Manila Report Winter 2013
By Max Maquito, Michael Tomeldan
With a total of 87 participants, three corporate sponsors (thanks to the efforts of Architects Michael Tomeldan and Steph Gilles of the College of Architecture of the University of the Philippines), and a Radio Program Extension two days after the seminar (courtesy of Dr. Aliza Racelis of the College of Business Administration of the University of the Philippines), SGRA’s 15th Sustainable Shared Growth Seminar, held last February 8, 2013 (Friday), showed that the seminar could be a smashing success and at the same time be highly self-reliant.
For the first time in the seminar series, the Philippine flag ceremony signaled the start of the seminar. Based on prior consultations with the Philippine organizing committee, it was unanimously decided, after members of the committee shared their family experiences of World War II, that the Japanese flag ceremony is done, as well. In deference, however, to the request of the senior representative of the Japanese entourage, it was decided to forego with the Japanese flag ceremony at this seminar. We are planning, however, to do the flag ceremonies of the two countries mainly responsible for the seminar series in the next seminar. The earnest wish of the organizing committee is for these two countries to get over, without forgetting of course, the horrors of the past war, and move on towards genuine and deeper Philippine-Japan relations.
Seminar 15 was also significant in terms of providing a more concrete link between the two sub-themes of the seminar series, namely “Manufacturing and KKK” (Seminar 15’s theme), and “The Urban-Rural Gap and KKK” (Seminar 14’s theme). [Note: KKK is short for Kahusayan, Katarungan, Kalikasan] One link was in the morning presentation of Mr. Nonoy Moraca and Mr. Ramon Uy which talked about import-substitution in sustainable Agriculture. Dr. Max Maquito and Dr. Joe Medina are now working with the two authors on formulating a model for their approach, called the Downstream Integrated Radicular Import-Substitution (DIRI) model.
Another link was in the afternoon session conceptualized by the U.P. College of Architecture which focused on the role of bamboo in providing social enterprise and housing. We actually started talking a couple years ago about the possibility of bamboo in the Philippines. Despite problems in developing the topic then, it was nice to see in this seminar that there is actually a wide resource and interest on this topic. Architect Ning Encarnacion-Tan pointed out that bamboo craftsmanship appears to be a 2,600-year old gene in Filipinos. Ms. Corrina Salzer spoke of how this endangered tradition could be preserved and improved using scientific methods. Dr. Florentino Tesoro gave an orientation on the biology of bamboos, including an estimate of the supply deficit of bamboos in the Philippines. Architect Beth Ochoa Regala also spoke of a supply deficit in social housing, and the need for a party to work towards the setting of standards for unconventional mass-housing building materials including bamboo. Mr. Francis Osorio showed an example of large-scale Vietnamese bamboo lumber manufacturer but proposed a backyard approach for the Philippines. Architect Raymond Sih spoke of an environmentally-friendly Japanese-based approach to concrete, which is still one of the most popular building materials at present.
Another concrete link between the two major sub-themes of the seminar series was in the extension of the Giant-Leap-And-Small-Step (GLASS) effect discovered by Dr. Max Maquito since Seminars 13 and 14, which were under the sub-theme “Urban-Rural Gap and KKK”. The extension came in confirming the presence of the GLASS effect in the OFW flows. This extension found substantial foreign exchange savings from attenuation of the GLASS effect. Thoughts on the subject were shared by OIC Cheng Veniles and Ms. Reina Marie Calvo of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
The remaining presentations were very much related to the labor issue, since the co-host, the UP SOLAIR, was one of the premier labor institutions in the Philippines. Dean Sale, in the keynote speech, proposed the intriguing hypothesis that employment was not significantly improved by the IT industry. Prof. Benji Teodosio lamented about the pathetic lack of trust in labor relations. Dr. Aliza Racelis stressed the need for a study on the ethics of Philippine corporations. Another set of studies related to labor was the survey conducted by Prof. Hitoshi Hirakawa and Dr. Shin Kawai for Vietnamese manufacturing firms, and Dr. Max Maquito and Prof. Hirakawa for Philippine manufacturing firms. The Vietnamese study was focused on how Vietnam could avoid the middle income trap, while the Philippine study was on how the Philippines could free itself from this trap. This joint project between Prof. Hirakwa and SGRA was responsible for making this research possible and bringing a research team from Japan.
With only plenary sessions, the seminar participants were able to enjoy a truly multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral, and even multi-national seminar. Indeed, the ability of the SGRA KKK seminars and the Philippines, for that matter, to achieve KKK lies in its breaking through the often jealously-guarded barriers among disciplines, sectors, and nationalities.
Already there is talk of holding Seminar 16 in August 2013! Of course, talks will only become serious after SGRA’s First Asia Future Conference (AFC) in Bangkok (March 8 to 10, 2013). A 15-strong Philippine delegation, mostly presenters in Seminar 14, will be participating. Should you wish to volunteer for the organizing committee of Seminar 16, however, do let us know after the AFC (e-mail: email@example.com)
Special thanks go to Dr. Aliza Racelis, Architect Mike Tomeldan for moderating the sessions and to Architect Josie Santos De Asis for keeping the sessions on track. Of course, everyone was missing SGRA Chief Representative Junko Imanishi who is always behind the seminar. Preparations for the 1st AFC regrettably made her unable to attend this seminar.
Some additional news related to the Japan-Philippine Shared Growth Seminars are as follows.
Dr. Medina and Fr. Vergara, who participated in the 15th Japan-Philippine Shared Growth Seminar, made presentations at the International Symposium on "Environmental Friendly Agriculture Based on Community Resources: A Strategy for Sustainable Development and Biodiversity" held on March 2, 2013 at the University of Tokyo. Maquito presented the DIRI model in Japan. SGRA's participation was made possible by Prof. Toru Nakanishi who is doing research on the urban poor and sustainable agriculture in the Philippines. For details, please see the link below
The following papers, which were briefly presented in the 14th Japan-Philippine Shared Growth Seminar, were honored to be chosen as one of the Best Papers in the 1st AFC:
"Community-Life School Model for Sustainable Agriculture Based Rural Development" by Rowena Baconguis and Jose Medina
"The Migration Link Between Urban and Rural Poor Communities: Looking for Giant Leaps and Small Steps" by Ferdinand C. Maquito
At the same time, the following presentation, which was also briefly presented in the 14th Japan-Philippine Shared Growth Seminar, was chosen as one of the Best Presentations:
"Barangay Integrated Development Action in Kapangan Towards WASH" by Jane Toribio, Delfin Canuto, Roberto Kalaw
The following paper, which was briefly presented in the 15th Manila Seminar, was presented at the 20th anniversary symposium of the Vietnam Asia-Pacific Economic symposium (also celebrating the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Vietnam) held in Hanoi on March 12, 2013: "Patterns in Overseas Filipino Worker Flows: In Search of the Giant Leap and Small Step Effect" by Ferdinand C. Maquito. SGRA's participation in this symposium was made possible by Prof. Tran Van Tho, who has always invited Maquito as a specialist on the Philippines. Prof. Tran indicated his agreement with Maquito's basic recommendation of bringing back home as much as possible the OFWs in order to power the domestic economy.
The online portal for the seminar could be found here
For photos of the seminar, please look at the SGRA Photo Gallery or the SGRA Ph Facebook
Information on the 1st AFC could be found here
For photos related to this Manila Report, please take a look at Manila Report Winter 2013