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The Logic of NAPC Work

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“… The goal is to “empower” the poor, to provide them with the kind of assistance that will give them the confidence that, on their own, they can break out of poverty."

“… The goal is to “empower” the poor, to provide them with the kind of assistance that will give them the confidence that, on their own, they can break out of poverty."


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  • 1. Office of the President of the Philippines NATIONAL ANTI-POVERTY COMMISSION .The Logic of NAPC Work Secretary Jose Eliseo Rocamora 23 January 2013“… The goal is to “empower” the poor, to provide them with the kind of assistance that will give them the confidence that, on their own, they can break out of poverty. ”
  • 2. The Logic of NAPC Work “…the NAPC provides a framework, a non-confrontational space for official representatives of the sectors to work out legislative and other policy issues and concrete programs with their partner government agencies. For the government agencies, this venue creates space for encounters with the sectors where both learn new ways of cooperating, instead of confronting each other.”NAPC has a large mandate, a small budget, and on its own, not much power. We can coastand focus on NAPC’s “event organizing” and secretariat tasks. We have chosen instead totake up the challenge of President Aquino’s reform thrust, and to maximize the potential oforganized sectors as a support base for reform.There are three key words in the NAPC mandate: anti-poverty, sectors, and participation.They are linked in the idea that the PNoy government’s anti-poverty program is anempowerment program. The goal is to “empower” the poor, to provide them with the kindof assistance that will give them the confidence that, on their own, they can break out ofpoverty.To empower the poor, they have to be assisted in organizing themselves for meaningful, andeffective participation in shaping anti-poverty programs and projects. The organized sectorsencompassed in the NAPC sectoral assemblies and councils will be the main actors inorganizing the unorganized poor. Apart from participating in “invited spaces”, the poorshould develop the capacity for “collective action” in support of asset reform.These are the broad policy guidelines that have shaped the main areas of NAPC work. (1) Toprovide oversight and develop new programs for poverty reduction at both the national andlocal levels, (2) develop venues for the participation of the poor through the localizationprogram, (3) working with the sectors, take a proactive role in pushing implementation ofasset reform. These areas of work are legally mandated in RA8425, the law creating NAPC.SectorsRepublic Act 8425. Section 7 states: Section 7. Powers and functions. – The NAPC shall exercise the following powers and functions: (4) Ensure meaningful representation and active participation of the basic sectors; (6) Advocate for the mobilization of funds by the national and local governments to finance social reform and poverty alleviation programs and capability building activities of peoples organizations;The main purpose of NAPC work with the sectors is to strengthen organizations of the poorand to organize the spaces for cooperation between the government and the sectors.Government engagement with civil society must be undertaken without generatingdependence. Autonomy of civil society and organizations of the poor can best be supportedthrough programs that help to generate capacity for collective action for contentiouspolitics. 2
  • 3. One of the achievements we are proud of in our two years in NAPC is that we have not hadthe kinds of fights among the sectors that characterized NAPC through most of its existence.We managed to win over NGOs and POs who were either excluded from NAPC in the past orwere unwilling to participate because they believed it was dominated by one CSO politicaltendency. Today, for the first time, so-called ‘socdem’ and ‘natdem’ groups are in NAPC andworking together. This inclusiveness is being threatened by organizational changes in theBUB and in the administration of the Empowerment Fund.The NAPC sectors are the organizational expression of the poor. They represent thousandsof peoples’ organizations throughout the country who meet in sectoral assemblies, electsectoral councils, who then nominate three sectoral representatives from whom thePresident appoints an official sectoral representative. The NAPC sectors are theorganizational base for the participation of the poor in government anti-poverty programs.The Philippines is the only country in Asia with a legally-mandated process for selectingofficial representatives of the fourteen sectors listed in RA8425. This provides sectoralrepresentatives, and their councils with official status in negotiating with governmentagencies. Through the NAPC process, the sectors work out a reform agenda with theirpartner agencies which are then approved at en banc meetings chaired by the President.This set-up creates a venue for organized encounters between the sectors and thegovernment. While the sectors continue to use mass actions and other repertoires ofcollective action as a way to advance their advocacies, the NAPC provides a framework, anon-confrontational space for official representatives of the sectors to work out legislativeand other policy issues and concrete programs with their partner government agencies. Forthe government agencies, this venue creates space for encounters with the sectors whereboth learn new ways of cooperating, instead of confronting each other.These spaces have been built at both the national and, more importantly, the local level.Poverty reduction planning at the municipal level, the center of gravity of “Bottom-upBudgeting” (BUB) is anchored on consultations by peoples organizations for coming up withconcrete projects, and to give voice to representatives of the poor in the Local PovertyReduction Action Teams (LPRAT). Although peoples’ organizations are supposed to beequal partners of local government officials, they cannot be effective partners without priorconsultations with members of their organizations.The implementation of BUB 2013 showed the limited geographic reach of organized sectorsand CSOs. We ended up having to work with NGOs and POs in cities and larger towns whothen organized CSO participation in municipalities without established sectoralorganizations. The demand for CSO participation is the most important factor pushing thestrengthening of CSO capacities. NAPC has also developed programs for CSO capabilitybuilding.We have actively worked to generate sectoral participation in BUB and other anti-povertyprograms at the local level. Regional Consultations entitled: “Harnessing Basic Sector/CivilSociety Collectivity and Capacities on the Ground” for local sectoral organizations and otherCSOs have been held in 17 regions. A six month CO (community organizer) training programfor fifty young organizers run by a CSO consortium will finish in February 2013. We gavegrants to three NGOs to generate “peoples proposals” by urban poor groups in danger zones 3
  • 4. in Metro Manila who are being relocated in the President’s P50B five year program. Wehave initiated a larger program for covering the informal settlers who cannot be reached bythe three NGO grantees, the Social Preparation, Organizing and Technical Team (SPOTT) forISFs in Danger Zones.We also ran a program of Empowerment Grants, providing a total of P50 million to 15 CSOswith projects covering 94 cities/municipalities. This was to be the pilot run of a largerprogram of capacity-building assistance to CSOs. The initial grants were made to CSOs invarious organizing areas (coco farmers, IPs, urban poor, BUB) to generate lessons on theadministration of the larger program. A budget of P250 million was given in the thirdquarter of 2011, but the bulk of these funds went to administering the BUB program. TheP54M for empowerment grants was not transferred to NAPC until April 2012, making itdifficult to go beyond the pilot run to a full-fledged implementation of the program.The Empowerment Fund for FY2013 has been transferred to DILG for implementation.NAPC was not consulted about this decision. At this point, it is not clear which of the NAPCcapacity building programs for sectors and CSOs can be continued. The grants program willnow be taken over by DILG. The “Harnessing Basic Sector/Civil Society Collectivity andCapacities on the Ground” regional meetings, the CO (community organizer) trainingprogram, and the work to generate “peoples proposals” by urban poor groups in dangerzones in Metro Manila were all funded out of Empowerment Program funds. We willcontinue these programs and find alternative sources of support for them.Asset reformOne of the main reasons for poverty is that the poor have little in the way of assets, fromsecure homes in urban areas, to land in rural areas where more than 70 percent of the poorare. It has long been established policy of the government to change the distribution ofeconomic assets through urban and rural asset reform. Working closely with the NAPCsectoral councils, and using the NAPC’s power to convene inter-agency projects, we haveactively developed projects for pushing asset reform.With limited staff and budget, we have had to be selective. In rural areas, we are focusing oncoconut farmers and fisher folk among whom you find the highest poverty incidence. InCarper implementation, we concentrated on Hacienda Luisita and coco lands, the largestremaining chunk of Carp’able land compared to other crop areas. These programs are allconvergence programs with other government agencies: coconut with the Department ofAgriculture and the Philippine Coconut Authority, and the DAR; fisher folk with the Bureauof Fish and Aquatic Resources (BFAR); NCR informal settlers with the DILG; socialpreparation for the National Greening Program with the DENR and the NCIP.1) Coconut – The NAPC has played a lead role in the work of the Presidential Task Force(PTF) on the coconut industry set up by the Presidential Management Staff in May 2011. Ithas taken a considerable amount of time to finalize the report to the President because ofcontentious issues on the disposition and administration of coco levy funds. These issueshave now been resolved. The submission of the full report to the President only awaits aframework plan for developing the coconut industry being prepared by the Department ofAgriculture. 4
  • 5. At the suggestion of DA Secretary Proceso Alcala, the NAPC concentrated on developing aCoconut Industry Poverty Reduction Roadmap. This roadmap covers an initial pilot run of12 provinces with 315,425 poor coconut farmers. Each individual target beneficiary hasbeen identified through the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Rural Areas (RSBSRA). TheRoadmap has four separate components: a) acceleration of agrarian reform, b) organizationof small coco farmers and workers leading to the establishment of Local Coconut IndustryDevelopment Council (LCIDC), c) social protection coverage, d) support for agro-industrialprojects of coco farmers’ cooperatives. The roadmap has been approved by the PTF forsubmission to the President.NAPC work here has been in close coordination with the NAPC Farmers Sectoral Council.We have also assisted in the formation of a Multi-sectoral Coco Alliance led by longtimeleaders Ka Oca Santos and Ka Bobby Tanada. The Council and the Alliance have been activein media work on the issue, have organized mass actions to push for government action inclose coordination with NAPC.2) Informal Settlers - NAPC has been one of the active members of the National TechnicalWorking Group on Informal Settler Families (NTWG-ISFs) which was created by thePresident in December 2010 under the leadership of the late DILG secretary Jesse Robredo.The NTWG-ISFs mandate was to oversee and arrive at an alternative framework for thegovernment’s ISF resettlement program. At the initiative of the NTWG-ISFs, the Presidentallocated P50B for a five year program to relocate 106,000 ISFs in danger zones in MetroManila. Under the NTWG are several committees including the Social PreparationCommittee headed by NAPC.The implementation of the program was hindered by the lack of legal basis for the NTWG-ISFs work, and by the allocation of the first P10B for the program to the National HousingAgency (NHA) by the DBM. NTWG-ISFs framework was radically different from that of theNHA, making implementation of the first year of the program painfully slow. Under newleadership, the DILG has speeded up implementation of the second year funding. But one ofthe key members of the NTWG-ISFs, the Kilusang Maralita (KM) has protested the violationof the policy of inclusiveness developed under Sec. Robredo in the accelerated program.3) Indigenous people/upland farmers –NAPC has been commissioned by the DENR to organize the “social fencing” component ofthe NGP (National Greening Program). The NGP is a DENR program for planting 1.5 billiontrees covering 1.5 million hectares over a period of six years (2011-16) in - i) forestlands; ii)mangrove and protected areas; iii) ancestral domains; iv) civil and military reservations; v)urban areas under the greening plan of local government units (LGUs); vi) inactive andabandoned mine sites; and, vii) other suitable lands. The major tasks for this project are – i)capacity building of stakeholders through community organizing; ii) formulation of thecommunity forestry/resource management plan; and, iii) implementation of these plans.This social fencing project of the NGP emphasizes the conservation, protection anddevelopment of resources that is supported by alternative livelihood opportunities. It isunderpinned by “participatory decision making and the equitable sharing of benefits andresponsibilities by members”. The project also takes cognizance of diverse groups, use andclaims on natural resources in the project sites, thus, processes will be instigated to institutemechanisms to address potential conflict. NAPC is working closely with the National 5
  • 6. Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to speed up the processing of IP ancestral landrights and dealing with conflicts among IPs arising from the spread of mining in IP areas.4. Fisher folk – Small fisher folk fishing in municipal waters and their families total1,371,676 families, and have a poverty incidence of 48.9. (NSO 2002). More often than notthey live in makeshift houses in danger zones near the sea coast and on the banks of rivers.The NAPC Fisherfolk Sector identified Settlement as their priority agenda during their 2011National Sectoral Assembly. Settlement for the fisher folk sector covers lack of tenurialsecurity; coastal disaster risks/impacts of climate change; unsustainableutilization/management of coastal and fisheries resources.To work out plans, an Inter-agency Task Force on Fisherfolk Settlement chaired by NAPCwas created through the Joint NAPC-DA Administrative Order 2012-01 issued on 13 June2012. The committee on site selection is headed by BFAR, with HUDCC, DENR, DILG-LMB,DAR, and NAPC Fisherfolk Sectoral Council representative as members. The committee istasked to formulate guidelines for the identification of resettlement areas, and to selectrelocation sites. The NAPC Fisherfolk Council will lead the committee on social preparation,in close coordination with HUDCC and DILG through local housing boards. The committeewill be in charge of beneficiary selection and identification of their capacity building needs.Poverty ProgramsRepublic Act 8425. Section 7 states: Section 7. Powers and functions. – The NAPC shall exercise the following powers and functions: (1) Coordinate with different national and local government agencies and the private sector to assure full implementation of all social reform and poverty alleviation programs; (2) Coordinate with local government units in the formulation of social reform and poverty alleviation programs for their respective areas in conformity with the National Anti-Poverty Action Agenda; (3) Recommend policy and other measures to ensure the responsive implementation of the commitments under the SRA; (5) Oversee, monitor and recommend measures to ensure the effective formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies, programs and resource allocation and management of social reform and poverty alleviation programs; (7) Provide financial and non-financial incentives to local government units with counterpart resources for the implementation of social reform and poverty alleviation programs; and (8) Submit an annual report to Congress including, but not limited to, all aspects of its operations and programs and project implementation, financial status and other relevant data as reflected by the basic reform indicator.NAPC is the secretariat of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR) clusterof the cabinet, providing minutes, agendas and monitoring the work of cluster TWGs. Wealso exercise our oversight function by submitting reports to the two houses of Congress.We believe that Republic Act 8425, the law creating NAPC requires us to do much more. Theproliferation of poverty programs and projects, many small and ill funded, with overlapping 6
  • 7. tasks and in the past, high leakage rates, requires sustained effort to rationalize the povertystrategy of the government.We have chosen to interpret the law creating NAPC proactively. We develop an idea, run itpast HDPR, flesh out a program in TWGs with relevant agencies, act as a secretariat once theproject gets going. Our initiatives in CSO capacity building, and in asset reform followed thisprocess. So too with Salintubig, a program for providing small water project grants topoorer municipalities, a joint project with DILG and DOH. Because we are developing newreform programs, it is not enough to write up the policy and pass it on to the bureaucracyfor implementation. New programs such as BUB need to be put into practice and theprogram revised in the course of implementation. More often than not, existing NGAs andtheir regional staff need to be guided carefully. In NAPC-initiated projects, we have had tooversee the “implementation” of these programs, acting as secretariat or in the case of BUB,the PMO.One of NAPC’s problems is the overbroad interpretation of “NAPC is not an implementingagency”. Because NAPC money for BUB and for the empowerment program was coursedthrough DILG, less than two thirds of the P250M allocated reached NAPC and way delayedat that. In fact, there is nothing we do (used to do) in BUB, or any of the other projects we’reinto for that matter, which constitutes “implementation”. We don’t construct infrastructureor deliver services. What we do is explicitly provided for in the law creating NAPC.All of these initiatives are, at least conceptually, linked to a backbone made up of the large,national lifeline programs, CCT and PhilHealth, and the localization of poverty reductionthrough the BUB. In terms of investment, CCT and Philhealth are by far the largest povertyprograms of the government. As PNoy puts it, these are salbabida programs, providingsubstantial assistance to the largest number of poor as quickly as possible. They weredesigned to also address longer term concerns about the education and health of the poor,especially children. By design these are top down programs with little participation by thepoor. They have to be complemented with programs built around local poverty planningwhere the poor can participate.BUB is the main poverty reduction localization program of the government. It is designed tofacilitate the participation of the poor and their organizations. The center of gravity of BUBis the municipality where organizing participation is easiest. Prior to the formal planningwith the LPRAT (Local Poverty Reduction Action Team), organizations of the poor meet todecide on what projects they want and who will represent them in the LPRAT. At least 50%of LPRATS have to come from peoples organizations; LPRATS are not accepted if they donot have the signatures of at least three CSO representatives. The regional meetings ofNAPC sectors and CSO “service providers” organize this process. Organizing for assetreform will also feed into this process.The program was launched in the first quarter of 2012, enabling municipalities to getfunding for their LPRAPS in the FY2013 budget. The original scope of BUB covered 609 ofthe poorest municipalities in the country with the identification design giving priority to thepoorest regions, two in Mindanao, one in Eastern Visayas and one in Bicol. 595municipalities succeeded in submitting LPRAPS. In the FY2013 BUB, municipalities couldget a minimum of P8 million up to P30 million depending on the actual count of poor peoplein the municipality. Approved amounts averaged 50%-60% of the municipal developmentfund from their IRA (20% of IRA). For the FY2014 BUB, the number of participating 7
  • 8. municipalities has been increased to 1233, and the available amount doubled to P15 millionto P50 million.The BUB program has the potential to radically alter local-central government fiscalrelations and introduce major good governance reforms. It can break the circuit ofpatronage, bypassing the regional offices of NGAs where governors and congressmennegotiate resources that they use for sustaining patronage networks with municipalmayors. Without access to this level, mayors become dependent on congressmen andgovernors. It is at the regional level where congressmen and governors develop relationswith NGA regional directors and other officials with whom they share the spoils ofpatronage.The original design of BUB bypassed the regional level. LPRAPS went directly to thenational level, to NAPC which processed the LPRAPs, making sure there are no disallowedprojects then organizing them by NGA, before turning them over to DBM. The advantage ofhaving NAPC play this role is that NAPC has no regional offices, no long term regional staffwith whom congressmen and governors could work out patronage relations. This designwas recently changed by DBM, making RPRATS (Regional Poverty Reduction Action Teams)headed by DILG regional directors responsible for processing LPRAPs, giving them thepower to approve or disapproveLPRAPS.NAPC has never managed a program of this magnitude before. We succeeded in generatingmore than 90% of the LPRAPS from the 609 focus municipalities under less than favorableconditions. The process was telescoped into less than two months and the budget for theBUB PMO was not transferred from DILG until after the end of the program, forcing NAPC toscramble to find resources from its own minuscule budget. The decision by the DBM and theDSWD to move the BUB PMO to DILG is occurring in the midst of implementation of BUBFY2014. We will assist this process, focusing on the following: 1) The production of LPRAPs at the municipal level, assuring maximum CSO participation. We will also push food production by the poor in school and community gardens. We are also developing the tools for assisting municipalities in developing plans for relocating residents from danger zones. 2) We will continue our data management work, maintaining the portal for BUB. We have also taken the lead in developing tools for rapid CBMS surveys and finding the resources for assuring that all municipalities undertake CBMS surveys. This will enable the municipalities to develop baselines for their anti- poverty work. 3) Manage pilots for multi-municipality planning for economic development, the second phase of poverty reduction work. Using an “economic geography” framework, the project would link poorer municipalities to growth centers. Where municipalities would continue its poverty reduction focus, multi- municipality planning would emphasize transport and communications, and facilitating the transition from subsistence to market production by facilitating the development of marketing networks. 8
  • 9. 4) Organize CSO-led monitoring and evaluation of budget implementation of BUB 2013. Since we do not have a budget for this work, we await DBM decision on our proposed budget. ### 9