Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beyond 2015: A Post-2015 Development Agenda for the Philippines

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Our country still has a long way to go in achieving its targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Thus the effort to develop a post-2015 framework that will be widely supported by many to sustain the development towards a more comprehensive and holistic approach.

But what is beyond 2015 that we need to plan ahead? We are still in 2014 yet there is still so much to do aside from the devastation brought upon by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

For most politicians, it means the 2016 election. I am more than positive that many will be looking into that direction and will be focused in making their presence felt to gain votes from the masses. ...and since majority of the people are not reached by the news and social media, many are still clueless of whom to properly vote to run their respective cities. Incommunicado! Disconnected! Out of touch form the real world!

When I suggested to Lord Jack McConnell, Scotland's youngest First Minister, appointed to the House of Lords as Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Beyond 2015's post-2015 volunteer advocate, that the UN and the government can use bloggers to share information among our readers to help disseminate the efforts undertaken towards MDG-related issues, he said it was a great idea and he will gladly echo it to the rightful authorities.

I would like to believe that Sir Jack was here in the Philippines to immerse himself to the realities happening on ground zero. He needs to personally feel for himself by being around the people directly affected, and to converse with other leaders to discuss ideas. He needed to go down to our level to hear us out clearly. May he succeed with his endeavors.

Last February 19, 2014 at the Dolcelatte Cafe located in Quezon Avenue, a few of my co-bloggers and  I went out of our daily routine to join Sir Jack in a discussion at the UN Blogger Advocates Forum. The objective of the meet is to engage us in advocating for the Beyond 2015 Campaign and the post-2015 development agenda.

Quite a lot was said and frankly only a few stuck on my mind because I still couldn't get over the fact that these kind of high-profile discussions will only stand out and emerge triumphantly if it will be elevated and made to reach the intended people - those that truly have the authority to make things happen so that it will not remain a topic inside the four corners of the room.

"Scotland is one of those countries we must look up to and boast about since they have been helping developing countries achieve full freedom from poverty. I have shared a meal and listened to one of the people who helped renew and update this International Development Policy. To Lord Jack McConnell of Glenscorrodale, thank you for sharing your knowledge and ideals in achieving development amidst the circumstances we face in the country versus Conflict, Climate Change and Development Issues." - Dialyn Roque
I truly believe that "communication" is the most basic need to alleviate all kinds of poverty in every country. If people are well-informed and aware of what is going on around them, then there will a more focused and conscious effort to make a difference. How do we accomplish such, educate the people and provide them means to interact with each other. Everything else follows.

There are still many provinces that are not even aware of the MDGs, and if ever they hear  anything about it, they treat it like any other movement - just another one among the many showcase of humanitarian efforts to an old and never-ending problem of society.

We need to be sincerely focused to eliminate inequality. People continue to be marginalized. Poverty remains because economic resources are greatly concentrated only in the hands of the few. Why? Because the people on top keep on deliberately missing the target! How come? Because their political agenda is primarily above than any dignity, honor or love for country combined.

If our efforts are truly aiming for social justice and reform, then our efforts should not be biased to only the few. I've seen many organizations sending "rockstars" to the remote areas that were wrecked by the typhoon largely caused by the absence of proactive leaders who never really made any concrete developments to provide safety to their constituents.  The worst is the "high-profile visitors" keep coming to the same place over and over again, unmindful of the isolated far-flung areas that are neglected and more in need of their concern.

Sadly, we may be able to uplift their spirits at the sight of a "celebrity" giving away relief goods and taking photo ops with them, but that is just a temporary act of kindness. It's like giving them a piece of candy, that will taste sweet in their mouths only in a few minutes. At the end of the day, when the next calamity struck the nation, majority of them will feel used, worthless and less of a priority. It goes on and on again like it was before, and we'll see each other again, waving hands in front of the camera for the whole world to see that we care and give a damn.

It is  not really comforting to call us Filipinos resilient because we should not be accepting this tragic fate in the first place. We deserve more from our government who has obviously enough funds to alleviate us from poverty if it wasn't redirected towards corrupt motivations.

There are solutions and workarounds for making one's way through this world. The actual solutions to all these problems are very unpopular ones to implement: Equal distribution of resources and freedom to access all information, among other ways. Why has it not happened? Greed and dishonesty among our misguided  leaders.

Beyond 2015 will be greatly addressed if only the efforts will go down to the level of the masses. We should be able to find ways on how we can make our family, relatives, friends, neighbors - especially those that are not reached by quad media (TV, radio, print and online) to work on the necessary changes needed to change the world.

To forever alter the course of history, try giving our so called "public servants" a minimum wage salary, permanently take away their direct access to government funds, and allow everyone to openly see where our taxes are used. I'm betting there will be less people interested to run for public office if the government is just transparent with everything that they are doing.

We will soon get rid of individuals motivated only by self-interest. The inequality in the world will eventually cease to exist because no evil mind will be at the forefront of temptation unless they want to get the full blunt of hatred and persecution from society.

Thank you to the people who brought Lord Jack McConnell here in the Philippines. I am sure this visit adds value to the over-all efforts being made by many.

Each and every noble act we make is important. If only all the efforts could be collectively shared throughout the nation and effectively escalated and sustained as a global project for everyone to embrace as a common social responsibility then this will be clearly a strong nation hopeful of a better future.

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  1. The article was nice and it was great that many people are willing to elevate the status of Philippines. Not only in terms of economic also in other aspects like environment and many more. keep up the good work

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