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Background Papers

Assessment of DA-NGO Partnership
Assessment of DAR-NGO Partnership
Assessment of DENR-NGO Partnership
Assessment of NEDA-NGO Partnership
Overview of GO/NGO/PO Collaboration Issues

Assessment of DA-NGO Partnership


This assessment is a joint report of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Cooperative Union of the Philippines (CUP) (the apex organization of all types of cooperatives registered under P.D. 175), and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

DA produced a paper on the state of the art of GO/NGO collaboration with DA which contains the department’s policy guidelines, a description of existing mechanisms of GO/ NGO collaboration, and some issues and recommendations related to the mechanism.

CUP and PBSP, on the other hand, made an initial assessment of NGO-PO-DA collaboration from an NGO perspective. The assessment report was based on consultations done with other NGOs and the CUP’s network of POs, NGO documents and statements, and actual experiences of PBSP and CUP themselves in collaborating with DA.

In consulting with other NGOs and the many bureaus and attached units of the DA, CUP and PBSP tried to secure from them their inputs to the assessment questionnaires. Despite the assessment’s limitations due to a number of constraints, initial reactions to this report indicate that it fairly represents the state of the art of DA/PO/NGO collaboration.

GO - NGO Relationships

Collaboration between DA and NGOs in undertaking agricultural and agriculture-related projects has long been going on. This collaboration has been brought about in the past by exigencies coming from either side, not as a conscious effort to promote people’s participation in projects and activities that affect their lives.

Recently, however, the DA has made attempts at establishing collaboration with NGOs in furtherance of the constitutionally mandated principle of “people’s empowerment and popular participation” as a mode for “achieving national development and prosperity based on social justice.”

The NGOs, on the other hand, encouraged by the same constitutional mandate and the more “permissive” and democratic atmosphere at the DA, has, of lately, been less wary in conveying and articulating to the DA the need for people’s active participation in developmental activities being carried out by the DA.

As one of the government agencies, DA co-advocates and promotes GO/NGO partnership as a means of bringing about people’s participation:

· to ensure the sustainability of its programs and projects through people’s participation, and

· to maximize use of limited resources for optimum benefit and use of its clientele.

Policy guidelines

The DA recognizes the importance of having clear policy guidelines to govern DA/NGO collaboration for efficient implementation of agricultural programs. These policy guidelines are expressed in the basic organizational document of the DA, Executive Order No. 116, otherwise known as the DA Reorganization Act, which states that in implementing the mandate of the DA, people’s participation should be present.

On the part of the NGOs that have working relationships with the DA, majority use a Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding or Project/Activity Design as the written guide for carrying out their working relationship with DA or its units and bureaus. Others are guided by their respective standard operating procedures (SOPs). In other words, the NGO’s organizational SOPs, which in many cases are only departmentwide or sectionwide, serve as their guideline for working with the DA.

Exceptions to these are the NGOs which co-signed the tripartite National Partnership for Cooperatives Development and whose working relationship with DA and POs are guided by the following partnership statements:

1. In the promotion, organization, and development of cooperatives, the partnership recognizes the primacy of the cooperative movement. However, in the concrete situation, the principles of situational leadership and complementation will be adopted. This means that any of the two other sectors or any individual is free to initiate the promotion, organization, and development of cooperatives so long as these sectors or individuals coordinate with the cooperative movement.

2. The NGO sector promotes cooperatives to sustain the level of development work being pursued by POs and other self-help groups. The partnership recognizes the primacy of the NGO sector in the promotion, organization, and development of POs and self-help groups because of the important role that these, in turn, play in the promotion, organization, and development of cooperatives.

3. The partnership recognizes the primacy of the government sector in the regulation of cooperatives and enforcement of cooperative laws in consultation with the other two sectors. However, the partnership will exert efforts to resolve conflicts within and among cooperatives by means of mediation, arbitration, and conciliation. Further, the government sector will assist and support the cooperative sector in the promotion, organization, and development of cooperatives.

4. The government sector, including government educational institutions, will be the primary sector in the sourcing and allocation, of government funds and official development assistance based on the partnership’s assessments of the needs of cooperatives.

5. The partnership will actively source official development assistance and nonofficial development assistance for use by cooperatives.

Operational scope of the policy guidelines of the DA

The policy expressed in Executive Order No. 116 is meant to be implemented nationwide. In line with this, DA has established the National Agricultural and Fisheries Council (NAFC) to bring about a closer and more productive partnership between the government and the private sector, including NGOs. The NAFC serves as DA’s consultative/feedback mechanism from the field level through the Regional. Provincial and Municipal Agricultural and Fisheries Councils (RAFCs, PAFCs, and MAFCs, respectively).

The different attached agencies, bureaus, and units of the DA also use the RAFCs, PAFC, and MAFCs as their consultative feedback mechanism in the nationwide implementation of their respective programs.

Another unit in the DA that implements the policy on a countrywide scale is the Outreach Desk of the Special Concerns Office under the Office of the Secretary. It is tasked to prototype innovative approaches in monitoring and institutionalizing a DA-NGO-Small Farmers Organizations (SFOs) partnership that, as envisioned, will lead to a better service delivery system.

The Outreach Desk (OD) has already pilot-tested its prototyping task in the following selected regions of the country:




Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga



OD Committees within PAFC of Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon



Entry of NGOs/SFOs into PAFC of Iloilo and Antique



Entry into PAFC and the creation of an inter-GO-NGO-SFO council at the provincial level, initially in Cebu



Entry into NAFC/RAFC of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental



Creation of a Davao City interim outreach desk composed of NGOs covering the whole region



Entry into PAFC/MAFC in Cotabato, Lanao, and Midsayap

The regions were selected on the basis of openness of the DA key officials, the presence of NGOs in the area, and the willingness of NGOs to collaborate.

The OD tried to facilitate the entry of NGOs/SFOs into the NAFC structure. For those who managed to get in, they found it difficult to relate with a consultative council dominated by big business interests. Only a few remained active in these councils (assuming these councils were any active at all). In areas where ODs were set up as temporary mechanisms, they all but fizzled out due to lack of logistic support.

There was an attempt to set up a system similar to that of another government agency, the Department of Labor. This was in recognition of the fact that it was difficult to bring the interests of two often conflicting sectors (i.e., big business versus small farmers interest) into one organizational framework. The idea, however, did not prosper.

Corollary to the foregoing pilot-testing of the collaboration process, the OD sponsored a project development training for NGOs and SFOs in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and NEDA offices in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Camarines Sur. The Desk, also in line with the pilot-testing of the process and mechanism, has endorsed six project proposals worth P1.1 million from NGOs and SFOs (all of which were funded and implemented) and referred another 14 proposals to funding agencies. In all these projects jointly undertaken by the DA and NGOs/POs/SFOs, the collaboration process and mechanism were likewise pilot-tested. People participation in every phase of the project development has been a major concern in the exercise.

Dissemination of policy guidelines within DA and to the public

Through the administrative networks of DA and its bureaus, the policy guidelines are disseminated within their respective organizations by way of memoranda or circulars.

The DA’s OD uses the process of consultation and dissemination of information through the NGO networks at the local, provincial, and national levels.

Both methods of dissemination of policy guidelines have been found satisfactory. Other factors will have to be examined when assessing the extent of policy implementation.

DA’s attempts at collaboration with POs and NGOs

The DA Outreach Desk. In 1986, the DA organized an OD for NGOs and SFOs under the Special Concerns Office. It has as its mission the promotion of people’s participation through the institutionalization of a partnership between an intergovernmental agency and an inter-NGO/SFO network. The partnership has four principles:

· emphasis on the interests and needs of small farmers and fisherfolk, landless agricultural workers, and tribals;

· emphasis on their participation in all phases of development activities;

· bias for integrated area development/community development activities; and

· respect for NGO/SFO autonomy.

The Desk has identified four major areas of concern:
· engendering/institutionalizing people’s participation in policy research and development and advocacy for programs which will ultimately benefit them;

· human resource development programs geared toward developing/enhancing people’s capabilities/skills;

· development of two-way communication system between the DA and its clientele, particularly the farmers and fisherfolk; and

· establishment of consultancy mechanisms and quick referral system for the DA and its clientele to avail of.

To further structure and strengthen its linkages with NGOs, the OD fanned the Interim Consultative Council composed of NGOs presently dealing with or planning to work with the DA. This Council is tasked with the development of general concepts and strategies in coordinating with NGOs involved in government projects.

The National Agricultural and Fisheries Council (NAFC). The DA also helped set up another consultative mechanism where the private sector could participate in identifying projects, raising policy issues, etc. The NAFC acts as an advisory body to ensure the success of the DA’s programs and activities and serve as a forum for consultative and continuing discussions within the agricultural and fishery sectors. From the national level, it shall be replicated down to the regional, provincial, and municipal levels. The Council is chained by a private sector representative who is elected by the Council members. The composition of the local council is about 60-70% private/farmer-members. NAFC’s objectives are:

· To establish local councils as permanent institutions at the regional, provincial, and municipal levels;

· To design and implement a consultative mechanism between the national government and the farming and fishing communities;

· To bring the government closer to the people and establish a more productive partnership with the private sector for agriculture and fisheries development;

· To provide a forum where all operations and programs related to agriculture and fisheries of various government agencies are coordinated; and

· To define and formulate, on a continuing basis, the goals and scope of the country’s food and agricultural policies.

In line with DA’s policy on people’s participation, NAFC pursues the following thrusts:
· private sector-led agricultural development,
· participative and consultative process,
· decisionmaking from the people at the grassroots level, and
· responsive government bureaucracy through a systematic feedback mechanism.
DA’s partnership with POs, NGOs and other GOs for cooperation and complementation in specific areas of cooperatives development. This is in furtherance of the abovementioned tripartite group’s effort at institutionalizing GO/PO/NGO collaboration in the various areas of cooperatives development.

DA co-signed a partnership agreement with thirty organizations consisting of other government agencies, POs, cooperatives, and NGOs working with POs. The partnership which was formally established in February 5, 1990 actively endeavors to concretize the “principle of people empowerment and popular participation” in formulating implementing guidelines for the recently passed laws on cooperatives.

Mechanisms for GO-NGO Partnership

Representation in policy formulation/consultation

Various units within the DA serve as potential venues for people’s representation. The OD of the Special Concerns Office serves as an institutional development strategy of the DA to promote and institutionalize a DA-NGO-SFO partnership for a better service delivery system. This mechanism will self-destruct as soon as an interphase with appropriate units with the DA (e.g., NAFC and the Agriculture and Fishery Councils [AFCs]), particularly at the provincial level, has been effected.

The OD utilizes consultations with various NGO networks at the local, provincial, and national levels alongside the conduct of surveys to get feedback. This feedback mechanism has resulted in 1) the establishment of a data bank on NGOs; 2) preparation of a directory of technical resource persons; 3) prototyping of liaison mechanisms; 4) training of NGOs/ SFOs on project feasibility preparation; 5) assistance to provincial-level farmers’ congresses; 6) joint DA-NGO projects such as the Joint Consultation and Planning Workshops about agrarian reform, formation of self-help groups and cooperatives; and 7) linkage development with resource institutions like FAO, UNDP. CIDA, PACAP, the Dutch Embassy, the New Zealand Embassy, etc.

The NAFC, on the other hand, conducts regular consultations nationwide with the private sector-led network of regional, provincial, and municipal agricultural and fishery councils to review the DA’s priorities, programs, and budget and provide feedback on the conduct and effectiveness of the DA’s activities and programs.

It coordinates the activities of the National Management Committee (NMC), the Steering Committee, the National Sectoral/Functional Committees, and the Local Agricultural and Fishery Councils. Headed by the Secretary of Agriculture, the NMC is composed of top officials of 16 government agencies and the chairman of the Farmers’ Advisory Board. The NMC evaluates the issues brought up by farming and fishing communities and translates them into workable policies and programs. The Steering Committee is headed by the Chairman-Coordinator of NAFC. It is composed of the chairmen of the seven Sectoral/Functional Committees, the National Farmers’ Advisory Board and the heads of other government institutions. Chaired by private-sector representatives, the National Sectoral/Functional Committees function as consultative fora for the government and private sectors in discussing sectoral/industry issues related to agriculture and fisheries. There are seven committees: Committee on Poultry, Livestock, and Feedcrops; Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture; Committee on Foodcrops; Committee on Industrial Crops; Committee on Agricultural Finance; Committee on Marketing; and Committee on Cooperatives.

Although E.O. 116 encourages people’s participation, there is no clear definition as to who the “people” are. From the DA’s and NGO’s experience, people meant the private sector (e.g., business sector) while the farmer sector is invariably represented by government-organized/supported groups (e.g., Samahang Nayon) or by big-scale farmer groups. The NAFC. RAFC, PAFC, and MAFC have been dominated by big business interests. Independently organized groups composed of small farmers, fisherfolk, and landless rural workers are often left out.

Project identification and development

The initial stage in the development of a project is crucial to the implementation of an effective program which addresses the needs of the target groups. DA recognizes NGOs to be quite efficient and effective in the conduct of needs assessment studies and in the design of projects which suit the needs of the target beneficiaries.

The DA uses the NAFC as the mechanism for engendering people’s participation in identifying projects under the DA Livelihood Enhancement for Agricultural Development (LEAD) program and its special events.

The LEAD Program. LEAD assists organized farmers and fishermen in project identification, packaging, and fund-sourcing whether as bank loans or grants. Some of these projects are cited in the later pan of this report as examples.

Special events. NAFC promotes the lead role of farmers in the conduct of agricultural fairs and other exhibits which showcase different agricultural technologies, services, machineries and equipment.

Capability building for project beneficiaries

DA/NGO collaboration is also seen in the area of human resource development through the conduct of trainings. POs are commissioned by the DA to conduct training in the following areas of concern: community organizing, cooperative development, appropriate technology transfer, etc.

Presently, DA (through its Management Training and Assistance Program [MTAP] and the NAFC) has a working arrangement with CUP to conduct management and institutional development trainings for cup’s nationwide network of cooperatives. These capability development programs for project beneficiaries are being coordinated by the NAFC.

Farmer Exchange Program (FEP). This provides opportunities for farmers to develop their skills and capabilities through visits to progressive farms, research institutions, and private enterprises within and outside the country. Here, they gain innovative technology for possible adoption in their own farms.

Training for farmers/fisherfolk and technicians. NAFC conducts trainings to develop farmers’ and fisherfolk’s capabilities in undertaking agricultural projects which require modern technology. It also conducts supplementary trainings on various livelihood and income-generating projects which were identified by the farmers themselves as a means to augment their income.

In the case of PBSP, its Social Development Management Institute (SDMI) has been commissioned by the DA to work in tandem with its various training and rural credit programs - e.g.. Integrated Rural Financing (IRF) programs through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).

Program implementation/management/monitoring/evaluation

In carrying out projects under the various DA programs like the LEAD, the Coastal Area Resource and Enterprise (CARE), the Taal Lake Development Project, the Irrigation System/Infrastructure Development/Pump and Communal Irrigation Projects, and others, DA commissions NGOs to undertake data gathering and analysis, project planning and implementation, and preparation and implementation of monitoring schemes.

OTRADEV, for instance, has been commissioned by the DA to undertake all the activities in project formulation and development although its scope is limited only to the provincial level.

CUP’s affiliate cooperatives are also actively involved in the identification and implementation projects under LEAD.

As a support agency to the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the DA has also worked with PBSP in Negros Occidental through the PAFC and MAFC. Generally, in the local municipal and provincial levels. NGOs have been active in planning, implementing, and monitoring programs for communal irrigation, the rice action program, and hog and cattle dispersal. It has been observed that there was little coordination among various agencies involved in the project - i.e., among DA-CARP National Task Force, the Office of the Provincial Governor, and the PAFC/MAFC. Priority areas of the DA-CARP group sometimes do not match with those identified by PAFC/MAFC. Despite these, however, the flow of funds has been noted to be fast considering the usual bureaucratic red tape encountered by NGOs in other projects. This has been attributed to the authority of the CARP task force to release allocated funds to projects in the region on a regular basis.

Structure/units involved

Basically, all units and bureaus of the DA deal directly or indirectly with NGOs/POs in the implementation of its programs and projects. At the DA proper, the NAFC and the OD are the units which mainly collaborate with the NGOs/POs, being the units specifically mandated to serve as mechanisms to institutionalize GO/NGO collaboration. DA’s bureaus, like the Bureau of Agricultural Cooperatives Development, the Bureau of Plant Industries, the Bureau of Animal Industries and the former Bureau of Agricultural Extension also work closely with NGOs/POs.

Process of collaboration

With the mandate and functions of the DA in mind, the OD plans what activities to undertake and determines the right approach to carry out their own unit’s tasks. Usually, through surveys, consultations, and council meetings, they are able to identify and sometimes seek the assistance of NGOs with good track record on specific areas/field of expertise needed. Institutional tie-ups are then explored and arranged until formal linkages/agreements are reached.

Problems and Issues on GO/NGO Relations

Among the more common problems encountered by NGOs and POs in dealing with the DA and vice versa are the following:

Lack of clearcut policy, mechanism, and operating guidelines on DA-NGO collaboration

The main issue at DA is the institutionalization of DA/NGO collaboration. The Department’s effort has been hampered by the absence of a clearcut policy and operating guidelines on the role and functions of the OD in relation to NAFC. The OD could not make definitive commitments due to its “floating” status within the DA. The presence of two “NGO desks” has led to some confusion.

Limited NGO/PO representation in policy formulation

Oftentimes, the NGOs and POs have been marginalized in NAFC and other consultative mechanisms when they articulate their views and opinions on matters concerning the rural agricultural sector’s problems. The Department seems willing to cooperate with NGOs and POs on a project-to-project basis, looking at them merely as implementors; participation in policy formulation seems to be a long way off.

Delay in the release of project funds

A number of times. NGOs who have new projects with DA have to use their own money while waiting for the release of funds. Because of this sad experience, some of them vowed not to deal with DA projects.

Increasing number of NGOs and POs to relate with

The increasing number of NGOs that the Department has to deal with may be quite difficult to manage particularly those with ambiguous “fly-by-night” identities. Unless a mechanism is developed with the “genuine” NGOs, this may unnecessarily consume much of DA’s time and resources and thus affect its programs.


Policy and structural changes within the department

· Joint corporate planning workshops to clarify mission statements, goals, objectives, roles, relationship structures, and commitments should be conducted.

· The OD should be allowed to retain the operational autonomy it enjoyed in SCO - i.e., it should be given leeway in formulating and implementing its own corporate plans, strategies, and programs. As one of the DA units that directly service marginalized sectors in agriculture, OD should endeavor, to the extent possible, to respond and adjust to the needs and pace of its target client system, the small farmers/fisherfolk organizations, and not vice versa.

· The Interim Consultative Council should be expanded and formally recognized by the DA. It should, however, retain the independent status it has been accorded so far.

Greater representation of NGOs and POs in policy formulation

Consultative mechanisms such as NAFC, PAFC, and MAFC should be maximized as venues where ideas and opinions of the farmers and fisherfolk as well as those directly involved in grassroots work are given greater emphasis and attention. An equitable balance in the number of representatives selected should be observed to give equal opportunities to these sectors.

Effective mechanisms for fund approval and releases

The delay in program implementation and, in some instances, its failure has been attributed to red tape in the bureaucracy. Greater coordination with the Commission on Audit (COA) and government agencies involved in funds should be effected. A decentralized mechanism in fund approval and releases such as that in DA-CARP should be reviewed and possibly adopted in other programs.

Regular consultation between DA and NGOs/POs

Since both DA and NGOs/POs need to understand the who, what, and how in their respective sectors, regular meetings should be organized. By discussing rural development matters with NGO/PO networks in the country. DA/GO would, in the process, help acquire greater awareness of the actual needs of the people at the grassroots level whom the NGOs/POs represents or come in contact with on a day-to-day basis.

Sample Cases of DA-PO-NGO Collaboration

Projects Under the DA Livelihood Enhancement for Agricultural Development (LEAD) Program

· Bank-assisted
· Nonbank-assisted: Income-Generating Projects (IGPs) and Institutional Development Projects (IDPs)
This DA program has been launched to enable farming and fishing communities to expand their economic opportunities. Farmers and fishermen are assisted in identifying projects, packaging them, sourcing funds, and acquiring technical and management expertise for essential projects which can be best managed by the private sector. They are also trained to develop their entrepreneurial skills in managing rural-based industries.

The mechanics for this DA-PO-NGO collaboration are briefly discussed below.

Project identification and packaging. Organized farmers’/fishermen’s group and NGOs working with these groups can prepare livelihood projects which are agriculture-based, site-specific, income-generating/profit-oriented, and short gestating.

These proponents are required to submit to the DA their project proposal as well as a profile of their organization. The DA then evaluates the project proposal. In assessing project proposals, two criteria are considered: the proponent’s acceptability and the project’s profitability. The LEAD Project Coordinating Office (PCO) recommends project proposals with the highest scores to the Executive Committee for approval. The PCO prepares the Terms of Reference for each project approved by the Executive Committee.

To offset the lack of project packaging knowhow in preparing project feasibility studies as required by banks, DA commissions or pays local consulting firms to package project studies for proposals submitted by farmers’/fishermen’s groups and NGOs. Copies of Terms of Reference are sent out to consulting firms short-listed in the LEAD Program; if they are interested, they are required to submit to DA their proposals for the conduct of the feasibility studies. The DA then evaluates the proposals and selects the consulting firm which will undertake the studies. The following criteria are used: content of proposal, the firm’s track record, and the composition of the study team.

The expected cost of a feasibility study ranged from P50,000.00 to P100,000.00.

The results of the evaluation are presented to the Executive Committee for approval. After approval, the DA links the foreign donor agency with the consulting firm. A contract for the conduct of the feasibility study is then signed by the DA, the consulting firm, and the foreign donor.

The DA then informs the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) of the projects approved by the Executive Committee for the conduct of feasibility studies. The MAP, in turn, consults with proponents and undertakes preparatory activities for the hiring of possible managers.

The consulting firm packages the project according to the requirements of the lending bank. The MAP is informed so it can dispatch the selected manager to the project. The loan application (including the feasibility study together with the DA endorsement) is submitted by the manager and the firm to the bank for processing. The bank evaluates the loan application based on its lending guidelines and requirements.

Enterprise management. The MAP, in consultation with the proponents, identifies, evaluates, and supplies qualified Agricultural Development Project (ADP) managers to bankable LEAD projects. These managers assist the farmers develop their entrepreneurial capabilities to enable them to participate actively in the implementation of the project.

The ADP manager ensures a harmonious relationship between banks and farmers, and between buyers and farmer-sellers. He sees to it that the project is implemented smoothly. In this phase, NGO assistance is often tapped, especially in the area of capability building. It is, however, the ADP manager who is responsible for training farmers/fishermen proponents in crop/fish production and processing technology, cost control, worker skills, cooperative organization, and basic business practices.

The MAP, with the participation of the proponents, evaluates the manager’s performance based on a set of parameters.

The project itself is monitored and evaluated by the local agricultural and fisheries council which is led by an NGO/private sector representative together with the local DA officer.

Projects under the LEAD nonbank-assisted income-generating projects and institutional development projects

Livelihood projects with the same nature as the LEAD bank-assisted projects but which do not require feasibility studies also encourage the active participation of the proponents (farmers/fishermen and NGOs/other institutions working with them) in the various phases of the project development. An example is the Cadaanan 4-H Club rice thresher project.

Project identification and development was undertaken by the members of the Cadaanan 4-H Club composed of 34 youths aged 12-25 years old. The Club was formed in 1987 with encouragement from the BAEX of the DA. Several livelihood projects such as fish-culture and vegetable raising have since then been undertaken.

The present project, acquisition of a rice thresher, started out with funds given by the LEAD/Buklod Yaman Program. This project was conceived by the Club members themselves to complement existing threshers and to provide threshing services at a cheaper price.

The project is still ongoing, the implementation of which is fully undertaken by the Club members themselves after being trained by the DA extension workers on how to operate the facility.

All the members directly benefit from the project and they are now in the process of expanding it. They are now well-versed in project identification, simple packaging, fund-sourcing, and implementation.

A similar mechanism for people’s participation/NGO collaboration is adopted for the following LEAD IGPs.





Production and marketing of Insumix and peanut butter

RIC of Philex Mines


Citrus, pineapple, and soybean production

Otucan Fruit Growers’ Assn.


Swine fattening

RIC of Sta Monica San Nicolas, I.N.


Solar dryer

Samahang Nayon of San Bemabe, Saprot I.N.


Solar dryer

Alicia SN Marketing Coop, Inc,


Duck raising

Pinag-isang Damdamin Multipurpose Coop


Artificial reef rehabilitation of fishing grounds

Pundakit Fishermen for Assn. of Zambales


Broiler production

Mayondon Assn. of Small-Scale Entrepreneurs of Los Baños


Processing of indigenous agri-farm products

Don Severino Agricultural College of Cavite (for housewives, food processing)


Watermelon production

4-H Club of Del Carmen, Camarines None


Green mussel culture farm

Samahang Mangingisda ng Sibodo of Calabanga, Camarines None


Solar dryer facility

Farmers Assn. of Tabangka, Aklan


Rice retailing and dealership on fertilizer and pesticides

Jordan Farmers Multipurpose Coop of Guimaras


Artificial reefs, and fishing paraphemalias and nonmotorized banca project

Langtad Fishermen’s Assn. of Naga, Cebu


Artificial reef development project

Dauis Fishermen’s Assn. of Catarman, Bohol


Farm implement

Kauswagan San Agustin Multipurpose Coop of Kauswagan, Leyte


Hillside farming/training

Casilion Farmers Assn. of Villaba, Leyte


Duck raising

Salawagan Farmers Assn. of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur


Gill net fishing

Migpangi, Displaced Fishermen Assn. of Misamis Occidental


Mini rice mill

Mabahin Irrigators’ Assn. of Surigao del Sur


Maguindanao native delicacies production

Delicacies Producers Assn. of Cotabato City

Projects financed under the Irrigation System/Infrastructure Development (Pump and Communal Irrigation) Projects

Under this nationwide DA project, PI 11.67 million worth of loans for 1,091 projects of irrigation and farm-related associations and cooperatives have been granted during a ten-year period (1975-1985). The projects include gravity irrigation systems covering an area of 1,000 hectares and below (“communal irrigation system” project) and “pump irrigation system” projects like acquisition of pumps/motors/engines/accessories and construction of irrigation system/infrastructure and initial capitalization for the operation of the system.

The DA has commissioned the Farm System Development Corporation (FSDC) to oversee the nationwide implementation of the project At the local level, the associations and cooperatives organized by the FSDC assume responsibility for the management of the project. The full and active participation of the irrigation project users/beneficiaries is a “must” from the conception stage down to the development/management, monitoring, and evaluation phase of the project. The association’s acceptance of all these responsibilities is a precondition for the funding of the project - a good mechanism to screen-off fly-by-night NGOs.

Assessment of DAR-NGO Partnership


This project is an immediate followup to the UNDP/FAO/ANGOC National Workshop on NGO Involvement in Grassroots Development held in March 1989. This is a pioneering effort between government and NGOs to jointly undertake a systematic assessment of government/NGO collaboration in order to formulate recommendations for the active participation of NGOs and people’s organizations (POs) in rural development activities. It also helps set into motion GO/NGO cooperation at the field level through the systematic review and redesigning of ongoing and new projects.

This assessment is a joint report of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PHILDHRRA), a national network of NGOs involved in social development.

DAR produced a paper on the state of the art of GO/NGO collaboration with DAR. This contains the Department’s policy guidelines, a description of existing mechanisms of GO/NGO collaboration, and a short assessment of these mechanisms.

PHILDHRRA, on the other hand, came out with an assessment of NGO-PO-DAR partnership from an NGO perspective. The report was based on consultations done with NGOs, existing assessment reports of DAR mechanisms. NGO documents and statements on collaboration with government, and actual field experience of PHILDHRRA itself in promoting agrarian reform.

GO-NGO Relationships

Policy framework and mandate for NGO participation

The DAR recognizes the importance of having clear policy guidelines to govern DAR/NGO collaboration for efficient implementation of the CARP.

Under the past DAR management, efforts were made to formalize and institutionalize such collaboration. Administrative Orders 1-88 and 11-89 embody the Department’s initial efforts at providing guidelines on working with NGOs.

Under Administrative Order No. 1-88, the Planning and Policy Office (PPO) was tasked with formulation of policy guidelines related to DAR’s collaboration with NGOs, including the taking of an inventory of all NGOs/PVOs involve 3 in agrarian reform and rural development. The same administrative order also directed regional directors and local unit officers to seek the cooperation and participation of NGOs and PVOs with relevant expertise in the implementation of agrarian reform or any component thereof. Furthermore, it stipulated that the agencies providing support services to the CARP are hereby encouraged to involve the NGOs/PVOs in the delivery of adequate support services and in the development of the beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program.

In line with this, Administrative Order No. 11-89 covered the accreditation of NGOs participating in DAR programs. It spelled out the guidelines on how an NGO/PVO can be recognized as an active partner of DAR for the effective implementation of the CARP. The accreditation criteria were denied in this administrative order.

These existing policy guidelines are to be adopted agencywide. Each DAR unit has been fully informed of these guidelines; other sectors came to know about them from consultations, fora, or meetings.

Mechanisms for GO-NGO Partnership

Representation in policy formulation/consultation. The NGOs have strong capabilities in negotiating with and giving feedback to government in behalf of the target beneficiary groups. They serve as direct links between the villagers and planners/policymakers to achieve policy reforms.

In the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), the highest policymaking body, representation is limited not only to the line agencies concerned but also the land-owning class and the ARBs. In the provincial and barangay levels, the PARCCOMs and the BARCs serve as policymakers and implementors of the CARP. They are composed of representatives of PO/GO/NGOs. ARBs, barangay council, and representatives from local line agencies.

In line with the new thrusts, DAR conducts a “Peasants’ Forum” to air feedback from the POs and NGOs regarding CARP implementation. Experiences are shared and problems are brought out which can help formulate new policies, if necessary, or just amend existing ones.

Project implementation. Consultations to assess the implementation of CARP-related projects nationwide are done through the assistance of NGOs/POs.

· Cooperative/organization development

DAR recognizes the strong capability of NGOs in project preparation - i.e., organizing, mobilizing target communities and beneficiary groups, and federating small, isolated POs into viable sectoral/regional organizations for articulation of certain needs and concerns.

Under the present land reform legislation, it is a clear policy, not only in the Constitution but also in the Executive Order reorganizing the DAR, that the autonomy of the NGOs must be recognized. This is the reason DAR does not directly organize farmers. The Department encourages NGOs/POs to do this task. It has been collaborating with NGOs in forming cooperatives/farmers’ organizations. In areas where there are no NGOs/ POs, DAR sets up projects but implements them together with other groups.

For action research projects, several NGOs like PHILDHRRA. MASS-SPECC, NATCCO, and VICTO became involved in the formation, organization, and strengthening of BARC and PARCCOM.

· Training

DAR/NGO collaboration is also seen in the area of human resource development through the conduct of trainings. These NGOs are commissioned by the Department to conduct training in the following fields/areas of concern: community organizing, cooperative development, and appropriate technology transfer.

Presently, DAR has existing arrangements with the Center for Rural Technology Development (CRTD) of the PBSP in Laguna to conduct regular trainings for the Agrarian Reform and Appropriate Technology Orientation Program. This program promotes awareness on agrarian reform and supports the importance of low-input, labor-intensive, high-yielding, high income, and ecologically sound agriculture.

It is also working with ODISCO in Negros Occidental to train ARBs on integrated farm technology.

Several joint training ventures between DAR technicians and the NGO community organizers have been conducted in SEARSOLIN. Called the Summer Institute on Agrarian Reform (SIART), these courses have helped level-off orientation of DAR and NGO field people and this exchange of skills, knowledge, and experience has benefited both groups. These courses were organized by PHILDHRRA, DAR-BARIE, and the Mindanao Center for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (MinCARRD).

· Development of projects

The initial stage in the development of a project is crucial to an effective program that addresses the needs of the target groups. The NGOs are known to be quite efficient and effective in the conduct of needs assessment and in the design of projects that adequately suit the needs of the target beneficiaries.

DAR has linkages with LIKAS under the Center for Community Services to help the Department in area-specific comprehensive project preparation and implementation. Likewise, DAR collaborates with the People’s Livelihood Foundation, Inc. (PLFI) which is also involved in project identification and implementation.

· Program implementation/management

The involvement of the NGOs in the CARP implementation emanates from three broad functions of the Department: 1) land tenure improvement, 2) support services, and 3) beneficiaries development. The DAR, through the Dutch Rural Development Assistance Program (DRDAP), provides assistance to NGOs/POs in the implementation of livelihood programs and projects.

Structure/units involved. Basically, all units of DAR deal, directly or indirectly, with NGOs/POs in the implementation of the agrarian reform program. However, it is the Support Services Office (SSO) which largely collaborates with the NGOs/POs for it is this unit which has direct contact with farmer beneficiaries. The Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development (BARBD), the Bureau of Agrarian Information and Education (BARIE), Project Management Service (PMS), and the DAR regional, provincial, and municipal offices also collaborate with them for more effective and efficient delivery of their services.

Process of collaboration. With their mandate and functions in mind, the concerned units of DAR carefully plan what activities to undertake and what approach to use in performing the tasks assigned to them. After a thorough study and consultation, these units identify and seek, if necessary, the assistance of NGOs with good track record on the specific area/field of expertise. Institutional tie-ups are then explored and arranged until formal linkages/agreements are reached.

For NGO-initiated tie-ups, the process of collaboration takes longer. In the TRIPARRD (Tripartite Partnership for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development) program of PHILDHRRA, it took at least six months to get local DAR officials committed to the program. Official linkages at the national level have been minimal mainly because of the fast turnover of high-level officials caused by controversies and scandals experienced by the Department.

The collaboration process between DAR and NGOs has been sporadic and limited. DAR-NGO collaboration would occur successfully when the following factors are present:

· strong and capable NGOs with on-the-ground agrarian reform programs,
· local NGO networks linked with national NGO networks,
· dynamic DAR local officials who have a favorable attitude toward working with NGOs, and
· supportive local government officials.

Challenges in Partnership: General Issues

Need for orientation on NGOs. Lack of awareness and understanding of NGOs is not only evident within the DAR circles but also among the general public. There is a need to understand fully what NGOs are, what their roles are, how they operate, what their basic principles and approaches are, etc. Regular GO/NGO dialogues or consultations should be done at all levels to promote awareness and understanding of these organizations.

In addition, there is a need to reorient both the GOs and NGOs to enable them to share a common vision on how agrarian reform and rural development programs can be implemented more effectively. GOs and NGOs have basic differences in their approaches to program planning and implementation. The NGOs are process-oriented and stress the bottom-up approach while GOs are more traditional in approach (i.e., they use the top-down approach). However, this trend is changing; GOs are now slowly adopting the participatory approach to development

Lack of common understanding/rationale for effective DAR/NGO collaboration. The DAR position is a public trust. On the other hand, NGOs constitute a significant segment of their organized constituencies. It must therefore be realized that government cannot do its work alone; it needs the assistance of NGOs to effectively carry out development programs. Likewise, NGOs recognize that government has resources at its disposal to support development on a micro scale. However, there are the problems of access and the timeliness/availability of these resources from the government. The NGOs, therefore, play a significant role in influencing the government’s utilization of resources to ensure that benefits accrue to their intended target groups.

Given the basic differences in nature and orientation of GOs and NGOs, collaboration must be based on some common working principles - mutual trust, respect, and recognition of respective roles.

Lack of an effective institutional mechanism for GO/NGO collaboration. Many government organizations (of which DAR is one) lack local points or specifically assigned units or personnel to deal with NGOs. Thus. NGOs do not know who to approach or where to begin.

The main issue at DAR is the operationalization and the institutionalization of DAR/ NGO collaboration. Since the reorganization of the DAR, its organizational structure has been constantly changing. This situation presents problems in the establishment of a network for effective GO/NGO collaboration.

The PARC, PARCCOMs, and BARCs as institutional mechanisms for NGO and PO participation are quite limited.

In an assessment of the BARC made by the BARIE-BARBD preconvention secretariat for the Forum on BARCs, the following observations were made (Mindanet 1989):

· Of the 269 BARCs consulted, 67% of representatives claimed that their BARCs were not properly organized.

· Only 28% of BARCs consulted were headed by farmers/farmworker beneficiaries. Twenty-seven percent were led by barangay officials and politicians. 16% by landowners. 6% by representatives. 9% by nominees of agricultural cooperatives, 8% by representatives of other farmer organizations, and 5% by nonbeneficiaries.

· Sixty-seven percent of the respondent BARCs claimed that they have not functioned since their formation. Thirty percent said they performed some functions.

· On the issue of community participation, 53% said they had not involved their respective communities, in any of the planned or actual BARC activities.

Attitudinal problems. Government and NGOs/POs have traditionally been suspicious of each other. Some government agencies have labeled NGOs and POs as subversives, out to turn the people against the government NGOs and POs, on the other hand, regard government as an instrument of the powerful elite and a preserver of the status quo.

The antagonism between government and NGOs has lessened over the last few years and many more NGOs have opened up to government.

Some attitudes, though, still have to be changed. For one, government must not view NGOs as mere implementors of their programs. The relationship must be one of equal partnership. NGOs and GOs should understand that the nature of their organizations differ and this certainly poses limitations. Each group, however, can strive to be partners in areas which are workable.

Experiences in GO-NGO Cooperation: Case Studies

Case 1: The Tripartite Partnership for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (TRIPARRD)

History. TRIPARRD was launched in 1989 by the NGO and PO community to facilitate the immediate implementation of agrarian reform and rural development (ARRD). Since 1986. PHILDHRRA had been in the forefront of lobby efforts to effect genuine agrarian reform. These efforts included the conduct of nationwide grassroots consultations on agrarian reform, the results of which were presented to the Constitutional Commission, the Executive Department, and the Upper and Lower Houses of Congress.

Realizing that this was not enough. PHILDHRRA supported the formation of the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) and helped strengthen and consolidate its membership. It then worked with other groups in initiating the formation of a broader peasant alliance now popularly known as the Congress for a People’s Congress Reform (CPAR).

By mid-1989, when it was clear that the agrarian reform program under RA 6657 was not making any headway particularly in democratizing wealth in the countryside, PHILDHRRA began consulting NGOs and POs as to what must and can be done by the NGO/PO community on agrarian reform. The long process of consultation, discussion, and debate gave rise to the idea of NGOs and POs taking the initiative and facilitating actual land transfer and support service delivery themselves in coordination with government. This was how TRIPARRD was born.

Goals. As a major program of PHILDHRRA, TRIPARRD aims to improve the quality of life of the farmers in the provinces of Antique, Bukidnon, and Camarines Sur through actual land transfer and delivery of support services. In pursuit of this goal. TRIPARRD aims to:

1. strengthen existing POs and increase the number of organized communities.
2. build up the capability of NGOs and POs involved in the program,
3. consolidate the coalitions of NGOs and POs.
4. firm up NGO-PO-GO linkages, and
5. strengthen advocacy for land reform through ground-level experiential learnings.
Activities. The following activities were conducted by TRIPARRD.
1. Research and advocacy - The Community Information and Planning Systems (CIPS) was used as the major tool for participatory research, planning, and ARRD project implementation. Advocacy for law reform was strengthened as researches from the field level are brought to the attention of lawmakers. Information dissemination activities were pursued to solicit wide support for the program.

2. Community organizing - Recognizing the central role of the POs in the program, TRIPARRD assisted participating NGOs in strengthening existing POs and organizing new communities. Professional and volunteer local organizers were recruited, trained, and deployed to cover the “carpable” villages in the three provinces.

3. Capability building - Training courses were conducted to increase the capability of the NGOs and POs to carry out the demands of the program. CIPS, land transfer transactions, support services accessing and management, and organizational development were the basic content of the training courses. Joint training programs with government line personnel were also given priority.

4. Resource accessing - TRIPARRD assisted NGOs and POs in accessing resources, especially funding support from donor agencies and government institutions like the DAR-SSO.

5. Estate development - TRIPARRD not only worked for land tenure improvement but also promoted estate development This included social preparation, land productivity improvement, and enterprise development

The TRIPARRD structure. At the provincial level, policies were decided by a provincial management committee (PMC) composed of representatives from NGOs and POs involved in the program. They met once a month.

At the national level, policies were decided by a National Management Committee (NMC) composed of representatives from the PMCs, the PHILDHRRA Board of Trustees, and the Technical Committee. The PHILDHRRA Board provided the regional and national perspective of the program while the Technical Committee provided the research and management inputs. These two bodies met every two months.

A TRIPARRD Advisory Committee (TAC) composed of experts on ARRD was formed to further provide the needed expertise, especially in policy formulation and linkages to partner government policymakers. The institutions represented in the Advisory Committee were likewise integral partners in TRIPARRD program activities.

The day-to-day activities of TRIPARRD were handled by provincial and national secretariat appointed by the PMCs and NMCs, respectively. The provincial secretariats in each of the three provinces is composed of one provincial coordinator, two researcher-organizers, and a bookkeeper/accountant. They coordinated the activities of the ARRD implementors from the NGO side and liaised with GO and PO partners in the province. The national secretariat, on the other hand, coordinated the programs of the three provincial structures and liaised with national institutions.

Tripartite consultative bodies composed of NGO, PO, and GO representatives were formed at the provincial level. These structures enhanced the coordination of ARRD activities of the three parties in the three provinces.

At the national level, a program committee composed of PHILDHRRA, PAKISAMA, DAR, DENR, DA, and other institutions is being formed to facilitate the program implementation in the pilot provinces.

Lessons from TRIPARRD.

· Area specificity

TRIPARRD was a natural product of a growing concern by a lot of NGOs, POs, and some sectors in government to start doing something together to implement the principles and ideals of agrarian reform in specific provinces and localities. Following its launching early last year, Camarines Sur, Antique, and Bukidnon were chosen as pilot provinces primarily because of strong NGO networks operating in these areas. After a series of consultations among participating government agencies, NGOs, and POs, trisectoral structures were installed in each province. Researchers were hired to gather and consolidate municipal data on such ARRD concerns as scope of CARP, distribution of transfer modes, land use patterns, peace and order situation, etc. These baseline researches became the bases of the strategic plan formulated jointly by GO, NGO, and PO partners.

Early this year, 28 haciendas and estates totaling some 8000 ha (with 4000 potential farmer beneficiaries) were identified as prototype sites for the community-based implementation of agrarian reform and rural development,

While TRIPARRD has managed to formulate a framework for implementation common to the three provinces, it has become all too apparent that, in the final analysis, agrarian reform will have to be implemented in specific agrarian communities, each different from the other. Hence, each community will have to take its own pace of development, and strategies will have to be adapted to its particular nuances as a community. For example, ARRD implementation in the 998-ha Pecuaria Estate in Camarines Sur (which has been voluntarily offered for sale to the DAR and is currently besieged by conflicts among claimants) follows a pace and strategy different from the one adopted for the 300-ha PAICOR Estate in Bukidnon. This site has been subjected to compulsory acquisition by DAR and is being jealously protected by a resistant owner against a cohesive farmers’ association.

· Possibilities in time

CARL is far from ideal and there is a need to pursue a more responsive and realistic agrarian reform law.

The prototype sites chosen were mostly areas with high potential for being moved, given a realistic assessment of priorities and capabilities of DAR and other line agencies. Most of these areas are VOS, government-bank-foreclosed, public, and OLT lands (under Presidential Decree No. 27).

There is a need to maximize resources, especially time, to really effect land transfer and develop viable economic enterprises in these communities. These communities will have two major contributions to the agrarian reform program. First, it is in these communities where the nitty gritty of implementation will be learned. Thus, the capability for massive replication - once a more positive environment has been established - is enhanced, Second, the experience these communities will provide is enough sociopolitical, legal, economic, and even moral justification for advocacy work to create a more positive environment for agrarian reform and national development

Twenty-four community organizers (COs) have been deployed in 28 hectares and they have been working with municipal agrarian reform officers (MAROs) and agrarian reform technicians (ARTs) in land transfer operations. The COs are now slowly learning the technicalities of agrarian reform implementation.

Experience thus far with prototype areas suggests that even in these supposedly “easier areas,” it will still take some time before land titles are transferred to individual farmer beneficiaries. The reasons for this are the bureaucratic red tape and the inherent loopholes in the law itself. Sixteen claim folders from the 28 prototype sites have been sent to the central office for processing, but two years have passed and none has been finished to date. It has also been reported that a total of 10,000 claim folders have been filed at the DAR national office and are now being brought back to the regional offices for processing. Most of the cases involve land valuation disputes between the landlord and the beneficiaries, and in some cases, the Land Bank; these conflicts need to be resolved either in the DAR Ad-judicatory Board (DARAB) or in the special agrarian courts.

The DARAB offices, however, are barely organized to respond to this increasing need. Realistically, it may take some time before Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) are actually distributed to farmer beneficiaries.

· TRIPARRD thus far

After one and a half years. TRIPARRD has emphasized the importance of establishing tripartite mechanisms at the national, provincial, municipal, and village levels.

For government field personnel, it helped them realize that what they are doing has the support of the national office. The presence of their leaders in provincial consultations conducted during the TRIPARRD Installation Phase assured them of their mandate. They consequently became at ease with NGO workers.

For the COs, on the other hand, endorsement from known personalities continued to give them a cloak of legitimacy when they present themselves to local government officials.

This vertical coordination at work is illustrated by a case in one prototype area in Bukidnon. The DAR and the NGO workers wrote the PHILDHRRA national office to check the status of the Gamos Estate. From a map acquired from NAMRIA. PHILDHRRA found out that the said estate had reverted many years back to timberland and, therefore, cannot be tided out. It is a public land and individuals can only apply for stewardship over it. In the meantime, the farmers had started occupying the estate and had already applied for an integrated social forestry contract with DENR.

Relations between NGOs and GOs in the provincial and municipal levels are generally cordial, but not without conflicts.

In one area in Bukidnon, the CO and the ART had a heated argument over the process of selecting beneficiaries. They resolved the conflict by calling for a public hearing where farmers aired their complaints about the screening procedure. As a result, the list of beneficiaries was reevaluated.

Meanwhile, a 21-day joint training for 27 NGO workers and 27 DAR field personnel gave TRIPARRD frontline workers enough time to establish trust and confidence in one another.

Concentrating the partnership at the operations level has exposed the partners to each other’s work habits and lifestyle. The partner GO had come to appreciate the consensus method of decisionmaking. An interesting case in the Camarines Sur partnership was the deployment of one DAR ART to the NGO structure to assist an NGO worker in a very large estate. The NGO directly supervised the ART but she remained in the DAR plantilla.

On the other hand, it has been difficult to calibrate performance targets in the prototype areas. DAR and other line agency workers have their own targets. In contrast, the NGO workers take pains to work out targets in consonance with the organizing pace in the prototype areas.

· The primary role of people’s organizations

Experience in prototype areas has proven that the people, given the chance, can help fast track the implementation of agrarian reform.

Functional POs are now being established in the 28 prototype areas. Adhoc committees are being reformed and mobilized to tackle land transfer operations, such as screening of farmer beneficiaries and settling boundary disputes. In Pecuaria Estate in Camarines Sur, for example, five groups of claimants were fighting over the 998-hectare piece of land. A series of dialogues and community consultations were facilitated by the CO. Without detailed guidelines from DAR, the people themselves were able to screen some 200 qualified farmers. They stressed that the land is large enough for all of them and there was no need to fight over it.

On the other hand, farmers in Hacienda Bernabela in Antique have been very enthusiastic. Since the CO entered the area in December 1989, 27 farmers have already availed of loans from the Land Bank; a multipurpose structure has been built; a barangay road has been paved; a concrete river wall to stop soil erosion has been put up; land parcels have been mapped; and boundary disputes have been settled. Lots have even been swapped to consolidate farmlands, all with the active participation of the people.

In the Quisumbing Estate in Bukidnon, the farmer organizations were able to convince the landowner to finally give them the right to occupy, till, and lease the land pending payment by the Land Bank. Lease payments of landowners will also be counted as amortization by the farmers.

· Conclusion

TRIPARRD has joined the rest of the organized peasantry in the initiative to implement agrarian reform. The models may vary but the task remains the same - implement agrarian reform now and build the foundation for a more prosperous, equitable, and peaceful nation. The real challenge ahead is to build a multisectoral people’s movement for agrarian reform. As Sixto Roxas once said, “we know only too well that in the Philippines, agrarian reform is not an option. It is the only option.” It is hoped, therefore, that more NGOs and POs take up this challenge.

Case 2: The Dutch Rural Development Assistance Programme (DRDAP)

History. In response to the need for accessible and immediate financing for CARP-related microprojects, the Dutch CARP Assistance Programme (DCAP) was initiated by the Philippine Government with The Netherlands Government in September 1987. Netherlands provided an equivalent of P200 million in grant for the procurement of urea fertilizer by the Philippines. The proceeds from the sale of the fertilizer was earmarked for funding of support projects under the CARP.

In December 1988, the DCAP was reconstituted into the Dutch Rural Development Assistance Programme (DRDAP) when additional hinds equivalent to P250 million were provided under the same grant scheme. Both governments decided to merge the proceeds of both grants totaling P450 million, into the DRDAP Fund.

Objectives. The DRDAP is envisioned to promote sustainable and equitable development in the rural areas and improve the income level and quality of life of the rural sector. Specifically, it aims to:

a. Promote decentralization and buildup of local capabilities/resources through the mobilization of operating local structures (e.g., GOs, local government units [LGUs], rural organizations/associations, NGOs, colleges and universities [CUs], and private volunteer organizations [PVOs]) for the effective and efficient delivery of support services to the rural sector in general and to agrarian reform beneficiaries in particular,

b. Improve agricultural productivity and support a balanced rural agroindustrial development;

c. Enhance environmental protection particularly in the upland and coastal areas;

d. Develop rural communities into self-reliant and self-propelling entities;

e. Provide credit facilities to finance economic activities of rural smallholders;

f. Promote the development of cottage, small and medium-scale agroindustrial enterprises especially those which are labor-intensive;

g. Encourage grassroots participation in project planning and implementation;

h. Improve the general health condition in the rural areas through the implementation of family health and welfare programs.

Coverage and status. The DRDAP funds development projects on production and marketing, community and health services, policy studies, environmental protection and rehabilitation, and human and institutional development.

Beneficiaries of the program are categorized into the following:

a. Disadvantaged groups such as rural women, landless workers, cultural communities, tribal migrant dwellers, and others belonging to the low-income group.

b. Rural associations/organizations. As of August 1990, a total of 178 project proposals have been received, 61 of which were approved (aggregate funding, P301 million). Ninety proposals were under evaluation/revision. 34 were disapproved, while 29 were withdrawn by the proponents.

Structure of partnership. The DRDAP is administered through a structure comprising the Joint Committee (JC), the Technical Committee (TC), and the Inter-Agency Secretariat (IAS). Members of these committees are representatives of rural development government agencies (e.g., DAR, DA. DENR. DTI, and DOH). PHILDHRRA, BANGKOOP, and The Netherlands Embassy. PHILDHRRA represents the NGOs while BANGKOOP represents the rural financing institutions.

NGOs play an important role in program administration particularly in the evaluation and decisionmaking process. PHILDHRRA, representing a large network of NGOs, is both represented in the TC and IAS which review and deliberate on project proposals received for DRDAP funding. The TC also approves proposals with less than P5.0 million required investment and endorses these to the JC for final approval.

The DRDAP has a strong bias for NGO-initiated projects. NGOs are encouraged to submit project proposals for funding, whether as a proponent, as an implementing organization, or as a conduit for loan assistance. As of August 1990, some 21 projects out of the 61 projects approved for funding were submitted/implemented by various NGOs. NGOs are also involved in other projects proposed and implemented by farmers and other rural-based organizations, largely as a cooperating agency/institution or as a loan conduit.

Issues: limits and prospects.

· Operational issues

Since its inception in early 1988, certain issues and problems were highlighted, as follows:

a. Access to the program is centrally based.

The DRDAP has no operating field network. While many proposals generated by DRDAP member agencies come from grassroots organizations, the evaluation, approval, processing of agreements, and monitoring and evaluation of projects are undertaken by the Program Committees and the Secretariat, all based in Manila. Recently, however, the proposed DRDAP field network was operationalized using the existing RAFC. PAFC, and the Secretariat.

b. Technical capability in project preparation is lacking.

While the DRDAP disseminates guidelines on project preparation, many proposals received were found wanting particularly in terms of technical presentation. This resulted in a longer process of evaluation since the proposals required more than one major revision. This is mainly due to the lack of technical capability among project proponents in preparing project proposals. Cognizant of these issues, the DRDAP has approved for funding the creation of a DRDAP field network and a feasibility study cum monitoring group. It is hoped that the role of NGOs in the program will be more enhanced through their active participation in the development and implementation of an appropriate monitoring and evaluation system and in the generation and evaluation of more acceptable proposals.

· NGO/PO issues
a. Long processing period

It takes a substantial amount of time for proposals to pass through the DRDAP system, from submission to receipt of funds. Some NGOs have experienced having their proposals processed for more than a year. Bureaucratic procedures, fast turnover of staff, and reorganization within DAR were the more common reasons for the delay.

b. Delay in fund disbursement

Again, bureaucratic procedures not only within DAR but also policies imposed by the Commission on Audit (COA) result in delays in fund disbursement. This can have (and has caused) disastrous effects on projects which depend on immediate availability of funds (e.g., marketing and production projects).

c. Lack of NGO/PO representation in the decisionmaking bodies

NGO representation has been quite limited. In the TC, only PHILDHRRA sits as a representative of the NGO sector. There is no NGO representation in the JC which approves projects worth more than 5 million. There is no PO representation in all committees. There is, obviously, an unbalanced GO-NGO representation in DRDAP. For NGO/PO participation to be significant, effective efforts must be made to increase the number of NGOs and POs sitting in the committees.

Case 3: Sustaining Institutional Capabilities Under the Negros Voluntary Offer to Sell Project (DAR-PBSP Negros VOS Project)

Background. The DAR-PBSP Negros VOS Project was approved by DAR on February 1989 and its implementation started in April of the same year. The proposal was jointly developed by PBSP and the DAR SSO. It targets 15,000 hectares of land voluntarily offered for sale in Negros Occidental. Project duration is two years, with some 7,500 farmers and farmworkers as beneficiaries.

Objectives. After the two-year project period, the project should have accomplished the following:

a. 7,500 qualified beneficiaries with effective ownership of land resources able to increase their productivity and net income,

b. 15,000 hectares of land distributed to qualified beneficiaries, and

c. 250 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) with functional organizations able to sustain collective and individual socioeconomic undertakings.

a. Land transfer - involves provision of legal and technical support to qualified beneficiaries for land ownership.

b. Program beneficiaries development - involves the development of sites/communities (to include appropriate technology transfer, support infrastructure, etc.) and the direct organizing of beneficiary groups to handle community concerns and issues pertaining to land transfer and site development.

c. Capacity building - involves the creation of institutional alliances that would support agrarian reform and the expansion of organizational capabilities of various organizations to tackle land transfer and agrarian community development activities as part of their regular programs of assistance.

Structure of partnership. There are three major collaborators in the implementation of the Negros VOS Project - the DAR, PBSP, and selected local implementing structures (LIS) in the province.

The DAR is responsible for providing legal assistance to project beneficiaries, facilitating support services, and mobilizing financial resources for agrarian reform communities including project support cost.

PBSP, on the other hand, is responsible for managing project implementation particularly in carrying out the project beneficiary development and capacity-building components of the project. PBSP also mobilizes some selected US to assist in ARC development work, These US are basically classified into church-based organizations, foundations, labor groups, LGUs, and grassroots/POs.

Project status and assessment. The project activities were essentially undertaken at the community level. After one year of implementation, substantial results were achieved:

a. Development plans were prepared for every ARC through a series of workshops/ discussions among the farmer-members. The Agrarian Reform Provincial Committee for Support Service (ARPCSS) composed of representatives from DAR, PBSP, and other CARP-implementing GOs and NGOs spearheaded the conduct of community development planning.

b. Existing problems in each community were identified and possible solutions formulated.

c. A stronger collaboration among DAR, PBSP, other GOs, NGOs, farmer organizations, and other local organizations was fostered.

d. The DAR’s monitoring of project progress on a per community basis was facilitated.

e. An active partnership between DAR and PBSP in CARP field implementation was promoted.

Issues and problems. The problems encountered during the first year - which have largely affected the delivery of project outputs - revolve around financial support for ARCs and LIS, peace and order problems, landowner interventions resulting in court cases, reclassification of some lands, slow land processing process, lack of capable US, and some DAR personnel’s negative attitude toward NGO involvement in the project.

Prospects. In June 1990. DAR and PBSP have started Phase II of the Negros VOS Project, involving a bigger program package for enterprise development of the ARCs. A program proposal was formulated and submitted for review and evaluation by the DRDAP Secretariat,

Case 4 - FCDEP (Farmers Cooperative Development Exchange Program)

Background and rationale. In April 1989, the Farmers Cooperative Development Exchange Program (FCDEP) was launched as joint collaboration between the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), thru the Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development (BARBD), and the National Confederation of Cooperative, Inc. (NATCCO). Under the program, fourteen (14) pilot sites in six (6) regions were selected to try out the “immersion” process as a strategy as conceptualized. The program was to be for a one year period after which the performance of the FCDEP would be assessed to determine: i) whether the objectives of the program have been met; ii) whether to expand the program to cover more priority areas and farmers’ groups; and iii) whether the initial core group would need more assistance to bring into full circle their development as a true, independent, and effective cooperative.

The initial results of the FCDEP, after about 10 months of implementation are as follows:

· All 14 pilot projects/farmers organizations have decided to form their own cooperative after being immersed in the host cooperatives;

· Capital build-up activities were started by the various farmers organizations right after the conduct of the pre- membership education seminar (PMES). As of December 1989, 10 out of the 14 pilot projects were able to generate from P2,933 to P15,452 as the organization’s share capital from its initial membership;

· The 14 pilot projects decided to organize as a multipurpose cooperative. As of December 1987, eight of the fourteen have started providing services to its members; Pre-membership all the pilot project due to expanded membership in the new cooperative. Capability building trainings are also being conducted to enhance the knowledge and skills of the Board of Directors, management and staff of these cooperatives.

· In the implementation of the program, the CO (community organizing) approach was adopted to ensure the maximum participation of the farmers in all the activities involved.

Based on the initial results from the pilot program, the following recomendations were submitted by the program implementors:
· Sustain the viability of the 14 pilot projects by undertaking activities on capability-building and enterprise development in collaboration with NATCCO. This scheme will generate additional learnings to the DAR field implementors and would ensure a better appreciation of the immersion process as a strategy in promoting the organization of cooperatives. Moreover, it will provide a better understanding of the process involved in cooperative organization and development work and necessarily enhance DAR-NGO collaboration efforts in organizing activities.

· The pilot program of the FCDEP should be expanded to cover 24 other priority provinces to test out further the appropriateness and applicability of the immersion process strategy in cooperative organization and development.


1. A reorientation toward genuine people’s participation

The DAR must take the initiative to reorient its personnel at all levels regarding collaborative work with NGOs and POs. Experience has shown that the mandate and political will to do this must come from the Department Secretary and Undersecretaries.

The NGOs can work in partnership with DAR in doing this task. Dialogues, joint seminar-workshops, and training courses can be undertaken by both NGOs and DAR. These initial activities, however, must be sustained, DAR personnel, for example, can immerse themselves in NGO activities and day-to-day work so that they may understand better the development approaches, community organizing techniques, and other empowerment tools used by NGOs.

2. A better understanding of the bureaucracy

NGOs/POs, on the other hand, must make efforts to understand the government bureaucracy and learn how it works. Oftentimes, NGOs have lambasted government bureaucracy and have thereby alienated themselves further from the government A better understanding of how the bureaucracy works can help NGOs devise ways of dealing with it, thus maximizing the latter’s resources.

3. Institutionalization of an NGO focal point within DAR

NGOs are confused about or are not aware of which unit within DAR to relate to. An ideal setup would be an NGO desk found at the municipal, provincial, regional, and national levels which could facilitate DAR services to NGOs, link NGOs to appropriate units within DAR, or facilitate and initiate joint projects or programs. It is crucial that the persons in the desk or unit be acceptable and credible to NGOs and be familiar with the NGO community. Equally critical is the priority and importance this desk would have within the department. It must be sufficiently supported financially and must have quick access to decisionmakers within the department.

4. Increased NGO/PO representation in existing mechanisms

Efforts must be made to increase NGO/PO representation in the DRDAP. Similar efforts must be made in the BARCs and PARCCOMs.

There is already an existing proposal on how to improve formation and operational guidelines of the BARC. The only thing left to do is for DAR to implement these guidelines. Where there is a need to reorganize the BARCs and PARCCOMs, DAR must not hesitate to do so and preferably in partnership with NGOs and POs in the area,

5. A mechanism for NGO/PO input in DAR policy formulation

A mechanism within DAR must be established to allow NGO/PO inputs in administrative guidelines and orders, policies, program thrusts, targets, and priorities that DAR formulates. Mere consultations will not suffice. The mechanism must enable NGOs to follow through their recommendations.

Assessment of DENR-NGO Partnership


This study is an assessment of the current state of collaboration between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in upland development and natural resources management, This is a joint undertaking of DENR and some selected NGOs to develop a common framework of cooperation between government and NGOs. Specifically, the study aims to 1) review existing DENR policies and mechanisms on cooperation with NGOs, 2) analyze selected forms of NGO collaboration with DENR, and 3) formulate recommendations on evolving a common frame-work and mechanism for NGO participation in DENR programs.

The data utilized in this study are based on interviews with DENR’s NGO Desk and NGO representatives. For convenience, NGO as used here includes academic organizations. Though these institutions may not be strictly considered NGOs, DENR deals with them as it deals with other NGOs. Their working experience with DENR can also provide valuable insights. The NGOs interviewed include PBSP, Haribon Foundation for Conservation of Natural Resources (Haribon), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID). Institute of Environmental Science and Management (IESAM) based in the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) and the Department of Social Forestry (DSF), also in UPLB.

Policy Framework for NGO Collaboration

The DENR, in line with the 1987 Constitution, the Medium-Term Development Plan of the Aquino Government, and the NEDA Board Resolution No. 2 (series of 1989), openly recognizes the contribution of NGOs to national development and actively pursues their participation in program formulation and implementation. By working with the private sector, particularly the NGOs, the Department hopes to involve the general public in environmental protection and development which is deemed essential in pursuing sustainable development.

To operationalize its commitment to involve NGOs in its activities, DENR has issued several guidelines. In its Administrative Order No. 120, DENR outlines its basic policy of promoting NGO participation for the sustainable development of the country’s remaining natural resources. It also provides the general rules and regulations on the participation of NGOs in DENR programs, specifically the scope and areas of participation and accreditation procedures. Special Order No. 750 (series of 1989) created the national NGO Desk tasked to coordinate all activities concerning DENR-NGO collaboration. DENR Memorandum Order No. 24 (series of 1989) provides the guidelines on the conduct of monitoring and evaluation by NGOs of projects specific to DENR’s National Forestation Program.

Mechanisms for DENR-NGO Collaboration


In DENR, the basic mechanism for coordination with NGOs is the NGO Desk. It functions as 1) a coordinating center, 2) a resource/data bank, 3) an accreditation office, and 4) a support mechanism for NGOs. Prior to the creation of the NGO Desk. DENR coordinates with NGOs through the Outreach Desk of its Environmental Management Bureau. However, by virtue of a Special Order of the Secretary, the NGO Desk now assumes that function.

The NGO Desk is directly under the Secretary who provides the direction and institutional support in consultation with the Board of Advisers. The Undersecretary for Research and Environment is the intervening official between the Board and the Secretary. At present, the desk personnel include two clerical staff, two desk officers, and two technical staff.

The Desk coordinates both with NGOs and the DENR bureaucracy. Consultation with NGOs is done primarily at the national level, especially in the introduction of new programs. However, implementation of specific programs is coordinated at the regional, provincial, or community level, whichever is appropriate. Recently, the Desk completed consultations with NGOs on the formulation of guidelines for the NGO Desk and the monitoring and evaluation of the National Forestation Program. Coordination within DENR is done through the offices of the Undersecretaries of Research and Environment and Field Operations.

The NGO Desk, however, is still in the process of being institutionalized. At present, it has to rely on other offices for its financial and manpower requirements. This means that the NGO work of the personnel involved is an added burden to their normal load. Despite these obstacles, preparatory activities are on their way. A major activity at the moment is the setting up of regional NGO desks which involves identification of staff and orienting them to the nature of NGO and their activities.

Other mechanisms for collaboration

Prior to the creation of the DENR-NGO Desk, some mechanisms were evolved in the process of NGO participation in DENR programs and projects. Some of these were subsequently institutionalized. Admittedly, these modes are unique to the nature and disposition of the particular NGO involved as well as the particular project or activity, and may not be necessarily replicable to other NGOs. These mechanisms, however, provide valuable lessons in formulating recommendations in terms of setting up new mechanisms for GO-NGO cooperation.

Three forms of cooperation are presented here. The first arrangement is an outcome of the “debt-for-nature” swap 1 participated in by the Haribon Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The second form is the institutional arrangement evolved by academic organizations in their involvement with government agencies over the years. The third is a recent innovation which is the counterpart of DENR’s NGO Desk. This is the DENR-NGO Desk based in PBSP which serves as a clearinghouse for NGOs coordinating with DENR.

1 Debt-for nature swaps involve an exchange or cancellation of an external debt obligation in return for environment-related action on the pan of a debtor nation. Typically, a conservation or environmental group buys or receives as a donation the external debt of a developing country; exchanges the debt paper for local currency from the developing nations’ central bank; and pledges to use the proceeds for conservation programs in that country (from the Treasury Department Report to the US Congress, 13 April 1988).
The Management Committee established by Haribon, WWF, and DENR. The Management Committee was established primarily to oversee the implementation of projects negotiated under the “debt-for-nature” swap. The debt swap was arranged with the intervention of WWF, a private conservation group based in the US. WWF, in coordination with Haribon, agreed to purchase portion of the Philippine debt which were then converted into local currency bonds. Proceeds from this arrangement were used to fund various conservation activities including management of protected areas, training of community level resource managers, fellowships for graduate degree program, and field researches (Fig. 1).

The Management Committee is composed of representatives from Haribon. WWF, and DENR. It functions as a coordinating body and clearinghouse of all projects under the “debt-for-nature” swap 1. Because of the high profile of its members, the committee is able to facilitate coordination even at the field level.

1 Debt-for nature swaps involve an exchange or cancellation of an external debt obligation in return for environment-related action on the pan of a debtor nation. Typically, a conservation or environmental group buys or receives as a donation the external debt of a developing country; exchanges the debt paper for local currency from the developing nations’ central bank; and pledges to use the proceeds for conservation programs in that country (from the Treasury Department Report to the US Congress, 13 April 1988).
Project implementation, however, is separately handled by either Haribon or DENR. Projects under Haribon are planned, implemented, and evaluated by Haribon. Funds are directly sourced from the Central Bank, They do not pass through DENR and are not scrutinized by the Commission on Audit. Similarly, Haribon does not interfere with projects handled by DENR. Intervention occurs only when problems affecting the whole program arise. Otherwise, projects are implemented independent of each other.

Haribon’s problems in coordinating with DENR do not lie within the Management Committee but in coordination within DENR. A good example of this is its experience with DENR’s Community Forestation Program. Haribon became acquainted with the program through the Central Office. Since DENR has decentralized its operation, Haribon has to approach the PENRO (or CENRO) who has jurisdiction over the selected site. However, they found out that neither the PENRO nor the CENRO was aware of the program.

Fig. 1. HARIBON-WWF-DENR Management Committee

Another major problem is on accessing information from DENR. Maps, for example, are restricted information. Likewise, DENR programs which could be enhanced by public information are not well-circulated.

Coordination with academic institutions. Coordination of the IESAM and the DSF with DENR is subsumed under a general agreement entered into by the UPLB and DENR. Specific projects, however, are arranged at the institute or department level. Several forms of coordination have evolved over the years such as personnel services and provision of grants. UPLB staff, for example, are assigned on special detail at DENR, sometimes reaching up to three years depending on project requirements. Grants are also allotted to these institutions for research, academic programs, and institutional development.

A more interesting form of collaboration has been instituted with the implementation of the Integrated Social Forestry Program (ISFP). An Upland Development Working Group (UDWG) was formed composed of academic institutions and private groups together with DENR. The academic institutions include IESAM, DSF, the IPC of Ateneo, and the De La Salle Research Center. The executive committee of UDWG is headed by the Undersecretary for Field Operations. The UDWG functions as a coordinating body between DENR and the private sector, particularly academic institutions. To decentralize this type of working arrangement, similar structures are being set up at the regional level. This facilitates the maximum participation of regional organizations (Fig. 2).

One major advantage of this mechanism is that it deals directly with DENR field operations. These are the offices most NGOs are in contact with; they also handle the delivery of basic services to the people.

Despite the special arrangement of academic institutions in dealing with DENR, they also agonize on the slow release of budgetary needs. It usually takes one or two quarters before funds are released. While it is a standard practice for field personnel to establish rapport in project area, field staff of DENR projects usually establish first their credit lines so as to ensure their survival in the initial months.

NGO networks in natural resource management. Another mechanism that facilitates NGO-DENR collaboration is the establishment of an NGO clearinghouse which coordinates NGO activities relating to DENR programs. Toward this end, PBSP, in coordination with DENR, piloted the DENR-NGO Desk which was housed for one year at PBSP. The desk elicited NGO participation in natural resource management programs of DENR through 1) servicing the requests, queries, and other needs of NGOs, 2) disseminating and exchanging information, 3) conducting seminars, fora, and consultations, and 4) monitoring requests of NGOs.

Fig. 2. Upland development working group framework.

A major accomplishment of this pilot project is the formation of the Upland NGO Assistance Committee (UNAC) whose main objective is to share experience and expertise among upland NGOs and POs on sustainable upland development particularly agroforestry, land tenure issues, and marketing in the uplands.

NGO networks and other institutions perform a critical role in NGO-DENR collaboration. With these mechanisms, DENR is relieved of the tedious work of coordinating NGOs. Even the work of accreditating NGOs may be passed on to these networks. More important, however, is that these networks encourage the participation of NGOs because they are run by NGOs themselves and their autonomy are not threatened.

Challenges in Collaboration: General Issues

The lack of concrete mechanisms for coordination discourages the participation of NGOs particularly the smaller ones which comprise the bigger number of NGOs. In order for them to successfully work with DENR, these NGOs must have the financial capability to advance operational expenses without necessarily crippling their operation, With the release of funds being delayed for as long as two quarters, only NGOs with substantial reserve funds can cooperate with DENR. Moreover, these NGOs must be organizationally big enough to deal effectively with the DENR bureaucracy. Because while their programs directly relate only with a particular office or department, the absence of a mechanism obliges them to deal with the entire bureaucracy. For example, NGOs involved in improving the tenurial security of upland dwellers deal specifically with DENR’s Division of Social Forestry since it is responsible for the issuance of stewardship contracts. However, to process the papers and to speed up the release of budgets, they also need to relate with the administrative offices. Thus, these NGOs must have mechanisms to follow up papers at the central office aside from the capability to implement field projects.

It is also important to note that personal relations of the people involved becomes an important factor in this collaborative work. Confronted with the huge bureaucracy, knowing people inside DENR comes in handy and facilitates the processing of papers.

The creation of the DENR’s NGO Desk, though still at its inception stage, is a significant step toward the evolution of a mechanism for cooperation. However, its role and functions must be defined within the broader context of people’s participation in DENR programs, considering the needs and aspirations of NGOs. This requires a common framework acceptable to both DENR and NGOs.


1. The NGO Desk of DENR performs a vital role in NGO-DENR collaboration. The Desk, however, can be more effective if it redirects its activities toward facilitating NGO needs within DENR’s huge bureaucracy rather than coordinating NGOs. This will ease the burden of NGOs in dealing with DENR personnel and coping with the paper requirements. Initially, this would mean increasing the awareness of DENR field staff about the nature of NGOs and their activities. While the need for coordination with NGOs is strong among high officials, DENR field personnel who directly deal with NGOs have very little awareness of NGOs. This way, the NGO Desk functions as a facilitating body rather than a coordinating body, but it effectively services the needs of NGOs through efficient referral within the DENR bureaucracy.

Coordination among NGOs and even NGO accreditation may be better handled by NGO networks, even those established for other purposes. They can establish their own desks which will coordinate with DENR on environment and natural resource programs. These groups have the capability to monitor their own members and therefore have the capacity to fulfill accreditation. They can also determine the extent of participation of member-NGOs in DENR programs.

With this mechanism, DENR is relieved of the tedious work of coordinating NGOs. More important, however, is that this allows greater participation of small NGOs because they are run by NGOs themselves and their autonomy is not threatened.

Given the existence of the NGO Desk of DENR and the NGO networks (creating DENR Desks), a coordinating committee composed of representatives from DENR and NGO networks may be established similar to the UDWG and the Management Committee of Haribon, WWF, and DENR. However, this will involve groups of NGOs instead of individual NGOs, thus providing venues for direct relations between NGOs and DENR, and at the same time, facilitating coordination among NGOs. The coordinating committee should work closely with DENR field operations and should be replicated in the regional, provincial, and community levels whenever possible. Moreover, if this relation is to be sustained, access to information should also be facilitated.

2. Considering the above proposed mechanism, it is also recommended that cooperation be worked out on a program level rather than on a project level. This allows NGOs to participate in program planning and design rather than in mere project implementation. Even funding can be a joint activity of both parties.

3. The DENR-NGO collaboration and, for that matter, all GO-NGO cooperation, should be guided by the following principles of cooperation as outlined in the Asian Development Bank-commissioned study on cooperation with NGOs in agriculture and rural development:

· partnership - this principle implies the right and duty of each to be supportive of each other. Though one may differ from the other, they can still work together toward the same goal of “development with equity.”

· mutual trust and respect - mutual suspicions bred during the Marcos administration continue to strain GO-NGO relationships. If any viable relationship is to be sustained, both government and NGOs need to build mutual trust and respect.

· self-regulation and evaluation - in particular, NGOs must develop mechanisms to regulate and evaluate their activities.

· self-reliance - while working out their programs and projects, the NGOs must strive to develop their capacity to rely on their own effort, integrity, and resources in sustaining themselves.

4. Finally, the problem of fund disbursement on projects funded by DENR must be addressed immediately. If this problem is beyond DENR’s control, then NGOs should take the initiative by establishing alternative mechanisms like pooling of a central fund.

Assessment of NEDA-NGO Partnership


This paper attempts to assess the experience of the National Economic Development Authority’s (NEDA) collaboration efforts with nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and its work in promoting closer GO/NGO relationships.

The report contains the government’s mandate to relate with NGOs and highlights the role and activities of NEDA with regard to NGOs. It also presents actual experiences in NEDA/NGO collaboration and cites areas of strength where collaboration can be favorably pursued. The document also pinpoints issues on GO/NGO relationship which need further study and action.

This report was jointly prepared by ANGOC and the Social Development Staff of NEDA. Data for the report were culled from policies and resolutions approved by the NEDA Board and extracted from interviews with selected NGO personalities.

Functions and Structure of NEDA

NEDA, as the economic and planning agency, functions primarily as a coordinating body both at the national and regional levels. At present, where GO/NGO partnership primarily occurs at the program/project level, NEDA’s interaction with NGOs and POs is relatively less compared with that of line/implementing agencies like the DA, DAR, and DENR.

The present Philippine Constitution provides that unless otherwise reconstituted by Congress, the reorganized NEDA shall function as the independent planning agency of the government. Structurally, NEDA is composed of two separate and distinct entities: the NEDA Board and the NEDA Secretariat,

The NEDA Board coordinates the formulation of continuing and integrated socioeconomic development plans, policies, and programs; programming of official development assistance (ODA), and monitoring and evaluation of plan implementation. The Board is composed of the President as Chairperson, the Secretary of Economic Planning, and the Secretaries of DOF, DTI, DA, DENR. DPWH, DBM, DOLE, DOH. DFA, DAR, and DOST. Additional members of the NEDA Board appointed by the President include the Central Bank Governor, the Coordinating Committee on the Philippine Assistance Program (CCPAP) Chairperson, the Executive Secretary, and the Presidential Coordinating Secretaries. There are six cabinet-level interagency committees in the areas of budget coordination, investment coordination, infrastructure, social development, tariff and related matters, and official development assistance which assist the NEDA Board in the performance of its functions.

The NEDA Secretariat serves as the research and technical support of the NEDA Board and its various subcommittees. It also provides technical assistance through its various organizational units (sectoral and functional staffs) including the conduct of studies and development of policy measures and recommendations. It is headed by a Director-General who serves as the Vice-Chairperson of NEDA. The Director-General carries the rank and title of Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning and is a member of the Cabinet.

At the regional level, the thirteen NEDA Regional Offices (NROs) likewise serve as technical secretariats of the Regional Development Councils (RDCs). The RDCs are tasked with the preparation of socioeconomic plans in each region.. They likewise coordinate all planning activities of national and local governmental bodies operating at the region.

Policy on People Participation

In recent years, the government has increasingly recognized the significant role played by NGOs and POs in the development process. NGOs particularly are accessible and acceptable to POs and communities in general, notwithstanding their adeptness at conceptualizing and undertaking innovative approaches in development work.

NEDA, as early as 1986, has adopted a clear policy of openness and recognition of NGO involvement and people’s participation in charting the country’s development, At the onset of the Aquino Administration, it coordinated the formulation of the “Policy Agenda for People-Powered Development,” the development framework of the new government. One of its guiding principles is minimum government intervention which underscores the promotion of greater involvement of the people in the decisionmaking process and harnessing people’s power based on a unity of purpose towards “an effective pursuit of the definitive goal of an improved welfare for the nation.”

Concretely translated into a strategy. “... community-based institutions including NGOs will be involved in the identification, implementation, and monitoring of specific projects under the Program.” Such policy statements including those contained in the 1987-92 Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) are meant to be integrated into the various agency plans and translated into specific programs and projects and to govern structures and mechanisms aimed at developing and sustaining GO/NGO partnership. The updated MTPDP (1988-92) recognizes NGOs as partners and not simply allies in development work and enjoins the setting up of more functional and viable working mechanisms for GO/NGO collaboration.

In the approved NEDA Board Resolution No. 2 (Series of 1989), the government has issued the Guidelines for GO/NGO Collaboration which includes the process and criteria for NGO participation in development programs, availment by NGOs of tax exemption, funding support and incentives to NGOs, and the provisions for setting up mechanisms that will coordinate GO/NGO efforts in the development process. Major provisions in the Board Resolution include:

1. Implementing agencies at various levels of government should be made responsible for accrediting NGOs.

Simple and less bureaucratic accreditation criteria should be adopted by the agency. NGOs should be consulted in the development of the specific agency accreditation criteria.

2. Agencies involved in the processing of requests from NGOs for tax/duty exemptions should review their procedures/guidelines to simplify and expedite the process. Moreover, tax exemption requests should be acted upon within seven days provided documentation is complete.

3. Recognizing the significant role of NGOs in attaining the development goals of the country, the donors should be encouraged to further augment their present fund allocations/levels of assistance for NGO activities.

There should be flexibility in the application of government auditing rules and regulations to NGOs availing of ODA and participating in the implementation of government projects.

4. To systematize and facilitate GO/NGO partnership, each department/agency should task a specific unit or a person to coordinate with NGOs at both the national and regional levels. These subregional units should be given the authority to negotiate and collaborate with the NGOs operating at the local level. There should be, however, a mechanism within the department/agency whereby the central office can periodically assess GO/NGO collaboration at the local levels.

As a general rule, NGOs should be informed of and consulted on major policy and program decisions, and proposed legislative programs/agenda that concern them. GOs and NGOs shall exchange newsletters and tap existing talk shows/public affairs programs to disseminate information toward improving GO/NGO collaboration.

NEDA-NGO Focal Point

Even before the promulgation of the NEDA Board Resolution No. 2 (Series 1989), NGO concerns are closely associated with the social development sector. The responsibility, thus, has increasingly focused on and identified with the Social Development Staff (SDS) of NEDA on account of its role in the drafting of the Guidelines on GO/NGO Collaboration, It emerged later on as the NGO Desk/Focal Point at NEDA in compliance with the related provision in the NEDA Board Resolution, Since NGO concerns transcend beyond the social development sector and are equally crucial in other sectors as well, each sectoral staff at the NEDA Central Office, including the Regional Office, was enjoined to designate either a division or a specific person for NGO matters.

The NEDA Focal Point is a member of a governmentwide NGO Liaison System directly under the coordination of Dr. Edilberto de Jesus, the Presidential Adviser on Rural Development (PARD), who was earlier assigned by President Aquino as her government officer-in-charge of GO/NGO concerns. Likewise, Secretary Jose de Jesus, by virtue of Memorandum Order dated 25 October 1989, designated the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), in collaboration with PARD, as the primary agency to take charge of NGO matters particularly in the operationalization of the following five-point action plan:

1) development and maintenance of a data base on NGOs,

2) improvement of NGO access to information on government,

3) setting up of a regular mechanism for GO/NGO consultations,

4) modification of government administrative and auditing requirements to facilitate NGO participation in government programs and projects, and

5) provision of training and capability-building programs for NGOs.

While the Social Development Committee (SDC) assumes overall coordination and monitoring of the compliance of concerned agencies of the NEDA Board Resolution, the PARD and PMS, pursuant to the President’s directive, shall have direct coordination with the NGO officers of the various government agencies through the NGO Liaison System. The PMS, being a member of the SDC Technical Board, shall render the appropriate reports periodically to the SDC Cabinet on the status of GO/NGO partnership within the purview of their coordinative task.

NEDA Activities and Accomplishments

In keeping with the provisions of the NEDA Board Resolution No. 2 (Series of 1989), a number of NGO-related activities were undertaken by the NEDA staff.

Recently, a Primer on the availment of duty tax exemptions, was published by NEDA. This was prepared by an interagency group and approved by the NEDA Board to inform and guide the public, particularly the NGOs, who benefit from foreign donations on how exemptions from payments of customs duties under existing government laws may be granted to them. The Primer, which is basically a compilation of existing procedures presented in a question and answer format, also includes the arrangements which allow exemptions of such importations from VAT provided for under NEDA Board Resolution No. 58 (Series of 1988) dated 13 July 1988. The NEDA Secretariat, being one of the agencies which issue duty-free certification, has reviewed and streamlined internal processes to ensure prompt action on certification requests.

Other relevant activities undertaken by various NEDA staff include:

1) a directory of NGOs compiled from submissions of GOs and umbrella NGOs, both national and region-based (this is, however, not a listing of accredited NGOs) which is presently being printed for distribution primarily to government agencies;

2) ongoing dissemination of the listing of available facilities for NGOs’ direct access to ODA;

3) representation to donors to increase their fund allocations and facilitate NGO access to their assistance;

4) an ODA Handbook which is also in the printing stage;

5) participation of the NGO Focal Point in the drafting of a Code of Ethics to govern coordination of NGO Desk Officers with NGOs/POs; and

6) drafting and subsequent approval of the NEDA Board Resolution No. 6 (Series of 1990), Guidelines for the Selection of the New Set of Representatives of the Private Sector to the RDC. On this item, the Board Resolution gives due focus on NGOs.

On a related development, the SDS is presently finalizing the draft of the Operational Mechanism for the Proposed Livelihood One-Stop-Shop for pilot testing and to eventually institutionalize a faster and more efficient means for NGOs/POs to access livelihood funds from government through its various livelihood programs. An earlier corollary move was the rationalization of the government’s initiatives along livelihood concerns (as embodied in Administrative Order No. 42) which among others, authorized selected government agencies to undertake livelihood programs, limited direct lending of government funds to DSWD, and recognized NGOs as conduits of livelihood funds of government for access by POs.

On a continuing basis, the following remains to be priority concerns of the NEDA Secretariat:

a) drafting of appropriate policies to further enhance GO/NGO partnership;

b) tapping of NGOs in the monitoring of selected major government projects;

c) inviting NGO representatives to serve as discussants in various fora involving issues of national/sectoral concerns;

d) consultations in the formulation of policy measures;

e) increased participation of the NGOs/POs in development planning and policy formulation;

f) search for procedures and mechanisms whereby NGOs may effectively and efficiently participate in the programming of ODA funds and evaluation of development programs and projects;

g) coordination of joint project visits with NGOs;

h) participation of NGOs in undertaking and implementing NEDA-coordinated projects such as in the conduct of situational analysis, policy reviews, policy formulation, etc.

NEDA/NGO Partnership: Process, Problems, and Progress

In the light of the role, function, and mandate of the NEDA, it can be gleaned that opportunities for people’s participation can be realized in the areas of formulation of socioeconomic development plans, policies, and programs, accessing and programming of ODA, and monitoring and evaluation of plan implementation.

Since the adoption of the updated MTPDP (1988-92) and the approval of the NEDA Board Resolution No. 2, much of the work of NEDA focused on the area of creating an enabling environment for NGOs to relate closer with government such as the approval of the Guidelines on GO/NGO Collaboration, publication of a primer on duty tax exemption and the ODA Handbook, developing a code of ethics to govern coordination of NGO Desk officers with NGOs/POs, etc. These activities, though still in the initial stages, are developments welcomed by the NGO sector. The degree of political will and availability of resources to see through its proper implementation remain to be seen.

To date, there seems to be little NGO participation in ODA programming. Likewise, participation of NGOs in monitoring and evaluation of plan implementation is very limited.

There are, however, ongoing mechanisms where NEDA/NGO interaction exists. These are the sectoral planning subcommittees (national and regional) and the RDCs where NGOs participate in development planning and programming. RDCs are likewise expected to endorse NGO proposals seeking foreign assistance.

Experiences in NEDA/NGO Partnership

NGO participation in regional development councils. In line with the national policy of decentralization, NEDA has spearheaded the creation of regional and local development councils which are responsible for regional planning and program monitoring.

Article 10 Section 14 of the 1986 Philippine Constitution states that “the President shall provide for the regional development councils or other similar bodies composed of local government officials, regional heads of departments, and other government offices, and representatives from nongovernment organizations within the regions for purposes of administrative decentralization to strengthen the autonomy of the units therein and to accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the units in the regions.” This highlights the recognition accorded to NGOs as an equally important member of RDC. This provision likewise institutionalized NGO representation in the RDCs.

PHILDHRRA’s recent publication entitled NGO participation in regional development councils (March 1990) provides a general assessment of NGOs’ effective and relevant participation in RDCs. The study found that participation of NGO representatives is limited to making general comments on RDC plans and programs, and articulating the interests of their sector or constituency. Their presence guarantees that the sectors or groups they represent have a voice. NGO/PO representatives are able to do little beyond this. They are unable to influence RDC decisions because of their small number. The NGO/PO sector is not even the dominant force within the private sector since business and civic groups control the bulk of the slots allotted for the private sector.

Though structures for people’s participation in government planning bodies are in place, it does not necessarily guarantee that NGOs/POs are given equal opportunity to participate effectively in the RDC.

Processing and endorsement of NGO proposals to donor agencies. There are three modes of channelling ODA to NGOs. These are as follows:

Mode I: Donor governments provide funds directly to local NGOs through their existing NGO facilities/windows such as the Philippine Australian Community Assistance Program (PACAP) and the Philippine Development Assistance Program (PDAP).

Mode II: Funds are coursed by the donors through the Government of the Philippines for availment of NGOs. Proposals for funding follow the same procedures adopted for the projects of the public sector. Proposals of NGO are reviewed, prioritized, and endorsed by the government. Only proposals of accredited NGOs are generally considered for possible ODA funding.

Proposals are of two types: a) those which fall under any ongoing program or project are evaluated and acted upon by the concerned implementing agency, and b) those which do not form part of any ongoing program or project are evaluated and reviewed by NEDA. Upon review, NEDA submits the proposal to the appropriate funding agency.

Mode III: Foreign NGOs provide funds directly to local NGOs. To the extent that assistance is part of ODA, only proposals of accredited NGOs are considered for funding.

Of the different modes of assistance, it is only mode II that requires NEDA’s review and endorsement of an NGO project. While there is a general awareness of NEDA’s function as a secretariat which coordinates and endorses projects particularly those for ODA, the specific procedures for such were not clear to NGOs.

For joint GO/NGO projects (type A) that were approved by an implementing government agency and subsequently sent to NEDA for endorsement to a donor, the NGO proponent seems at a loss on how to follow up the status of a project proposal already in possession of NEDA.

A case in point is ANGOC. ANGOC and DAR developed a project which aims to operationalize and institutionalize a joint DAR/NGO/PO project to monitor and evaluate the impact of agrarian reform and related support services of the CARP. This project which was developed during the time of Secretary Philip Juico was eventually approved by DAR under Secretary Florencio Abad and sent to NEDA. NEDA, as a matter of procedure, acknowledges all proposals submitted to them for endorsement. Nearly six months after, NEDA has not sent any word to ANGOC and DAR about its status. Even DAR officials, when inquired about the project, seem to have little knowledge on the status of the project with NEDA.

In short, ANGOC was not made aware of how followup can be made in view of protocol or procedural requirements.

NGO proposals that seek Mode II funds do not form part of an ongoing program of a government agency are submitted directly to NEDA or coursed through the NEDA regional offices. Project proposals which are national in scope are submitted to NEDA and are processed by the NEDA Secretariat. Proposals that are to be implemented at the local or regional level are reviewed and endorsed by RDCs who, in turn, inform the NEDA Secretariat of their decision.

Some donors, usually those who have no or little experience with NGOs, advise NGOs that seek their assistance to submit their projects to NEDA for review and endorsement.

In the case of a PBSP project proposal (the Marinduque Development Program) which aims to implement the first integrated area development program in the province, PBSP submitted it to the French Embassy for possible funding. The French Embassy which has shown interest in the project advised PBSP to secure NEDA’s endorsement as a prerequisite to funding the project. Upon submission of the project, NEDA’s desk officer, in charge of project proposals for support by the Government of France, forwarded the proposal to the RDC for their approval. The project was immediately approved by the RDC inasmuch as the RDC and the local government units participated in the development of the project, The project was eventually supported by the French Government upon receiving endorsement from NEDA.

Consultative meetings on the participation of NGOs in the development process. The SDS of the NEDA Secretariat organized two consultative meetings at the national level with GOs and NGOs. The first consultative meeting was among GOs (both line and support agencies/departments) to discuss and generate consensus on major policy issues in relation with accreditation, funding support and incentives, and coordinating mechanisms. The second consultation (a joint GO/NGO meeting), while primarily intending to validate the recommendations made during the first meeting, generated additional insights and perspectives from the invited NGOs (generally tertiary and intermediate types with few primary NGOs).

GO/NGO consultative meetings were also organized by the RDCs through the NEDA regional offices to elicit reactions on the issues and draft recommendations of the national consultations.

These consultative meetings were well-attended by NGOs, thus opening up linkages with more NGOs at the regional level with NEDA. The consolidated results of the national and regional consultative meetings were presented to the SDC in November and December 1988. The terminal report was subsequently sent to all participating NGOs who were requested to share the results with other NGOs and POs.

Formulation of the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP). In the formulation and updating of MTPDP, NEDA convened sectoral and related planning subcommittees composed of both representatives from government and private sectors. Member NGOs/POs represented different subsectors and were chosen primarily on the basis of their representativeness. Moreover, these NGOs had, in various ways, shown initiatives of entering into partnership with GOs. NGOs/POs were likewise invited as participants in the conduct of policy consultations and periodic reviews of the MTPDP and other related concept papers, etc. and in the review of emerging development issues.


1. Admittedly, the present attempts to improve GO/NGO partnership at NEDA are indeed limited and confined to traditional consultations and related modes. NGOs have increasing clamor for substantive participation in the formulation of development policies, programming of ODA, and evaluation of development programs/projects. To respond effectively to this requires setting up viable innovative mechanisms responsive to the needs and peculiarities of NEDA and its various units and the NGOs. It means, in particular sensitizing NEDA and concerned NGOs about the bureaucracy and making them realize their respective strengths and limitations.

Conferring with representatives of multi- and bilateral agencies during mission visits in the Philippines is an area where NGOs can be actively involved in ODA programming in the country. NGOs should be given an equal opportunity to meet with international missions.

2. Given the varied tasks of the NEDA sectoral staff and in particular, the NEDA Focal Point (exclusive of its ad hoc responsibilities), conducting an indepth review of its internal processes to serve as basis for evolving appropriate arrangements/mechanisms (yet very essential) needs to be undertaken. NGO desks, to be truly functional and effective, have to be set up just for that purpose. This will mean special budgetary allocations and corresponding manpower complement,

One practical consideration also to contend with is the matter of developing a selection process for NGOs with whom to coordinate, particularly in relation with intersectoral concerns (e.g., economic policies). The selection process should be jointly developed and agreed upon by NGOs. Individually, NGOs should pursue a proactive attitude in accessing information or seeking out linkages with government and donors.

3. Given that NEDA has now come out with guidelines on GO/NGO collaboration, as well as on policies, procedures, and mechanisms for donor funding, NEDA should further explore ways and means that can maximize the dissemination of these information to the NGO community. NEDA may want to consider tapping the assistance of NGO networks to facilitate dissemination and increase its reach. Aside from the printed medium, NEDA can be invited to fora and meetings to discuss NEDA/NGO concerns.

4. The NEDA Secretariat is mandated to act on requests for evaluation and endorsement, To streamline the processing of proposals particularly for those falling under mode II, NEDA should come out with information on systems and procedures on project requirements, application and approval criteria and process for popular dissemination. This step will minimize confusion among NGOs and greatly facilitate the project evaluation and approval process.

5. NEDA should assess RDCs with regard to the effective participation of NGOs in its program and activities. Immediate steps should be undertaken to ensure NGOs’/POs’ genuine participation in the RDCs.

6. Government personnel (specifically the NGO desk officers at different levels) have to undergo a systematic and continuing orientation and skills training on participatory development, both through experiential and structured sessions. Moreover, massive consciousness-raising sessions must be pursued among critical sectors of government for greater appreciation of GO/NGO partnership. On the other hand, NGOs also need to be sensitized on the constraints/limitations posed by government bureaucracy for them to have a fuller grasp of the situation and set more realistic expectations from their GO counterparts.

7. Greater efforts have to be undertaken toward advocating for the formation of coalitions/alliances among NGOs and strengthening the relationship between GOs/NGOs, and POs. Moreover, harnessing of the potentials and empowerment of POs must be the primary concern of GOs and NGOs. Their catalytic role in development has to be upheld at all times and must be an essential consideration in their networking efforts

Overview of GO/NGO/PO Collaboration Issues

The issues outlined below were considered some of the recurring themes in GO/NGO/PO relationships which were culled from various workshop group discussions and Assessment Reports of the four government agencies and their NGO counterparts, namely, DA, DAR, DENR. NEDA, ANGOC, CUP. PBSP, and PHILDHRRA.

1.0 General issues on GO/NGO/PO collaboration
1.1 Lack of common definition of NGOs. This lack of operational definition of the term “NGOs” and the broad diversity and range of groups that claim to belong to NGOs has led to difficulties in formulating and implementing policies related to GO/NGO collaboration.

1.2 Difficulty in distinguishing NGOs from private sector. The private sector and NGOs are interchangeably used. The nonprofit, service-oriented and developmental nature of NGOs distinguish it from the private sector.

1.3 The issue of accreditation as a means to monitor and control NGOs is also seen as a factor that will affect the autonomy of the former and its possible cooptation by government.

1.4 There is a lack of clear criteria for selection of NGOs/POs for possible participation in government-sponsored programs and projects. As a result of this, there is a tendency for government agencies to favor only a few NGOs to the detriment of other NGOs with competence and good track record.

1.5 There is also a perception that NGOs are mere “brainstormers” and “implementers” of village (micro) projects. Related to this, NGOs are perceived as lacking in managerial and technical skills to be able to operate on a large scale and sustained basis.

1.6 The democratic space provided to NGOs are continually subject to curtailment through (in some instances) harrasment of NGO development workers, bureaucratic red tape, and the lack of institutional mechanism for ventilating issues and redress at the local level.

1.7 The mutual adversarial attitudes of GOs and NGOs toward each other is also observed.

2.0 Mandate of GO/NGO/PO partnership and collaboration
2.1 There is an apparent recognition from both the government and the NGO/PO sectors that the 1987 Philippine Constitution (Sec. 23 Art. 2) is perhaps the only constitution in the world that gives recognition, as a state policy, to NGOs’ role and importance in nation building.

2.2 The GO/NGO/PO partnership therefore derives its mandate from the constitution.

3.0 Recent positive trends
3.1 There seems to be an emergence of local (provincial! and regional) NGO networks that engage in collaborative work with GOs; i.e., TRIPARRD in collaboration with DAR, ASDAR of Region 11 collaborating with various government agencies including NEDA.

3.2 There is also a shift in NGO policy advocacy with government from being mere critical toward proactive policy formulation; e.g., CPAR in formulating PARCODE, NACFAR in formulating Fisheries Code.

3.3 The number of NGOs doing subcontracting work for GOs (i.e. contract reforestation) and engaging in joint projects with governments are gradually increasing.

3.4 The establishment of direct funding mechanism for NGOs either from ODA or direct from the government is also viewed as a positive trend toward greater and better partnership.

Assessment Summary of GO-NGO Collaboration


Agrarian Reform (DAR)

Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

Agriculture (DA)

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)


DAR Executive Order 120-A (DAR Reorganization Act) emphasizes the importance of a dose collaboration between GO and NGO. Under Administrative Order 1-86, the Planning and Policy Office (PPO) is tasked to formulate values related to DAR-NGO collaboration. It directs regional directors and local unit officers to seek cooperation and participation of NGOs. Under A.O. 11-89, NGOs who wish to participate in DAR programs will be accredited.

DENR Administrative Order 120 outlines basic policy of NGO participation for sustainable development of the country’s natural resources.

Special Order 750 (s. 1989) Memorandum Order 24 (s. 1989)

DA Executive Order 116 (DA Reorganization Act) states that in implementing the mandate, there must be people’s participation. In Feb. 5 1990, a more expanded version was reached by DA and the cooperatives. A document entitled “Statement on the Establishment of a National Partnership for Cooperatives Development” was signed by both parties.

NEDA Board Resolution No. 2 (s. 1989) states that the Medium-Term Devout Plan recognizes nongovernment agencies as essential partners in development efforts. There is a felt need to strengthen GO-NGO collaboration through more sectoral and viable working relations.


Modes: (1) Through the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (highest policy-making body of CARP), include representation from the NGOs in the local levels; PARCCOMS and BARCS serve as policymakers and implementors.

(2) Through the “Peasant Forum”, allow NGOs and POs feedback to DAR on agrarian reform-related concerns.

(3) Project implementation is done together with other NGOs.

(a) Action research projects with PHILDHRRA, MASS-SPEC, NATCCO and VICTO; (b) training for ARBs (i.e., PBSP, CRTD, and ODISCO In Negros as lead NGOs) (c) project management for land tenure improvement, support services and beneficiaries development with LIKAS-CCS

(4) TRIPARRD, PHILDHRRA initiated programs that enable DAR, DENR, DA, and NGOs/POs to work together in pursuing a genuine land reform program.

Problem: Until the creation of the DENR-NGO Desk, the mechanism for DENR-NGO partnership was not dear. NGOs had to feel their way through DENR’s huge and complex bureaucracy just to establish a working arrangement.

Existing modes of cooperation:

(1) The NGO desk in DENR serves as a clearinghouse for NGOs in connection with DENR concerns. Prior to this, DENR coordinated with NGOs through the EMB Outreach Desk.

(2) A management committee Specifically organized to oversee the implementation of projects under the “debt-for-nature” swap.

(3) A DENR Desk in PBSP established primarily to serve as clearinghouse for NGOs which need assistance in accessing resources with DENR.

(4) The Upland Development Working Group composed of DENR, academic institutions, and NGOs which assist in the implementation of the Integrated Social Forestry Program.

Problem: Mechanism for partnership to be firmed up in the DA level. Complex bureaucracy in the department tends to slow down the process of coordination.

Modes: (1) A management contract executed by DA with the consent of the NGO to do technical assistance or NGO training i.e. ACES Catanduanes Project, PBSP Integrated Rural Financing.

(2) Small-level counterpart programs designed and implemented both DA and NGO.

(3) Provision of NGO expertise to DENR through management/technical assistance contracts. Academic and training programs of NGO institutions are usually tapped.

(4) Establishment of NGO networks - i.e., UNAC (Upland NGO Assistance Committee) - which facilitate linkages with other sectors like government.

Problem: Although there was a clear awareness among NGOs about NEDA’s secretariat function, specific procedures for accessing ODA funds are not clear.

Mode: (1) Interagency planning meetings conducted by the NEDA (SDS) where NGOs are invited to attend and participate in drawing specific sectoral plans - i.e., KABAPA, a women’s organization worked out together with NEDA a Philippine Plan for Women.

(2) Project endorsement by NEDA to funding agencies like the Wheelchair and Disabled Association of the Philippines.

(3) Project proposal sent directly to funding agency and a copy furnished to NEDA-i.e., PBSP’s Marinduque Proposal to the French Embassy. Regional endorsements from RDC, MDC. PDC, and Regional NEDA were secured before NEDA formally endorsed it

(4) Project proposals without NEDA’s endorsement only for information purposes - i.e., NATCCO’s proposal on cooperatives sent to CIDA without NEDA’s ratification.

Basically, i.e., inputs of DAR are directly/indirectly dealing with NGOs/POs. However, it is really the Support Service Office which collaborates with them.

Within DENR, there to now an NGO Desk under the Office of the Secretary which handles NGO concerns. At present, it is composed of two desk officers, two technical staff, and two clerical staff, it is still in the process of being institutionalized. Regional desks are now being set up.

(1) Then the National Agricultural and Fisheries Council (NAFC) through Executive Order 116 has been established to bring the government and private sector together as productive partners in agricultural development. It serves as a consultative feedback mechanism from the field level.

(2) The DA Special Concerns Office directly under the Secretary does prototyping innovative approaches - i.e.. Outreach Desk which does the monitoring and institutionalizing of DA-NGO and Small Farmers/Fisheries Organization (SFO) partnership. This Desk will be removed as soon as an interphase with respective units has been defined.

NEDA SDS acts as focal point for GO/NGO collaboration. It is tasked to coordinate and disseminate information and recommend policies to enhance GO-NGO relations. At the original level, Regional Development Councils have been organized to do regional level and program planning and monitoring, where NGOs are represented (Executive Order 408 and 309). They are also represented in regional consultative assemblies.

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