This paper explores capacity development and related performance improvement within the con- text of local governance in the Republic of the Philippines over a 13-year period. It focuses on the development of ‘local government units’ (cities and municipalities) that in the Philippine political structure are a second tier of government with specific functions devolved to them by the central govern- ment. The paper describes the local government units and the enabling and regulatory environment in which they function as a system that is evolving and becoming stronger at the same time as the individual local government units are developing. The concept of capacity development presented in the study is an open systems model that considers capacity development as an ongoing process that in the case of Philippine local governments has led to related improvements in local government performance that in turn have resulted in better services and benefits to citizens.
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Once known to be the one of the most beautiful rivers in the country,the 27 kilometer long Pasig River is now biologically dead. This sorrystate can be attributed to the unabated dumping of garbage, untreatedindustrial effluents and domestic liquid waste into the river and itstributaries.In the 1990¶s the Philippine government embarked on a grandrehabilitation effort by organizing different agencies to work together tobring the river back to life.By 1993, 30 NGOs, then headed by First Lady Ming Ramos, tookcognizance of the importance of stakeholder participation andestablished the Sagip Pasig Movement. It was then led by GreenForum Phils. SPM was formally incorporated in 1997.SPM¶s task is to mobilize residents, academe, markets and industriesin focused areas along riverbanks into clean, coordinative and capablecommunities. This is SPM¶s unique strategy of river rehabilitation,establishing Clean River Zones
What are Clean River Zones (CRZs)?
SPM recognizes that the tragic condition of the Pasig River is broughtabout by a host of problems, the solutions to which range from thepolitical to the technical. Aware that it can only do so much and yetmust, do it well, SPM is focusing on the aspect of the rehabilitationefforts that has been given less attention ± the activation of thecommunities and stakeholders as resource managers and programpartners.Towards this end, SPM has developed a unique model of community-based river rehabilitation and development that is premised on theprinciple that to sustain rehabilitation efforts, the various stakeholdersmust be organized into a social movement of Clean River Zones thatare:
Capable of mobilizing participants for advocacy issuesrelevant to the area;
ulti-sectoral yet coordinative in all river rehabilitationefforts;
ble to organize participants into a structure that make themost efficient and effective use of their resources; and,
ble to employ strategies and programs that allow them toachieve their goals.
The CRZs are envisioned as composed of organized communities thatpractice sustainable management of community waste from residential,commercial and industrial sources. The members in the CRZ possessa high degree of awareness on environmental issues affecting themand are capable of mobilizing the community to act as one. The CRZhas institutionalized coordinative bodies or core groups that have clear administrative operational structure.
To fully declare an area as a Clean River Zone, several criteria areobserved:
multi-sectoral Forum shall have been formed and operationalized
ll participating sectors should have been formed and operationalized
ll participating sectors should have a functional program onriver rehabilitation
inkages to the local government should have beenestablished and strengthened
stablished community-based waste management programsshall have created a visible impact on the community
A marked improvement in the aesthetic environment shall have beenobserved.
During its inception, SPM identified 407 target barangays situated innine cities and municipalities in Metro Manila. Since then, SPM hasorganized communities in Manila, San Juan, Mandaluyong, QuezonCity and Pasig. Through community-based waste managementprojects, SPM has helped reduce solid waste pollution in the river from10% in 1990 to 5% in 1998. SPM conducts environmental informationand education campaigns as well as capability-building seminars. Itorganizes identified sectors in riverbank communities to establishClean River Zones.It was also active in policy advocacy for the passage of the SolidWaste Management Act and the Clean Water Act. SPM holds fora andsymposia to inform the public of the salient features of theseenvironmental laws.The Annual
Lason sa Ilog Pasig Awards
, SPM¶s public disclosureprogram, pressured numerous industries to install wastewater treatment facilities. Within the ten years of Lason awarding, PasigRiver¶s industrial pollution decreased to 35% from 45%.In 2002, SPM expanded its program in the context of Population,Health and Environment. By 2005, SPM has operationalizedpopulation management and health service components in its river rehabilitation projects.In 2005, SPM launched its first book entitled Unfinished Business,documenting the impact of its public disclosure program. It has alsohosted the First National Summit on the State of Philippine Riversduring the celebration of the International Earth Day for that year.In 2008, it has continued to host with the DENR a National River Forum on Water Conservation during the celebration of theInternational Water Day.
Now in its 16th year in the first quarter of 2009, and targeting criticalareas along the Pasig River system, SPM is mainstreaming the CleanRiver Zone Program in partnership with local government units. Byconvening these communities and integrating the CRZ in barangaydevelopment plans, SPM foresees a more sustainable river rehabilitation program. As secretariat of the International Earth Day Network-Philippines, SPMhopes to gather more sectors to engage in environmental work. As a movement, it shall continue to work for the rehabilitation of PasigRiver and other water bodies in the country.
People Behind SPM
SPM¶s strength lies in its community. It takes pride in having developedcommunity leaders who have now risen to the ranks of its Board of Directors: