Designers of Development Options
Let’s face it: We completely botched handling the pandemic. A year after enhanced community quarantine, aka lockdown, was first imposed in the country, we are not just back to square one, but, according to highly respected former health secretary Esperanza Cabral in a widely circulated post, we are 10 steps back from square one.
Years ago, I opened an article with a saying you’ve probably heard, which says: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” A reader’s response to a recent article once again brought to mind that quote, originally attributed to George Bernard Shaw. I’ve lately been writing of how neighboring countries that had actually gained knowledge and training from us before have since outdone us in what they learned from us, especially in the agricultural sciences, and in running agricultural cooperatives.
The University of the Philippines recently honored one of the most accomplished men I’ve had the honor to work with. Dr. Emil Quinto Javier, National Scientist, former minister of science, University of the Philippines (UP) president, UP Los Baños chancellor and many more, was conferred the Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, by the UP in his home campus at Los Baños last Saturday.
Why has our record on farmer cooperatives been so spotty over the years, while countries around us that we mentored on agricultural co-ops made them such an important force for achieving agricultural dynamism? If we were their former mentors, we must have been good at it once.
In the course of a recent study, a research team I led often got an earful on how recipients of the government’s 4Ps cash transfers have supposedly become “lazy.” The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (hence 4Ps) is our country’s version of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) now commonly used in many countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. It goes by many names: It is known as Bolsa Familia in Brazil; Oportunidades in Mexico; Solidario in Chile; Juntos in Peru; Minhet El-Osra in Egypt; Program Keluarga Harapan in Indonesia; and many more. CCTs have been around since the 1990s, are now used in over 70 countries, and have accumulated a substantial body of literature evaluating their effectiveness.
To me, the essence of what is political is wielding power to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. At least, this is what our Constitution says by way of its enumeration of the people’s rights in its opening provisions. The people are the citizens and residents of a “polity”, which refers to a governance unit that by law in this country could be a barangay, municipality, city, province, and nation.
From this, I see three key features of what is political: (1) acquiring power, (2) wielding power, and (3) agreeing on what would be the “greatest good for the greatest number of people”.
When made to choose, which is preferable?
A friend once asked: Should I choose to be right, or to keep the peace?
My friend’s in a quandary: to not tolerate the indiscretions of her husband, or to maintain the peace between her and him?
This seems, sadly, a not so uncommon marital tale. But this goes beyond marriages. It’s a predicament we face every day. We’re confronted with the choice of keeping to what we believe is right, or to compromise in order to stay in the good side of a friend or of a person we seek to curry good favors.
Or choose to stay true to a view, a value, a virtue, or to a moral stand or a faith, at the possible expense of a reputation or repudiation by others.
Sinulog brings to mind the famed navigator, Ferdinand Magellan. He was Portuguese but planted the flag of another country, Spain, for it to rule us for over three centuries.
(Apparently, he was only in it for the glory and the money.)
He did one thing, however, that has been of lasting imprint to many Filipinos. He introduced Christianity. He brought with him sacred icons of the faith and gave one to the ruler of Cebu, Humabon. This is the Sto. Niño, a revered statuette of the Christ Child, whose Feast is celebrated in the annual Sinulog Festival of Cebu.
The year 2020 had been an upending year for most people in the world. No need to recount the details but never has there been so many people who suffered and died from one common cause. And so much of the global economy tailspun into a dive.
As the year came to an end, and we started constructing in our minds an idea of a “time transition” from one distinct segment into another — as if one segment ended and another, with different features and possibilities, had begun — we saw some kind of liberation from the pains of 2020, and we began holding on to the idea that 2021 would be different.
Articles from BTI Projects and Initiatives
DAVAO CITY- The NEDA Board-Regional Development Committee for Mindanao conducted its 25th Conferenceon December 11, 2018 at the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, Lanang, Davao City. This was participated in by members and representatives of the RDCom-Mindanao Committee and resource persons from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Bangsamoro Transition Commission and Consultants from the Brain Trust, Inc. (BTI).
A GROUP of multidisciplinary experts is proposing a three-pronged approach in developing the country’s production activities at the time of economic recession due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it involves shifting funds and programs toward the blue economy.
In a white paper, the Brain Trust Inc. laid out what it deemed as crucial strategic imperatives to maximize production capacities that would enable survival in a time of crisis. The experts behind the group said now is the best time to systematize, scale and shift the agriculture and fisheries sectors to make them sustainable.