Personal Reflection on Development
By Mark Rivera and Erika Valdueza
Ondoy and Pepeng – two storms that continuously battered the Luzon Island with extreme heavy rains for 3 weeks – left our nation devastated and vulnerable. News and pictures of landslides, floodwaters, mountains of wastes, destroyed infrastructures, floating cars, and scattered dead bodies were seen all over newspapers, television and the internet. As if the storms acted like thieves of the night, every Filipino from all walks of life – the rich, the poor, women, and children – were all robbed and sudden victims of this great calamity.
Floods and other natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, and landslides are already part of living here in our country. However, there’s seems to be no proper measures and immediate solutions implemented by our leaders and followed by our people. Thus, the calamity made our society naked showing the truth about us – that we, Filipinos, lack the willingness, right discipline and appropriate practices for development.
After reading the two articles, I realized that we already have the necessary tools and methodologies to take the initial steps to act on these problems. The issue doesn’t actually lie on what we know but on how to develop these things to be properly implemented from the micro-level up to the macro-level.
Development starts from measurement practices on the micro-level (e.g. individuals and communities).Through PM&E (Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation), the significant changes, successes and failures in this context are determined by indicators defined by varying stakeholders’ interests, objectives and purposes. The indicators should be mundane for it to be effective and easily applied. It should include inputs and outputs that can be reduced and standardized. On the other hand, measuring the outcome and impact in this manner is impossible. The two elements cannot be quantified therefore they need to be captured in a holistic approach – wherein the essence, or the essential character, of complex systems and the relationships between them must be the upmost importance of achieving development. Combining all of these factors, the mundane should contribute towards transforming relationship. This will eventually empower stakeholders especially individuals and/or particular groups that are powerless over others.
These things should then be brought up to the macro-level (e.g. organizations, institutions, and national government). Considering with our situation right now, the developmental measurements and practices, even though it needs time to grow and evolve, must be boldly pushed forward to catch up with the increasing socio-economic and financial problems in the country. Most importantly, it’s about time that we build up and widen our knowledge on implementing solutions and developments in all stages within a timeline. We need willingness, motivation and discipline in order to make this happen.
If only the developmental practices and measurements mentioned in the two articles and other literatures concerning development have learned, practiced, and lived by all levels of society – including the excluded and most especially ourselves, the catastrophe that until now makes this country weak, could have been avoided.