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Groups ask government for sustainable, inclusive development

Kristine B. Quintas/NSA (The Freeman) - November 10, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - In time for an annual social development celebration (SDC), civil society groups called on the government for a sustainable, equitable and inclusive development.

Over 200 civil society organization leaders will convene today until Friday at Vista Mar Resort in Lapu-Lapu City to discuss critical and urgent issues towards holistic development.

This year’s theme, “Citizen’s Call: Sustainable, Equitable and Inclusive Development” will also focus on reforms that need to be considered and lobbied in the light of the 2016 elections.

Sixto Donato Macasaet, executive director of Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), said social development is a counterpart of economic development, which is vital in attaining an inclusive and sustainable progress.

“Ito ay mahalagang usapan to have an integrated and concrete development in terms of social, economic, environmental aspects,” he said.

“The Philippines has experienced economic growth in the recent years. But the questions have always been how to make this growth inclusive. How can this economic growth be felt by the poorest in the country?” he asked.

He said development is a social process which needs a collective approach and collaboration among stakeholders and government.

He said, though, inclusive and equitable growth has remained a challenge for the government.

According to a 2013 survey of Pulse Asia, 66 percent of Filipinos don’t feel economic growth. The survey also showed that 12.8 million families still considered themselves “very poor.”

CODE-NGO chairperson Patricia Sarenas said civil society’s role in development work remains to be as that of the government.

“We need to work together to achieve the development we want to achieve. We need to engage government agencies and our leaders,” she said.

Sarenas said the weeklong celebration is a great avenue for everyone to share best experiences that could be instrumental in development works.

“This is really a time when we find spaces of convergence and to feel strengthened by a unity we have nurtured through the years,” she said.

Macasaet also shared Sarena’s perspective, saying “CSOs come together as a community to learn from each other, to identify weaknesses and gaps in our work and to celebrate our gains and strengthen each other.”

Moreover, Dick Balderrama, coordinator of Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies, said they incorporated disaster response and climate change adaptation in SDC agenda since disaster has huge effects over development efforts.

“Let’s evaluate what had happened to those areas struck by calamities. Check and reflect what are the loopholes, for instance, in terms of resettlement,” he said.

This year’s SDC will have former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod as the keynote speaker and UN resident coordinator in the Philippines Ola Almgren to talk about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Also, the event will include the 19th General Assembly of CODE-NGO, which is the country’s biggest coalition of NGOs working for social development.

It has six national networks and six regional networks, representing more than 1,600 development NGOs, people’s organization and cooperatives nationwide. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC CAUCUS OF DEVELOPMENT CHRISTIAN MONSOD DEVELOPMENT DICK BALDERRAMA EQUITABLE AND INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT GENERAL ASSEMBLY LAPU-LAPU CITY PARTNERSHIP OF PHILIPPINE SUPPORT SERVICE AGENCIES PATRICIA SARENAS PHILIPPINES OLA ALMGREN
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