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by Ronna Marie Badua

March 8, 2016 marks a historical event for the NCI family because the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 1 S. of 2015 otherwise known as “Strengthening the Implementation Framework for the DA-DAR-DENR-DILG National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development” has already been published at The Daily Tribune.

The NCI, a strategy that upholds improvement, conservation, protection, and rehabilitation of natural resources through the development and implementation of environmental-friendly enterprises and livelihood opportunities has long been waiting for the completion of the signatures of the Secretaries from the DA-DAR-DENR-DILG in the JAO. Some delays were encountered due to the stepping down of Former DILG Secretary Manuel A. Roxas from the DILG to run for public office. Despite unfortunate yet unavoidable circumstances, the DILG Secretary Mel Senen affixed his signature last February leading to the publishing of the JAO.

The JAO, a very vital legal basis to the effective implementation of country side development will finally be in effect fifteen (15) days after its circulation on a national publication. This means that the NCI shall be able to mobilize its necessary counterparts from the regions down to the municipal level in order to realize its mandate to promote and develop poor rural areas in the country.

 

Essential to the realization of poverty reduction and inclusive growth in the rural areas, here is the executive summary of the aforementioned administrative order:

Joint Administrative Order No. 1 s. of 2015: Strengthening the Implementation Framework for the DA-DAR-DENR-DILG National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development

The DA-DAR-DENR-DILG Joint Administrative Order S. of 2015 was created to strengthen the implementation framework for the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD). The latter, being identified by the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) as a multi-sectoral and integrated planning approach adopted by the rural development agencies towards more efficient use of resources aims to accomplish the following:

  1.        Accelerate the completion of CARPER up to 2016;
  2.       Rationalize the land use policies and strengthen the system of land property rights;
  3.        Promote sustainable agriculture and preserve the land resource base;
  4.       Enhance the investment and opportunity climate for agribusiness;
  5.       Promote sustainable upland development and forest management; and
  6.         Initiate climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

To be able to strategically advance, preserve, protect and rehabilitate natural resources through the development and execution of environment-friendly enterprises and livelihood opportunities in identified convergence areas, the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural development shall be directed according to its principles to wit:

  1.        NCI-SRD shall be treated as a complementation strategy between and among concerned agencies (DA-DAR-DENR-DILG);
  2.       Emphasis on the primacy of LGUs as the integrating and converging force for sustainable rural development at the local level;
  3.        Adaptation of participatory approach in all phases of development;
  4.       Complementation of resources and expertise of the concerned agencies and LGUs shall take primordial consideration; and
  5.       Encourage private sector investment.

These policies shall administrate the realization of NCI-SRD in the countryside specifically to those identified convergence areas that need interventions from the government to achieve the best possible results.

In addition to, as stipulated in the context of this Joint Administrative Order, the National Steering Committee, which is composed of the DA-DAR-DENR-DILG Secretaries, shall act as the policy-making body of the NCI-SRD in conjunction with the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM) and appoint the National Focal Person who will oversee and supervise the NCI-SRD activities. The National Convergence Initiative Technical Working Group shall serve as the advisory and recommendatory to the NCI-NSC on matters regarding the implementation of NCI-SRD activities while the National Convergence Initiative – Ecosystems Technical Groups (NCI-ETWGs) mentioned below shall be responsible in ensuring that the objectives of the NCI-SRD are achieved and seen to improve institutional efficiencies in the administration of sustainable rural development:

  1.        Technical Working Group on Coastal and Marine Resources Management - shall contribute to the attainment of as well as complement the initiatives in the Local Government Code of 1991, The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, Climate Change Act of 2009, Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, Executive Order 533 s. 2006 (adoptation of Integrated Coastal Management) and other relevant laws;
  2.       Technical Working Group on Sustainable Lowland Agriculture – shall contribute to the attainment of as well as complement the initiatives in the Local Government Code of 1991, Climate Change Act of 2009, Biofuels Act; and
  3.        Technical Working Group on Forestry and Upland Development – shall contribute to the attainment of as well as complement the initiatives in the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines, National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Biofuels Act of 2006, Local Government Code of 1991, Climate Change Act of 2009, People’s Small Scale Mining Act, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act and other relevant laws.

Meanwhile the NCI-SRD Secretariat shall be the coordinating body of all NCI-SRD activities to the NCI-SRD NSC, NCI-TWG and the different NCI-ETWGs as well as concerned agencies in the regional, provincial, and municipal level.

To further the strengthening of the NCI-SRD, the National Convergence Initiative – Component Working Groups (NCI-CWGs) were also organized to serve as cross-cutting components or support groups of the three (3) NCI-ETWGs. The different NCI-CWGs are:

  1.        Policy and Advocacy (PA) CWG– responsible for the review and audit of conflicting and overlapping laws, policies, and programs that hamper the implementation of programs and projects of the different agencies;
  2.       Agro-Enterprise Cluster and Agribusiness Development (AECABD) CWG – responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of agro-enterprise cluster development and agribusiness within the selected convergence agro-enterprise clusters and other areas;
  3.        Capacity Development (CapDev) CWG – responsible for formulating comprehensive capacity development plans for the Convergence Initiative stakeholders; and
  4.       Knowledge Management (KM) CWG – responsible for developing a common database of information for the national, regional, and provincial Convergence Initiatives. Due to thediversity of the component’s duties and responsibilities, it was divided into three (3) subgroups namely: IT Sub-Group, Ma and E Sub-Group, and the KPS Sub-Group.

In terms of funding the NCI-SRD activities, DA-DAR-DENR-DILG is mandated to allot budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) of their annual budget which shall be mainstreamed or tagged as solely allotted in support to the convergence initiative operations and administration in the Local Convergence Agro-Enterprise Clusters (LCAEC) and SRFS and for the Management Teams or Secretariat at various levels.

A monitoring and evaluation system based on indicators of performance parallel with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) shall be advanced and utilized and organized. A regular reporting system shall be established in an open and transparent manner complementary to the Managing for Development Results (MIDR) principles. This is to ensure that the projects and programs under the Convergence Initiative are properly handled and effectively enforced.

Constant updates of any activity of NCI-SRD shall be furnished to OPAFSAM for appropriate actions with regards to coordinating and monitoring as well as giving guidance and advice to the National Steering Committee (NSC) and the technical working groups.

The DA-DAR-DENR-DILG Joint Administrative Order s. 2015 supersedes the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1 s. of 2010 and all other issuances inconsistent with it. It shall be effective 15 days after its publication in one (1) newspaper of general circulation and upon registration with the Office of the National Administrative Register (ONAR).