MTPDP omitted provisions on ecological protection

Published by rudy Date posted on March 31, 2011

Environmental groups assailed the recently approved Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 2011-2016 released by the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) the other day for supposedly lacking provisions to concretize President Aquino’s social contract with the Filipino people.

At a press briefing held in Quezon City, groups belonging to the Caucus to Green the MTPDP expressed apprehension that the key inputs by citizens’ groups to “Green the MTPDP” were omitted.

Led by the private think tank La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) they said citizens’ groups inputs in the areas of food self-sufficiency based on sustainable, ecological and organic agriculture, disaster risk reduction and management, improved ecosystem, soil and water management, and sustainable, off grid, decentralized, community based, efficient and new renewable energy systems were noticeably absent in the MTPDP that was approved by the Neda Board.

“We were particularly distressed that the proposal for a ‘Green Audit’ that will allow a continuing review and adjustment of the country’s development plan in terms of its consistency with environment sustainability was also omitted,” Jonathan Ronquillo, environment campaigner of La Liga, stressed.

The provision for a “Green Audit” originally formed part of the draft Chapter on Environment and Natural Resources. It was, however, unilaterally excluded in the final draft MTPDP, Ronquillo stressed.

Worse, Ronquillo said that disaster risk reduction, mitigation and recovery projects, were also delisted from the Investment Priorities Plan for 2011 based on short economic returns.

“It seems that our pleas for President Aquino to lead the path toward ‘greening’ the MTPDP, to break free from the failed development track of the previous administration, was not considered, or worse, ignored,” he said.

“We have implored the Aquino administration time and again not to relent in pursuing conservation, protection and rehabilitation of our environment and natural resources as it is the best socio-economic safety net for our largely ecologically-dependent and highly vulnerable communities.

According to Ronquillo, in its relentless pursuit of growth, the previous administration failed to recognize the already over-stretched carrying capacity of the environment and natural resources.

“More than anything, the previous MTPDP failed to consider that the environment is the social security system of the poor, and without environment sustainability, millions of Filipinos would be denied the opportunity for sustainable growth,” he lamented.

He said because of this, poverty has not been curbed, food security has not been achieved, and our national vulnerability to climate change has increased. Clearly, the last decade was a lost decade for environment sustainability and sustainable development and more could have been done towards this end. This is the challenge that President Aquino’s MTPDP should address, the groups added. –Ayen Infante, Daily Tibune

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