Jaipur, India The Test Of Effective Participation

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TAAL 2007

Jaipur, India

The Test Of Effective Participation

In Management Planning

(Under Conference Topic: Lake Basin Management Initiative, Legal/regulatory Framework or under Community Participation)

M.P.G. Luna (ipatluna@pusod.org), Presenter

16D1 Legaspi Towers 300, Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila

tel no. 63 523 5621 mobile 63 917 504 8265
V. Gonzales (vida_gonzales@yahoo.com)

111 Orchids Street, Calatina Village, Lipa City, Batangas

tel no. 63 43 757 3192


In developing countries, most management planning for protected lakes happen only when there is a foreign-funded project that covers the planning expenses. The result is often management plans that are highly technical and short in consultations and negotiations with the stakeholders who have to live, work and exercise political power in the area.

In the Philippines, there has been much discussion on community participation, co-management and stakeholder involvement, but genuine ownership by the residents has been a challenge.

Humans can never hope to completely manage ecosystems, only ensure that their impact on it are within permissible limits. What is permissible is often based on what makes sense to a society. All too often, bureaucrats think that there should be a thick, technical plan as well as a ten page Executive Summary or popularized version.  However, stakeholdership is generated not by post-plan communications but by negotiations on the very elements in the plan.  The technical data would merely be inputs to the stakeholders and should make sense to them.

One means to ensure that there is ownership and not merely participation in management planning is to fund the entire process from investments by the stakeholders themselves. In Taal Lake, the exercise is funded by third, fourth and fifth class municipalities and villages with pro bono work from scientists and coordinative work from NGO’s. Stakeholders will have to answer to their constituencies if the plan is anything less than comprehensible and feasible. Furthermore, it would be possible to generate commitments from stakeholders to undertake required activities and to comply voluntarily. Lack of resources will then not be a valid excuse for failure to implement the plan.

Management of a protected area and lake basin is a social and political activity informed by science that should work to guide actions for collective ends.

Keywords: protected landscape. Tapat. Transformative dispute processing. Dynamic equilibrium. Plain language. Counterpart.


Participatory learning and communication are tools for facilitation and negotiation. They will yield the best results when they are put to work in a context of negotiation and collaboration among stakeholders (preferably on both local and national levels). A new understanding of natural resource management is needed, one which is less prescriptive and more open to exploration, acknowledging that outcomes are dependent on a multitude of factors which no one actor can control. (Ramirez, R., 1998)

No discourse on development in the recent decades has failed to include participatory processes and democratization of access to and decision-making over local resources. Great strides in analysis and systematic approaches to design, indicators, adaptive collaborative management have been churned out by some of the best thinkers in protected area management (Buck, L.E. et al, 2001). In the Philippines, policy has been steadily moving towards recognition of the prime importance of local voices in resource management. While many researches have focused on the elements that help turn projects into successes, there is a growing dissatisfaction on the actual costs of this shift (Salamanca, 2002, Canivel, 2001). Experience as to the sufficiency and sustainability of gains in engaging local peoples in resource decisions have led many to conclude that the failures abound and that the tendency of projects is towards ephemeral and insubstantial transfers of power (O’Hara, 2002; Resurreccion, 1998). However, a great deal of hope has been generated by these efforts. Success stories do abound and thankfully, many practitioners are not quite ready to abandon their basic belief in the participatory framework (Bagadion 2006) but instead are willing to finally stop for a moment and analyze their own work.

In the Philippines, with at least two decades of steadily progressive policy pronouncements and replete with results and publications on forest and marine resources management, there has been little in terms of participatory management of lake ecosystems. The largest lake and 8 other neighboring small lakes are all run by the Laguna Lake Development Authority under a statute (Republic Act 4850, 1966). It is, perhaps, the only lake in the country that has been fully studied and suffers little from data gaps that make management unresponsive. This paper is an ex ante report that seeks to determine, using previous hands-on experience as well as analyses of frameworks and successes, what elements would make up a participatory process in management planning for Taal Lake in Batangas, Philippines.
Faranak Miraftab minced no words in asserting that the ideas of empowerment and social capital have gradually been used to rationalize the nature, means and ends of governance by States and financial institutions (Miraftab, 2004). The participatory resource management discourse has been similarly hi-jacked, replaced by flawed models of consultation, nominal participation and a continuing tendency and preponderance to externally and expert-driven “development” while still promising democracy and poverty alleviation. Project-driven management planning has tended to yield plans that are highly technical, underfunded and poorly understood by implementers and worse, virtually unknown to stakeholders.

However, this situation far from warrants a reversal to a state-led protection and conservation system that is frequently more in paper than on the ground. There is still no escaping the incapability of developing country governments to perform all the necessary functions of protection and conservation while also delivering goods and services for the poor. As such, devolving and decentralizing management remains a necessary step that may reduce transaction cost and lessen the role of what may be seen as an “external” player from the equation. Effective decentralization, however, requires a recognition by the state of the natural wealth over which local peoples have rights, the need to devolve management and access and the shared responsibility to build the natural assets(Boyce, 2001) instead of degrade them. In doing so, external actors need an appreciation of existing local capacity and innovation in response to changes (Waters-Bayer et al, 2004). This appreciation is seen to make the disadvantaged groups partners instead of merely stakeholders.

Framework of Analysis
While there have been some success in identifying variables and elements that comprise successful participatory resource management (Bagadion, 2006), scaling up to create a greater shift in policy and praxis has been lacking. Whether those elements that define success can be adapted across scales (Berkes, 2006) to larger scale ecosystems of multi-level and multi-disciplinary stakeholders begs to be discovered. Apart from spatial scale, temporal variability and social and ecological systems that are in flux makes for such complexity that management planning becomes a daunting task for any manager. Anderson (2001) summarizes approaches, methods and techniques for adaptive collaborative management, emphasizing that it is a multi-stage process with a never ending series of proposals and counterproposals advances and withdrawals, experimenting and learning. He offers pluralism as a simple way to give the poor and less powerful an identity and the freedom to form coalitions and contribute to the capacitation of others. He acknowledges that sometimes, “weak” actors are more powerful than other actors give them credit for and accepting the absence of a central controlling power gives the weak more voice and visibility. “Disciplinary maps”, symbols and directions that fragment this complexity, only partially capture the understanding needed to govern the dynamic world. New and better tools are required. (Folke, 2007)

One attempt to consolidate a scaling up of community success is what is called participatory natural resource management, rationalized, defined and described by the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy in the University of the Philippines (Espaldon, 2004). Using a sustainable development framework, the authors enumerate the methodologies for use in such a practice. As a demonstration of this construct, a Community-based Water Quality Monitoring project is described. The project had elements of tribal rituals that initiated researchers into tribal values, educating tribal members in scientific monitoring. The story does evoke an ideal community-directed resources management arrangement, except that the data gathered has not been used to full effect and that decision-making power using the data remained elusive (Deutsche 2001). When building institutions and strengthening collective learning and decision-making in an ecosystem under threat, Roling and Jiggins (1998) see the usefulness of platforms for resource use negotiations. In the context of Philippine lakes, we see these platforms as the opportunities for multi-sectoral discussions – the scaling up of community-based work. What follows is an analysis of how a framework on community driven projects for environmental protection (Bagadion 2006) can be applied to a multisectoral setting and what adaptive mechanisms can be applied to ensure a good fit using the management planning process that will be undertaken by Tanggol Kalikasan in partnership with the Department of Environment and the Protected Area Management Board.

The community-driven model to be used is the dynamic fit or dynamic equilibrium model, illustrated in Figure 1. Bagadion identifies fractals of effective action, which he called variables, as follows: community needs, strategy, capacity, leadership, inputs and sense of ownership by community. Bagadion goes on to attribute success to a dynamic equilibrium of these variables. When the fit is tight, the variables are interacting responsively to situations and their full potential is tapped.
Bagadion goes onto describe eight principles of dynamic equilibrium:

  1. The strategy must be based on the fusion of community needs and the interests of external environmental protection bodies

  2. The capacity of the implementing organizations, or its choice of a partner organization must be congruent with the action plan

  3. A project can be effectively carried out only when the stakeholders have trust and confidence in each other

  4. The project must have a capacity or mechanism to respond to evolving situations. This capacity relates to the flexibility of the management and the timeliness of its interventions

  5. The people must develop a sense of ownership for the project

    1. They must have a sense that they are respected;

    2. A sense that they will be heard when they have something to say

    3. A sense that they are being treated fairly and can understand the rules

    4. A sense that following the rules will bring about a desirable effect

    5. A sense that they will get something (money, better crops, better health, or some other benefit) in return for their participation
    6. A feeling of confidence that they are not giving up anything that they view as unfair trade-off in return for whatever they are getting

  6. The action plan must be broken down into small, doable segments around which people can mobilize and do things by themselves.

  7. Inputs must be congruent.

  8. A dynamic leadership must steer the project to ensure equilibrium.

The Lake Basin

Taal Lake is the Philippines’ deepest lake (172m) and third largest (234.2 km2). It is located in Batangas province which is part of Region IV-A, the Southern Tagalog mainland area at 14:00N, 121:19E. Thirty seven (37) tributaries drain into the lake and its only outlet is Pansipit River which drains to Balayan Bay. Both the lake and the river are classified as Extremely High, Urgent under a listing of Key Conservation Areas (Ong, et al, 2002). The lake is a crater lake with a history that has contributed to its archaeological, geological and biological importance. Ancient settlements were believed to have been submerged due to volcanic explosions. The lake is home to endemic species across various families. A 1927 fish inventory of Lake Taal identified 76 migratory species and many endemic species. However, a 1995 study indicated only 15 species of migratory fish found in fish landing stations. About 4 endemic fish thrive in the lake with Sardinella tawilis as the most important, being the basis of subsistence fishery among the artisanal fisherfolk and comprising up to 57% of fish production. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources reports that Sardinella tawilis catch dropped by about 80% in the last decade (Mutia, 2000).

The area is divided among 11 lakeshore municipalities and 2 cities which will benefit in improved mangement of the lake. These towns and cities have an aggregate voting population of nearly half a million people, and a total population at around 800,000. The Taal Volcano Protected Landscape as proclaimed by former President Fidel V. Ramos covers two more towns and one more City totalling 65,720 hectares in total area with 24,000 more or less of lake area (Proclamation No. 906, 1997).

Intervention by Tanggol Kalikasan began in late 2003 with funds sourced for the annual Congress of the lakewide organization of fisherfolk, Kilusan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda sa Lawa ng Taal (KMMLT). The annual Congress has not happened in the preceding three years due to funding constraints. Appreciating that there was no effective management of the basin in place, starting off with assisting in the consolidation of the most disadvantaged sector in the lake was an important first step. Subsequent funding assistance from IUCN Netherlands allowed for assistance in reviving the fisherfolk organization, training the Protected Area Management Board, then composed of 25 members who were mostly planning officers of the towns. These members complained that their decisions were not effective as they relied on the political authority of the mayors of the towns who could not be bothered by the PAMB or the protected area. Tanggol Kalikasan then embarked on a restructuring of the PAMB to comply with the law as well as gain political power for the Board. The National Integrated Protected Area Systems Act (Republic Act 7586, 1992) required that there should be representation up to the smallest unit of government, the barangay. A table survey using the technical description in the Proclamation yielded that there were 187 barangays in the basin.

After nearly a year of attending assemblies of barangay captains and meetings of mayors of the 3rd District of Batangas which covered most of the lake territory, Tanggol Kalikasan submitted the required documents to the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. In January 2006, appointment papers were released for 137 new members which included a majority of the mayors. An Executive Committee was promptly elected, subcommittees were appointed and a Manual of Operations of the new PAMB were drawn up.

The consensus as to the most urgent issue facing the lake is the lack of an integrated regulation on fisheries. This is the shared community need variable. The Philippine Fisheries Code (Republic Act 8550, 1997) excluded protected areas in the definition of Municipal waters. As such, Municipalities had to be briefed that they did nto really have the jurisdiction to grant permissions for access forover the last ten years. Realizing that this power exercised for ten years by the Municipalities belonged all that time to a Board they ignored, they set about making things right. It was no wonder that it took several more years from the 2006 re-organization of the Board to competent decision-making for conservation.
Experience came in the form of developing the Unified Rules and Regulations on Fisheries, passed by the Executive Committee on March 2, 2007 and the Board en banc on March 21, 2007. The process was steered by an active subcommittee of Fisheries headed by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources representative to the Board. It involved consistend drafting committee meetings, at least four technical working group meetings involving all the Municipal Agricultural Officers, and two open public consultations on the eastern and western side of the lake.

Written completely in Tagalog, the language in the entire basin, this was a departure from other rules and regulations in other sites as well as virtually the entire legal system of the country which are all in English. The Board is finally ready to undertake management planning to better guide its future decisions and the actions of all stakeholders. In a Memorandum of Agreement entered into between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Board and Tanggol Kalikasan, the latter was tasked to undertake the planning process for the protected area, with contributions from the local governments comprising the basin to defray the costs.

The Management Planning Process
The National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 (Republic Act 7586) and its implementing rules and regulations (Department Administrative Order 25, Series of 1992) provided for a General Management Planning Strategy (GMPS) and a flowchart of the steps to be taken for management planning. The policy provided for an interdisciplinary team to be appointed by the Regional Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources but did not state the source of funding for the process to proceed.
Two projects piloted the implementation of the Protected Areas Act in the country and implemented the law in 18 sites. These included the Conservation of Priority Protected Areas Project funded by the Global Environment Facility and the National integrated Protected areas Programme funded by the European Union. Neither project followed the GMPS to the letter. The GMPS did not assume that protected areas had no appropriations of funds and that it would take a very long time to generate the needed funds for management planning in the components of the Protected Area System not under foreign funded projects. Furthermore, the capacities of the bureaucracy did not match the needs of protected area management. A variety of management planning methods arose from a civil society eager to use the law to protect ecosystems while protecting community rights. Many of them included some of the same elements but broken down to the simplest means that are easily understandable and lend themselves easily to community engagement and implementation.
Critical Elements of Tanggol Kalikasan’s

Involvement in Protected Areas in the Region

Tanggol Kalikasan’s experience in building constituency and strengthening management institutions in neighboring Mt. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape led to a five-year closure of the sacred mountain which annually took about 700,000 pilgrims each Holy Week in March. On the first year of the closure, collaborative and multi-sectoral implementation led to the arrest of 81 violators, indicating that there was general public compliance and general restraint in religious pilgrimage due to a well discussed and well-publicized policy (Mallari, D. 2005). The feat was considerable because implementation of the myriad environmental laws in the Philippines is patchy, at best.

In a compilation of case studies on negotiation coaching, Estacio Lim, project officer, analyzed the experience in Mt. Banahaw and came up with a list of elements that contributed to the success of the systems installed to achieve the closure and other management actions. These included:

  • The empowerment of ordinary citizens

  • Openness in the public mind

  • A steady focus on the broader interest

  • The ability of the implementers of the project to suspend judgment, assume the good faith of all the stakeholders despite their livelihoods and past actions that threatened the site

  • Openness among stakeholders to institutional and self-transformation

  • Broad stakeholdership through media and strict implementation

In addition, the Taal Lake experience in drafting the Unified Rules and Regulations for Fisheries highlighted several other factors, including:

  • Defining of common broad and long term goals for the area

  • Shared prioritization of problems and threats

  • The need for stakeholder commitments to contribute and to comply

Without getting mired in stakeholder identification or the definition of “community”, the information gathering for the Unified Rules and Regulations and Fisheries as well as the upcoming management planning process has and will include every sector who might conceivably have a stake in the future of the lake. The networking for the lake cast a wide net and ensured that all sectors interested in the lake and its conservation was aware of what was being done.

Other factors are expected by implementers to have great impact include the language of the management plan and the translation of technical jargon into bite-sized pieces that easily lend themselves to comprehension and action, the new tools to replace what has characterized planning experience previously including hard-to-read maps, insufficient resources for negotiating with stakeholders and unresolved resource conflicts.

This will be the first protected area management plan in the country that will be in the local language. This is very daunting to technical volunteers, comprising of experts in wildlife biology, landscape and environmental planning, limnology and ecotourism. The challenge is to only use technical information that can lend themselves to comprehension and action by any resident of the protected area reading the plan. Instead of a highly technical plan that would challenge even a PhD holder, a plain language plan will not merely be the public version but the main version. There is little use for highly technical information in the plan itself, although there may need to be an Annex or separate document on the research needs and parameters for more detailed monitoring. It will be the experts who will be challenged to explain their recommendations on prescriptions and monitoring indicators in the simplest possible way in order to be included in the plan.
Content of the negotiations based on simplified technical input can focus on the results and outcomes desired by stakeholders. Ferreyra (2006) culls lessons from the Maitland River Watershed, Lesson No. 2 of which is to negotiate indicators for evaluation among stakeholders. These can be framed as simple and understandable indicators that can be enumerated in the fingers of one hand – a set that would be easily remembered and “handled”. There has been much work on the development of indicators in conservation projects across multisectoral institutions but these are mostly complex monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that people could not relate to.

In addition, the process will raise necessary funds to include participatory mapping in three dimensions (Integrated Approaches to Participatory Development, www.iapad.org), where discussions can revolve around a miniature but accurate physical representation of the basin. Lack of resources is seen in the process as both a problem and an opportunity. Given the obvious need for such an efficient planning tool and the absence of funding for it, all concerned stakeholders can put their heads together to find a way to fund the creation of the three-dimensional map around which zoning discussions will take place.

Dynamic Equilibrium on a Multisectoral Scale

As the framework developed for community-driven development is used in the basin level, policy and decision-making is being decentralized from the national level. The powers and functions of the Protected Area Management Board and its alter ego, the more manageable Executive Committee, to which most functions that may be devolved has been thus devolved, are very clearly defined in the law and regulations. To assess the effectivity of bringing the empowerment of the community to the basin level, the following four elements for decentralization (Dethier, 2004) can be taken into account:

    • reliance on local information for decision making

    • transparency

    • accountable officials

    • local capacity and participation

In the process for the drafting of the Unified Rules and Regulations for Fisheries in Taal Lake, it is important to point out that the specific role Tanggol Kalikasan played was as facilitator. While legal advise was provided when sought, the main actors in the drafting, consultations and presentation were the members of the Subcommittee on Fisheries of the Board, headed by the representative from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. As such, both the drivers of the process and the restraint of the facilitator to “facipulate” ensured that all the elements above were present. Most of the information relied on for the initial draft were from the researchers of the Fisheries Bureau stationed in Ambulong on the shore of Taal Lake and they were supplying their representative to the Board, Leah Villanueva, who was herself the center chief of the station. Subsequent revisions were made on the draft after every consultation based on the sentiments expressed and, when possible, amendments were written right on the text projected through an LCD projector during the proceeding. If these same elements are used to guide the management planning process, it would also be likely that the decentralization objective would be met. The major obstacle to this is expected to be the difficulty of using plain language for technical interventions by the experts, since local capacity cannot be expected to rise to their level.

Using the basin as the unit within which the principles of dynamic equilibrium will be applied, the following transpositions could be used:

  1. The strategy must be based on the fusion of expressed community needs and the goals of the protected areas law

  2. Stakeholders committing to undertake parts of the plan must have the capacity to deliver.

  3. Trust and confidence in each other have to be earned and kept throughout implementation

  4. The plan must include a mechanism to respond to evolving situations, both expected, like population growth, or unexpected. This capacity relates to the flexibility of the management and the timeliness of its interventions

  5. The people must contribute resources to the process, thereby developing a sense of ownership for the plan in its entirety.

  6. The action plan must be broken down into small, doable segments around which people can mobilize and do things by themselves.

  7. Inputs must be within the capacities of managers and stakeholders to provide.

  8. The Protected Area Superintendent, as the Chief Operating Officer of the Protected Area, must manage the dynamic variables to ensure equilibrium.

The additional challenge to the technical experts apart from plain language translation is how to ensure that through the resulting plan, there will be an increase both in quality and inherent value of the natural assets for the benefit of all. The plan in its entirety, the management zones and prescriptions, and the reasons have to make sense to the stakeholders for them to retain the contents, comply with the prescriptions and contribute to its implementation.

Tanggol Kalikasan’s Commitment

Throughout the process, there is a persistent tendency to place Tanggol Kalikasan in a role that it did not arrogate upon itself nor want. As a facilitator and on-call-only legal adviser, it is not represented in the Board. It does not steer the process as the invitations, activities and programmes are determined by the subcommittee (on fisheries for the unified rules and on plans and programs for the management plan). It has little or no scientific or technical input in the planning. As a matter of fact, it is virtually the agent with the most benign effect on the content of the plan itself. It focuses its energies, instead, on the integrity of the process and the use of the guidelines to ensure effective decentralization of decision-making. Among Bagadion’s variables, Tanggol Kalikasan seeks to contribute to the development of capacity across other sectors, including the development of leaders in those sectors. It aims to formulate a strategy for the management planning process that is derived from the sectors themselves and in that sense, leadership is only in terms of the process rather than the subject or issue under discussion. Inputs are from across sectors, with Tanggol Kalikasan making up a coordinative role for all the inputs and ownership is slowly gained due to the openness of the process.

The specific parts of the stakeholder ownership can be tested through Bagadion, if the following can be observed among the stakeholders:

    1. They must have a sense that they are respected;

    2. A sense that they will be heard when they have something to say

    3. A sense that they are being treated fairly and can understand the rules

    4. A sense that following the rules will bring about a desirable effect

    5. A sense that they will get something (money, better crops, better health, or some other benefit) in return for their participation

    6. A feeling of confidence that they are not giving up anything that they view as unfair trade-off in return for whatever they are getting

To ensure that participants in all activities throughout the process have a sense of all of the above, Tanggol Kalikasan representatives have to strictly stay in the facilitation role. At any point at which it is seen to take a position on the discussions other than to reach resolution, the sense of fair treatment is lost and participants may start to lose confidence that any trade-offs they might be willing to take would remain fair.

Another rule of thumb that would be natural for Tanggol to adhere to is Developmental Legal Assistance (Diokno, 1981). Developed in the early 80’s by Senator Jose Wright Diokno in reaction to the repressive regime of Ferdinand Marcos, and as a defense of human rights, Developmental Legal Assistance uses as a basis for provision of legal services the reality of injustice within the legal system. Developmental Legal Aid places interventions in the context of law, justice and political realities. It is premised on the fact that laws are made by fallible humans, do not by themselves deliver justice but are not static, can be used as instruments for justice and are susceptible to change.

Tanggol Kalikasan started environmental law advocacy in 1987, after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship a year before, flush with the eagerness that justice might finally be served within the legal system. It spent the first three years engaging in litigation of environmental causes. It became obvious within that time that while the dictatorship had been dismantled, the cultural underpinnings, the institutions and the stunted democratic space had not disappeared along with it. As such, Developmental Legal Assistance had to be brushed off and used again, this time not just in a human rights context but also in a context of environmental dispute. New skills developed as Tanggol matured included alternative dispute resolution, which at first seemed like a means to deliver an unhappy compromise where the environment would be sacrificed. But merged with the principles of Developmental Legal Assistance, a method of appropriate dispute management was evolved, which Tanggol Kalikasan has come to refer to as transformative dispute processing. Instead of merely reaching compromise without regard to environmental considerations, transformative processing required the parties to have an appreciation of the inherent value of the resources apart from their own interests in it. In order to do so, a cultural transformation is necessary.

As part of the management planning process, this transformational character should smoothen the edges of the regulatory character of the plan for stakeholders and allow them to give up what used to be permitted for a longer term and broader benefit. It should also arise out of non-positional facilitation would need some iteration. The process should be characterized by an element that would be culturally received and imbibed. The following iteration is proposed as the necessary commitment to participation.

Tapatan: a cultural iteration for a frame of mind in

Stakeholder Negotiated Management Planning (SANA-MAPA)
If a management plan is to make sense to people whose daily acts have impacts on the protected area, not only should it be in their language, it would also help if it is framed in a cultural construct that they understand, are touched by and agree to adhere to.
“Tapat” is a Tagalog term with multiple meanings:

  • It has a qualitative meaning - having integrity or being faithful, as in tapat sa tungkulin (trans. Faithful to one’s work)

  • It has an absolute meaning – it means truth, as in “Tatapatin kita” (trans. I will tell you the truth)

  • It has a value meaning - being equal or at least equivalent, as in “Walang katapat” (trans. No equal)

  • It has a place meaning - immediate premises and across, as in “tapat ko, linis ko” (adage for one’s responsibility to clean up his immediate premises)

  • It has a meaning implying intent – the intent to match or counterpart, as in Tatapatan mo ba?” (trans. Will you match it?)

These multiple but related meanings evoke collective agreement to counterpart as well as integrity to such agreement. The necessary elements of participation in terms of ownership and identification and shared motivation to achieve a common result can be influenced by a commitment at the onset to be Tapat. The language of the term also lends itself to a more heartfelt inclusion which implies more negotiation in good faith than mere consultation susceptible to being ignored. The commitment also lends itself to easy mainstreaming in mass media as it is an easy sound-byte to identify commonality and secure continuing commitment and integrity. As a guideline to facilitation, Tanggol Kalikasan intends to request that all participants adhere to be all the meanings of tapat as the process unfolds.

The first admission (pagtatapat) that should be made is by the mandated manager of the Protected Area which realistically has few resources to make, much less implement a plan. The Protected Area Superintendent’s Office is currently staffed by one person with almost no dedicated resources. From the perspective of Anderson (2001), this may in fact be a good thing and despite the severe lack of resources for organizational strengthening of the artisanal fisherfolk, they may in fact be the ones with greater control over the resources than the manager. While the law provides for an Integrated Protected Area Fund for use by the Management Board and Superintendent, this will only be generated after the Unified Rules and Regulations on Fisheries and the management plan itself will have come into effect and legalized a system of collection. In the meantime, even the office mandated with management has to rely on the commitments of the stakeholders, including the facilitator.
Conclusion and the Way Forward
The management structure, social and political relationships within the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape’s Management Board Management were on the anvil, being shaped by experience for the last three years. Management planning is the next major challenge to stakeholders in a protected area, much more so when the managers are endowed with little or no resources for the process and for implementation. But as in any dynamic ecosystem, gaps can be filled if the need for a plan is felt strongly enough. The gap, however, is not only in resources but an appropriate process for planning that ensures genuine participation and ownership. Future planning exercises need to take into consideration a clear set of standards that would tell if the resulting plan has any chance of implementation.

Among the myriad indicators that could be applied, this ex ante report attempted to enumerate the guidelines by which a process and resulting plan for Taal Volcano Protected Landscape could be tested. The principles of the dynamic equilibrium model with a few modifications as applied in a multi-sectoral and basin scale, coupled with transformative dispute processing and the right language and a culturally appropriate pledge of commitment by stakeholders will be used in the process and later tested for effectivity and impact.

Deepest thanks to Albert Salamanca for his guidance and stream of sources, Ricardo Ramirez for giving the author a lightbulb moment on indicators during a workshop in Ithaca in 2000, Asis Perez for striking down “facipulation” whenever he smells it and to Howie Severino and Alon Severino for their patience and support.


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Figure 1. the Dynamic Fit Model (Bagadion 2006)




Feedback and feedforward process

Interrelationships, interdependence among variables

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