by SANDRO J. REBADIO, DSSE
According to The Philippines’ Rio +20 Report Inputs for the Compilation Document (2011) recently introduced that the Philippines is one of the forerunners of sustainable development in Asia. Several months after the Rio Earth Summit, the Philippine Government through Executive Order No. 15 issued by then Pres. Fidel V. Ramos on September 1992 mandated the creation of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) to review and ensure the implementation of the commitments the Philippines made in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). With this, the Philippines was considered as one of the pioneers in the Asia-Pacific region in establishing a multi-stakeholder body that will ensure the operationalization of sustainable development as embodied in Agenda 21.
Philippine Agenda 21 also known as PA21 become the country’s own national agenda for sustainable development that also follows up on initiatives already in place before 1992 such as The Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development; the formulation of the Social Reform Agenda (SRA), and the Conference on Human Ecological Security.Accordingly, PA21 has three key actors namely the Business as the key actors in Economy; the Government in Politics and Civil Society in Culture. Its operational frameworks have two aspects such as managing the transition to sustainable development by setting up enabling conditions, and acting on the problem in each ecosystem and for critical resources. Consequently, on August 5, 2011, Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III issued Memorandum Order No.22 which directs the PCSD to make necessary preparations for an effective country participation in the 20th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in Brazil in June 2012.
For 20 years of commitment, does the country fulfill its goals of Agenda 21? According to the special report entitled Fulfilling the Goals of Agenda 21 (July-September, 2002) enumerated some accomplishments and initiatives that complement to the goal of PA21.
Protecting the Atmosphere
· The Philippines Inter-Agency Committee on Climate Change(IACCC) established by virtue of Presidential Order No.220 in 1991
· The Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 which mandates DA and the PAGASA and other agencies to devise a method of regularly monitoring and considering the effect of global climate change.
· Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999(RA 8749 which mandates the DENR through the EMB to implement its provisions
Integrated Approach to the Planning and management of Land Resources
· The Government drafted a National Land Use Act (NLUA) that would strengthen the existing process of identifying, determining and evaluating alternative land use patterns to guide and enable appropriate land management and development.
· The Philippine Master Plan for Forestry Development adopted in 1990 provides the framework for combating deforestation and guiding the long term development of the forestry sector.
· For sustainable development in Forest resources, Executive Order 263 was signed entitled “Adopting the Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) as National Strategy to Ensure the Sustainable Development of the Country’s Forestland Resources and Providing Mechanism for its Implementation.
Promoting sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development
· The Philippines through DA, implements the Key production Area (KPA) Development Approach to sustainable agriculture.
· Adoption of the Integrated Pest Management, an ecological approach to crop cultivation introduced in 1993 called KASAKALIKASAN program.
Conversion of Biological Diversity
· The Philippines signed the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992 and ratified in 1993
· Policies Formulated and legislations enacted:
a. National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) Law –RA 7586
b. Executive Order 247, Prescribing Guidelines and Establishing a Regulatory Framework for the Protecting of Biological and Genetic Resources, their By Products and Derivatives, for Scientific and Commercial Purposes and for other Purposes.
c. .Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (RA 9147)
d. Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998(RA 8550)
e. National Caves and Cave Resources management protection Act (RA 9072)
Protection of the Quality and Supply of Freshwater Resources
· Water resources management is a top priority of the government in order to promote socio economic development. The government has consistent with to December 1994 Water Summit decisions and based on the river basin approach, the Master Plan on Water Resources management in the Philippines.
Strengthening the role of major groups such as women, children and youth ,indigenous people, NGOs, local authorities, workers and trade Unions, business and industry and farmers in the fulfillment of PA21`.
On the other hand, the PCSD cited their accomplishments such as integration of SD and PA21 in National Development Planning, localization of the PA21, developing financing and monitoring mechanism, and promoting unleaded gasoline and protecting indigenous people’s rights.
Moreover, the country’s economy is now moving towards to development but the development they called was brought by globalization that creates chaos to our environment. If we try to figure out the system during rainy season in the metro, we could say that it lack of urban planning, lack of drainage system, a need for proper solid waste disposal, and of course relocation of families living along the rivers and flood prone areas. To date, government is trying to implement measures to clean up our urban areas. These economic developments in urban areas pollute our air and feel the water crisis. I deemed that energy will be a luxury in the future. Over all, Philippines still an underdeveloped country which surveys revealed that numbers of population are still in poverty and our resources is now getting limited.
Are we on the right track? I think the present administration is doing right to attained the goals of PA21.Although the plan which formulated by the PCSD will take long term to see the full implementation and evaluate the output of the agenda. Indeed, it is the responsibility of every citizen to work with the government to help achieved the PA21 goals.
Ester C. Isberto (September 1998). The Philippine Council for Sustainable Development: Like Cooking Rice . Retrieved at: http://pdf.wri.org/ncsd_philippines.pdf
Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (November 2011). The Philippines’ Rio+20 Report Inputs for the Compilation Document .Retrieved at http://www.uncsd2012.org/content/documents/365The%20Philippines%20Rio20%20Report_Inputs%20for%20Compilation%20Document.pdf
Special Report: World Summit on Sustainable Development. Philippines Fulfilling the Goals of Agenda 21 . July-September 2002 pp.36-41.Available at:
What Went Before: The 1992 Rio Earth Summit .Available at:http://pcsd.neda.gov.ph/phl-in-rio-20/what-went-before-the-1992-rio-earth-summit/