottoms-Up-Budgeting. d. Effective local governance Recognize the Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its leadership, and lobby with Congress to formulate a law to institutionalize the peace agreements. Ensure genuine participation of CSOs in local governance, regardless of their formation and political orientation, to ensure transparent and synergistic partnerships at the community level. Government should also provide NGOs with capacity building and financial and technical resources to achieve this objective. Conduct leadership and skills training for government officials prior to and during government service. Foster collaborative planning and action among LGUs on trans-boundary issues. Prioritize disaster response and mitigation in LGU plans to enhance the resiliency of marginalized sectors who suffer most during disasters. Conserve Lake Lanao and find alternative sources of energy to save the lives and livelihood of the local inhabitants. e. Active citizenship Promote volunteerism and collaborations between public and private spheres, but vigilantly pursue corporate accountability. Establish a mechanism for CSO engagement in monitoring and evaluating government programs. Institute ways to engage citizens in matters affecting the progress of the nation.
Values formation/spiritual development Consider reference, basis, and foundation of Islam for greater acceptance that will result in ownership and participation in implementing laws and policies not clear Institutionalize important historical events that allow a generation, a community, or a marginalized sector to reflect how governance stories affect them, their society, or future generations. g. Access to and enforcement of justice Full implementation of laws on violence against women and children (VAWC). Many local government units are unprepared for the rising incidence of VAWC. Provide legal support for IPs, fisherfolks, and farmers to facilitate their claims and entitlements. Provide legal support for overseas Filipino workers experiencing abuse in their workplace. Revise the laws for Muslim Personal laws. Resolve cases involving human rights violations, e.g., forcible abduction, murder, or torture. Institute judicial reforms of antiquated and irrelevant rules and procedures that oppose democratic practices (i.e., offending religious feelings). Provide strategic support to prepare rebel returnees for meaningful reintegration in their communities.
5. Culture and identity a. Define development based on indigenous, local, and national perspectives and use these definitions relatively and complementarily. Development must be anchored on sustainable resource utilization, respect human rights and culture, and protect territorial sovereignty and biodiversity. b. Strengthen local capacity and indigenous knowledge to facilitate internally-driven development. Capacitate local government units, corporate stakeholders, and other support groups to respect the needs and capacities of IPs and the Bangsamoro people. c. Learn from indigenous knowledge, systems, and practices to enhance governance and development processes, e.g., integrate these into climate change mechanisms, health programs and education curricula, livelihood programs, etc. d. Address discrimination and social stigma through education (using culturally-appropriate teaching methods and materials) and policies and programs that promote awareness of and respect for self-determination and cultural diversity. e. Promote inclusive growth through opportunities for meaningful representation, regular dialogue, and awareness raising. f. Address human rights violations and conflict-induced displacements and poverty, including the murder of IPs due to land disputes. g. Conduct a reliable total census of the IPs and ensure its use as reference for developing policies and projects that involve them. Make invisible sectors visible through information materials that will help educate all generations. Build on existing policies and laws, clarify and enhance mechanisms to protect the rights of IP communities.
6. Environment a. The right to a clean and safe environment. Every Filipino has the right to an environment that is healthy, ecologically-balanced, sustainably productive, climate-change resilient, and one that provides for both present and future generations. We propose a community-based ecosystems approach for the conservation, protection, and rehabilitation of the environment and natural resources.
Make Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) technologies and facilities readily available to vulnerable communities. Require each LGU to formulate environmental and climate change adaptation/DRR management plans based on sustainable use of their resources. Strengthen municipal and barangay-level planning. Increase local DRRM capabilities by translating warning systems into the local dialect with clear graphics, creating a strong system for local coordination, and strengthening media engagement at the local level. Exercise political will to strictly enforce environmental laws (PD 705 Forestry Reform Code, EO 23 declaring a moratorium on cutting and harvest of timber, solid waste management, mining laws, laws on protected areas). Establish food self-sufficiency and sovereignty as the overall goals of food and agricultural policies. Be wary of technologies that create farmers’ dependency on agrochemical corporations. Establish a social protection program (comprehensive crop insurance system) for farmers and fisherfolks, especially women. Prohibit patenting of plant genetic resources and other life-forms as this will impede rights-based sustainable development. Promote programs on organic agriculture, including the right of small farmers to traditional/ indigenous knowledge systems.
b. Access to information and public participation in decision-making. Every Filipino has a right to participate in decisions pertaining to their welfare. Capacitate small communities, who are at the forefront of disasters and climate change impacts, to fully participate in CCA/DRR planning and management at all levels. Promote education for sustainable development in the school curriculum. Strengthen civil society participation through public-CSO-private partnerships supported by local government. c.
Right to promote and defend the protection of the environment and human rights. Environmental protection should prevail over destructive growth.
Regulate land use; harmonize conflicting policies on land use to prioritize protected areas, secure human settlement, and provide alternatives on minerals management. Ban mining activities in protected areas. Prioritize ecosystems conservation over resource extraction in areas with high biodiversity importance. Adopt an ecosystem-based planning and management approach (e.g., river basins, watershed; optimize fisheries; use ridge-to-reef approach). Learn from the IP communities’ conservation strategy. Adopt indigenous knowledge, systems, and practices in managing and protecting protected areas. Obtain free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples before undertaking projects in their ancestral domains.
Isagani R. Serrano. Breaking Through To Sustainability. Social Watch Philippines, 2012 Maitet Diokno. Social Inequality in the Philippines. UNCSAC and PRRM, 2012 Social Watch Philippines. Alternative Budget Paggugol na Matuwid: Pagtas sa Taumbayan. 2012 Marivic R. Raquiza. Eradicating Poverty and Building Human Development: A Preliminary Study of the Challenges Confronting the Pantawid Pamilya Program. Social Watch Philippines, 2012 Social Watch Philippines. Winning the Numbers Losing the War. 2011 Education Network Philippines. Philippine Education for All. date of publication? SEOMEO Innotech. Education for All. date of publication? Beyond 2015 national and sub-national consultations reports Mindanao CSO position paper for post 2015 Balaod Mindanao position papers
Legal Resources Center reports NLUA Managing our Land Resources to Secure our Future, CLUP Now!, 2011 CSO Position Paper on Rio+20. CSC CSD, 2011 The Road to Development: Alternative Development Framework. 2011 author? Citizen’s Roadmap for Poverty Reduction and Achieving the MDGs. CODE NGO, FDC, and UNDP, 2010 Reducing Environmental Vulnerabilities and Optimizing Wealth Creation form Philippine Natural Resources: A Post 2015 Development Agenda Towards Resilience and Well Being of the Filipino People. Second National Consultation, 2013