Chairperson’s Report

chairpersonOnce again, good afternoon and welcome to the 2014 Annual Membership Meeting of the Partnership for Development Assistance in the Philippines. (That is a P not an F mind you)

Being elected as your Chairperson only in March of this year or barely three (3) weeks before the close of the fiscal year which is the main subject of this meeting, allow me to render on behalf of the Board of Trustees, a general report on what happened last fiscal year and at the same time talk about the highlights of what we expect to do this fiscal year. Thank you for electing me as your chair, I accept the “ïce bucket challenge” for development of peoples.

Toward the latter part of this report, my personal view of the present landscape is duly expressed, specifically in terms of opportunities and challenges that our organization faces and ideas that the incoming Board may wish to consider.

Our Treasurer (Finda of Assisi Foundation) will talk later about the general state of our finances to be followed by the report of management which will provide the operating and financial details.

Last year saw the election to the Board of Trustees of five (5) new but seasoned development LEADERS. This was after the previous set of Board of Trustees resolved that PDAP’s by-laws must be adhered to strictly as good governance dictates. Capping a deliberate process that took almost six (6) months, the Board appointed as Independent Trustee Ms. Ma. Aurora Francisco-Tolentino. Rory gladly accepted.

In the Board planning workshop last March, two (2) Board committees were created, the Resource Mobilization and Investment Committee chaired by our Treasurer and the Programs and Financial Services Committee headed by our Vice-Chair (Boy of Phildhrra). It is expected that this will result in improved Board oversight of key business processes of PDAP, not to mention faster crafting of policies and decision-making to guide the staff. Corollary to this, the Board of Trustees will be able to concentrate on matters of more strategic import. In the same planning workshop, the plan and budget for FY 2014-15 was crafted which was approved in the Board of Trustees meeting last May.

As a fallout of the PDAF (this time with an F!) scam, we, just like thousands of non-profits, applied for the revalidation of the tax-exemption status of PDAP. Going over our Articles of Incorporation, we may have to amend it to avoid the taxman. We will also work on the renewal of our PCNC certification, the more stringent conditions courtesy of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, notwithstanding.

Last fiscal year saw the penultimate year[2] of our seaweed project which is funded by the Spanish aid agency, AECID, through Fundacion CODESPA. While the project was faced by operational challenges (e.g. illegal small mining activities near the project sites, typhoons, frequent changes in CODESPA staffing in the Philippines), seaweed production increased by a significant 61% (vs. target of 10%) to more than 1,100 metric tons in 2013. Relatedly, income generated by the beneficiaries was approximately PhP 4,500 per month per farmer. It’s worthwhile to mention that at the beginning of CY 2014[3], PDAP entered into a partnership with member PBSP for the provision of business advisory services to the beneficiary groups.

A very significant part of the financial resources ceded to PDAP by CIDA in early 2011 were in the form of program assets financed during the implementation of the PRIME project.[4]

  • We closed the unsuccessful pilot project (under the PRIME project) on agricultural micro-finance in selected areas in South Cotabato, Tawi-tawi and Antique. We need to document the VALUABLE experience as a learning model on “how not to do”. At the same we will continue exploring alternative arrangements with local partners to recover whatever we can still recover.
  • GlowCorp has produced positive financial results for two (2) consecutive years after losses in its first two years of operations. As envisioned, from a high of almost 90% the equity stake of PDAP is down to 57% at the close of CY 2013.
  • The Bukidnon Organic Producers Corporation or BOPC is a lost cause. We have to finally wind it up by dissolving it.
  • The guaranty deposits we have with four (4) development partners depend on the performance of the loans extended by these partners that PDAP guaranteed. Notably, the Philippine Cooperative Fund (PCF) has not called on the guaranty of even a single account. In contrast, another partner (i.e. NATCCO) called on the guaranty of 13 (out of 14) accounts. Of the 13, only 1 has the potential to be recovered by PDAP. There are also other called accounts then handled by the 2 other partners (i.e. FPSDC and MASS-SPECC) where the staff are exploring schemes for the recovery of some amounts.

FPSDC or the Federation of Sustainable Development Cooperative, a PDAP brainchild, continues to deliver satisfactory operating and financial performance. PDAP’s footprint in FPSDC remains very visible with our very own Danny and Gil sitting in the coop’s Board. We thank Danny and Gil for their inputs during the FPSDC’s strategic planning.

We now have a modest presence in Samar implementing a seaweed project; thanks to Tabang Visayas, particularly to member Assisi Development Foundation which provided a grant support of P2M. This is supplemented by modest donations from two Americans. We are part of an initiative of a women’s group to implement a huge seaweed project off the coast of mainland Antique if funding support from a UN agency (i.e. FAO) and a big local bank (i.e. BPI) will materialize.

Working with government is very challenging, more so during this time. We devoted (and maybe wasted) a lot of time bidding for projects of DAR in its ARCESS Program.

Our concept note was approved by the USAID’s PhilAm Fund Project (implemented by the Gerry Roxas Foundation) last fiscal year although the full proposal (in partnership with GlowCorp) will be considered in the 2nd grant cycle which is anticipated to commence in October this year at the earliest.

Getting off the coattails of the Canadians (i.e. CIDA) in early 2011 after more than two decades of fruitful partnership. We are left with a new “ice bucket” challenge: a challenge to give our brains and bodies a jolt to leap forward despite all odds by giving more of ourselves to the cause of PDAP a better quality of life for PDAP and those it helps. PDAP has a entered a new phase of its existence. Although open doors to opportunities beckon us to approach, yet the transition is not a “walk in the park”.

PDAP has made its mark in sustainable agriculture (and in organics). The organic law has been passed where PDAP and partners played important roles. We helped organize a good number of viable community-driven organizations for sustainable agriculture.

The organic law has allocated a fund for projects enhancing organic agriculture to the tune of over a billion pesos in the coming two years. We have to find a way to leverage what we created for our constituents. TOL, thinking out loud, after meditating on what PDAP was and still is, I am of the opinion that size, breath, and clout of PDAP as a partnership is not maximized at the moment. It has not truly responded to the development “Ice Bucket Challenge”

It may be incumbent upon us, members to trigger this huge membership unto a larger national impact more than its size.

Advocacy in action comes to mind as a good platform, more so by engaging partners beyond the present membership. What united action can be effected?

The development of the world is pushing humanity to the extremes. We live in the era of the KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY, non-material, non-physical; money and revenues are coming from the brain not the brawn… dabbling in technology and IT solution in almost all fields of endeavor is the name of the game. The possibilities are limitless, those who do not engage, are left behind and are eradicated from history. That is one extreme. The other extreme is, the excruciatingly, blatant reality that humanity needs access to healthy land, water, weather patterns, biodiversity for survival and quality of life. This issue which is material and physical has come to the fore. PDAP is more akin to the second extreme. However, although still not organized and enhanced, we already possess a plethora of knowledge products of the second extreme. We just need to organize them. We have so much untapped and unorganized knowledge not only in PDAP but also among members. Our knowledge is embedded on physical and material reality.

In closing, let me make some specific suggestions to consider the whole year.

Let us sharpen PDAP’s programming.

  1. Put sustainable agriculture(not merely organics) in the center of development which will include, what has been done or are on-going(capital, technology, marketing)
  2. Link SA to climate chance where huge dividends are expected, inclusive of DRRM
  3. Have an inventory of knowledge product of PDAP and create an information and knowledge management section into PDAP
  4. Create a consultancy department in PDAP secretariat. I am sure all the members of PDAP can supply the people with technical knowledge and the heart for development I see huge dividends from this for the members, the consultants and for PDAP as an organization standing up to the ice bucket challenge

May God bless our efforts.

Chairperson, FY 2013-2014

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