Development administration on the spotlight-A A +A
Monday, February 18, 2013
AUTHORS and experts view development as essentially “increasing the capacity of people to influence their future.”
As a process, development as “increased capacity” contends that people must have control over their resources.
Inayatulla in an undated article, “Toward a Non-Western Model of Development and cited by Dr. Rex Navarro in his book entitled, “Towards People’s Empowerment: GO-NGO Collaboration in Agricultural Development,” offered that development is a process “through which a society achieves increased control over its environment ... increased control over its own political destiny, and enable its component individuals to gain increased control over themselves.”
That argument actually finds support from several authors. I highlight it to underscore the challenge that underlay development administration in our midst. It rest in how we perceive development, its nature and character and our collective efforts in achieving its ultimate goal - empowering people to have control.
For all intents and purposes, development is public. We generally assume that development largely rest under the domain of government and that implementing or ensuring that development takes shape is a role or sole responsibility of government and the actions of governance.
Generally, the structure and policies of government in the Philippines favors the implementation of development. We have a governance structure at the national, regional, provincial, municipal down to barangay levels that in principle and operation was established for “development administration.” The term is used “to denote the complex of agencies, management systems, and processes a government establishes to achieve its development goals. It is the public mechanism set up to relate the several components of development in order to articulate and accomplish national social and economic objectives.”
Several government policies also exist that decentralizes development administration and to my mind highlights the nature and character of development. I believe that the authors of the Decentralization Law wanted to empower the local government units to have control of their resources for influencing the future or shaping local realities for the common good, I hope.
Since development is public, the constitution itself enfranchised non-government organizations (NGOs) as partners of government in development work. This is highlighted further in Article II, section 23, Article II and Section 15 of Article III.
A column is hardly the venue for discussing the success or failure of development administration in any place. In outlook, any claim on success or failure would take a lot in terms of expertise and credibility to make it a healthy and helpful exercise. Studies by experts presented in appropriate exercises and forum is recommended to tackle this concern. These exercises would bring to light where we are now in this field, what we have done well, where we failed and what needs to be done.
As an observer and participant in development work, I think this must be undertaken more often. It would help the rhetoric of development more real, more operational and for the sake of development, trust worthy. That is, consistent with the nature and character of development, its agents must realize that sovereignty resides with the people. The Manila Declaration of People’s Participation and Sustainable Development (June 1989) states: “Those who would assist the people with their development must recognize that it is they who are participating in support of the people’s agenda, not the reverse. The value of the outsider’s contribution will be measured in terms of the enhanced capacity of the people to determine their own future.”
There then is the essence of development administration – its administrator and agents cannot assume that they are in control but simply dedicated and committed participants in making people take control in shaping their history and reality as they deem appropriate to their situations, conditions and quests in life.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 19, 2013.