While people may consider cities as the "most enticing and dynamic part of the Philippines", the rural areas are the most critical sectors that can determine Philippine progress. The important role of rural areas in development will continue even though urbanization is expected to spread rapidly.
The target of development or upland socioeconomic upliftment is the rural populace. About 60 percent of the Philippine population live in the barrio. Considering this proportion, it would be probably right to assume that the survival of the Philippines largely depends on this sector's liberation from poverty, disease, powerlessness, superstition, fatalistic values, and attitudes.
Latest satellite data (1987) showed that Western Visayas (Region 6) had only 7 percent forest cover. This is an alarming situation where the involvement of the citizenry in the rehabilitation of forest resources is a must. To abate the declining capabilities of these resources to support the demands for survival of the geometrically increasing population, the government, through the DENR, launched development programs to improve the lives of the impoverished upland farmers. And to preserve what is left of the resources or rehabilitate what has been degraded. Two of these programs are the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the integrated Social Forestry Program (ISFP). The CARP's objective is to promote social justice and sound rural development and industrialization through an equitable system of land ownership and distribution. The ISFP, on the other hand, aims to achieve productivity in the country's remaining upland resources while enhancing and maintaining the quality and balance of the environment.
With these considerations, the DENR has identified several sites to be covered by the CARP-ISF and CARP-ISF R&D programs. The latter is being implemented by ERDB and ERDS. The CARP-ISF R&D identified and qualified recipients of the ISFP which are holders of the Certificate of Stewardship Contract.
For development to take place in a society, an approach involving all structures, principally the social, economic, and political, are considered to serve as stimulants to change. To speed up the developmental activities, women participation has been proven to be indispensable. This approach disproves the belief that in oriental culture, women are demure, dainty, and helpless individuals who need much protection. They are pictured to be lacking in creativity, initiative, and originality. As such, they are expected to take the backseat in any undertaking outside the home, which is probably the only place where they are supreme.