Shared Growth Seminar

Max Maquito “Manila Report (16th Sustainable Shared Growth Seminar)”

■Manila Report (16th Sustainable Shared Growth Seminar)
Max Maquito @ Atami (September 22, 2013)

The 16th Japan-Philippine Shared Growth Seminar “Rural-Urban Gap and Sustainable Shared Growth” was held at the College of Engineering, University of the Philippines on August 23, 2013.

At 8:45 AM, as scheduled, the seminar was opened with the Philippine and Japanese flag ceremonies. The Hi No Maru (Japanese flag) was borrowed from the Japanese embassy in the Philippines, and the national anthems of both countries were clips with English translations downloaded from YouTube. As I have reported in the Kawaraban of March of this year (Essay #368: Manila Report, Winter 2013), the holding of the flag ceremonies of the two hosting countries of this seminar was the result of consultations with the seminar organizing committee formed by Philippine nationals, based on a hint obtained in discussions with Professor Toru Nakanishi of the University of Tokyo. As you might know, at the end of the Second World War, Manila experienced devastation that would be comparable with that of Berlin and Stalingrad. While the Japanese army surrendered relatively quickly in other South East Asian cities, it is really perplexing that in the Philippines resistance was all out. When I was consulting the organizing committee about this matter of the flag ceremonies, a number of members shared their families’ experiences at the hands of the Japanese army during the war. I was worried that my proposal would be rejected. In the end, there was overwhelming acceptance of the proposal. “We should not forget that war, but we should also move on”

In his opening remarks, so as not to invite any misunderstanding, Prof. Nakanishi gave a moving talk about the significance of the flag ceremonies. When receiving the Japanese Embassy’s permission to borrow the Hi No Maru, I was to go with Prof. Nakanishi to receive the flag. Since we were going to the embassy anyway, I also proposed that we call on the Japanese Ambassador, but we were instead invited for dinner by the ambassador in honor of Prof. Nakanishi. Together with a fortunate group of members of the organizing committee, we were treated to the most delicious Japanese food in Manila at the Ambassador’s residence.

This seminar broke previous records. There was a doubling of participants (over 200), presentations (25), co-sponsors (Kajima Philippines, Agricultural Training Institute, Maria B. Valencia and Associates, Daniel B. Briones Construction, United Architects of the Philippines [Diliman Chapter]), and cooperators (Japanese Embassy in the Philippines, and Commission on Higher Education). I would like to express my gratitude for their kind support and cooperation, as well as for the hard work put in by the members of the organizing committee, the co-organizers (College of Architecture [University of the Philippines, Diliman], Philippine Center for Water and Sanitation, and PHILAJAMES), and the College of Engineering [University of the Philippines, Diliman –especially the Department of Mechanical Engineering]).

The seminar was broken down into the following five blocks: “Other KKK” (Block 1), “Social Services and Livelihoods in Urban-Rural Communities” (Block 2), “Sustainable Agriculture” (Block 3), “Sustainable Cities” (Block 4), and “Urban Green and Gray” (Block 5). There was on the average five 15-minute presentations for each block. A total of 25 presentations were made, taking up the whole day. (See the link below for the final version of the program) The Philippines was right in the middle of the rainy season, and during the week of the seminar, there were floods all over the country. Some presenters had to cancel. But owing to the earnest efforts of the organizing committee, we had about 220 participants.

My apologies to the presenters for not being able to mention their names as well as talk about all the presentations, but readers who are interested in knowing more could refer to the list of abstracts. All presentations pushed our mission of KKK (Kahusayan, Katarungan, Kalikasan OR Efficiency, Equity, and Environment) for the Philippines. In Block 1, various definitions of KKK were raised: from rather broad ones, such as “happiness”, “environmental ethics”, and “shared growth learned from Japan”, to narrower more concrete cases such as “malling”(a favorite among Filipinos) and the “health policy” of the Aquino administration. In Block 2, the presentations focused on the diffusion of water and hygiene to the country side (WASH: Water Sanitation and Health), and the implementation of systems in the highlands that are in harmony with Mother Nature (KISS: Kapangan Indigenous and Sustainable Systems). Following lunch boxes, Block 3 focused on the discussion of a project being implemented in Negros, which I have referred to in my research as the DIRI (Downstream Integrated Radicular Import-Substitution) Model. As in Block 2, attempts towards attaining sustainable shared growth were discussed. WASH, however, is NGO-led, and KISS is government-led, while DIRI is firm-led. There is a diversity of approaches. In Block 4, the focus was on how to get away from a development that was centered on Metro Manila. Various models in other regions and another country (the Netherlands) were discussed. At the same time, there was discussion about how to better utilize the strategic location of the Philippines in East Asia. In Block 5, the green and gray aspects of the city was reported on. In the former, the topics were on malls, public spaces, and urban agriculture that put emphasis on nature. The latter aspect focused on the poor people who handled urban waste, and the importance of getting them into the mainstream of society.

A question flew from the audience. “What do you think of the prospects of the Philippines achieving shared growth, and how do you think it could be achieved?”

For the past several years I have been looking at manufacturing and, more recently, at agriculture for ways that will contribute to the Philippines achieving shared growth. In particular, I have been looking at manufacturing that would enable the sharing of growth with small- and medium-scale enterprises, workers, and the East Asian region, and sustainable agriculture that would make achievable KKK. I have come to the conclusion that without support and guidance of a state strategy, it would not be possible to achieve such possibilities. We have made various attempts, but I have come to feel that not much progress has been made. This, I think, is due to the Philippine society becoming severely addicted on remittances from OFWs. Even without a potentially difficult implementation of an industrial or agricultural strategy, OFWs will remit foreign reserves. So, I find it rather hard to paint a bright picture, with respect to this question.

This was how I would have ended up answering this question, except that two weeks prior to the seminar I discovered a possible path for the Philippines. Together with Prof. Hitoshi Hirakawa of Kokushikan University, Prof. Norio Tokumaru of Nagoya Institute of Technology, and Dr. Yoshizumi Endo of Soka University, we did a brief survey of the IT industry in the Philippines. Thanks to the one week of visiting IT organizations and heavy discussions with the three visitors, I have come to feel that the Philippine IT industry may just have enough dynamism to draw out the potential of manufacturing and agriculture.

During my presentation, I threw a question to the audience. “How many are interested in our learning from Japan?” Happily, around 2/3 of the audience raised their hands. To those who did not raise their hand, I told them that I shall talk about shared growth as I learned it from Japan, and show from an economics perspective how we can learn from Japan. To those who remained unconvinced after my 15-minute talk, may I refer you to a book series “Shared Growth Lessons from Japan for the Philippines”, which we are now attempting to write.

I have decided to co-author this book series with a colleague with whom I am in good rapport regarding this topic. He asked me when should we come out with the book, to which my quick answer was “five years ago”. Perhaps it was his extensive involvement in government policy making/implementation and developmental projects, which quickly made him recognize the importance of this research. For many years, I have been trying to persuade a close economist friend. But it seems that mainstream economics (i.e., market fundamentalism) has become deeply rooted even in the Philippines. We will write in detail about the vision underlying the Manila Seminars, and in so doing hope to introduce a different brand of market-based economics to the Philippine setting.

I have been greatly re-energized this summer during my stay in the Philippines. We are already planning to hold the 17th Sustainable Shared Growth Seminar on February next year. Surely there are cries within the organizing committee that we might be going too fast. Fortunately, the majority, if not all, of more than 20 members appears to understand the importance of our mission to help the Philippines achieve KKK. The 17th Manila Seminar will be held on the 11th of February, Japan’s Foundation Day.

Related Links
1.Philippine Anthem (with English translation)
2. Japanese Anthem (with English translation)
3.Seminar Program (OR Seminar Report – now being prepared)
4.Presentation Abstracts
5. Nihongo Version of this Manila Report
6. Manila Seminar 16 Report

■ NAKANISHI, Toru “On Sharing the National Flag and National Anthem”

It is my great honor to be given a chance to talk about sharing and respecting the National Flag and National Anthem between the Philippines and Japan as a Japanese. The idea of this opportunity comes from an informal discussion with Dr. Max, Ferdinand Maquito, Program Organizer of this conference.

Frankly speaking, however, I could say that I have not loved HINOMARU and KIMIGAYO for a long time. I think many Filipinos may be surprised to hear this, but such a feeling is not so unusual among the Japanese people. Such tendency may come from the stance of mass media or the elementary and secondary level education in Japan. Some of us insist that HINOMARU and KIMIGAYO were symbols of the militarism in Japan during the World War II, so that respecting them so much will call back such militarism.

Indeed, the Japanese invasion caused huge damages to the other Asian countries like the Philippines. When I was a high school student, I read Without Seeing the Dawn, translated in Japanese, written by Stevan Javellana. This book inspired me to study the Philippine society. In this book it is eloquently described how the Japanese invasion violently changed the peaceful and happy days in a charming village in Panay Island into cruel and hopeless nights.

On the other hand, many Japanese youth were forced to serve in the so-called Kamikaze suicide squad that executed the suicide attack on the US warships, even if they did not want to die in such manner. Even as the bereaved families tried to understand the tragic loss of their sons, they have been condemned for long time after the War as if their sons were willing offenders. The ordinary people, mga tao, always lose loved ones in all wars everywhere.

From the historical point of view, it is true that the World War II had been a nightmare in the long history of Japan. If we, Japanese, really understand the history of the nightmare, none of us will repeat or participate in such tragic and sad mistakes ever. HINOMARU and KIMIGAYO were not created for the World War II but had existed since the Meiji or Edo era during the 19th century. Our history of invasions of the Asian countries has to be understood and accepted as our serious mistakes which disgraced the long history of Japan.

Furthermore, to tell the truth, I have had a basic question: can Japan really pay due respect to the national flag or the national anthem of another country, if she does not pay due respect to those of her own country? Such a question was elicited by one of my experiences in the Philippines about 5 years ago. (By the way, as introduced I have been coming back and forth to the Philippines more than 30 years now.)

I have been involved in some scholarship program for the students living as informal settlers in Malabon since 2006. The aim of this program is to assist students with good grades in the early high school level to take and pass the entrance examinations of the high standard universities, like the UP, and to assist them until their university graduation. About 5 years ago, I went to register some of my scholars for the entrance examination in a private university. I was doing this task for my wards, because their parents did not have enough money to do so.

After I queued up for long line I was finally in front of the registration window to submit the registration forms. I could get my turn at last. However, at this moment, the officer suddenly stopped working. I could not understand what happened to her and asked her why. Then she pointed to the window behind me without saying anything. When I looked back, everyone was silent in the room and were looking at only one thing: the national flag raising with the accompanying singing of the Philippine National Anthem. Immediately, I also paid due respect to the occasion. To pay due respect to the national flag and the National Anthem is very common everywhere in the world. This scene, however, is rarely seen in Japan! This was a very valuable experience for me, because I confirmed that Japan has not shared such an inspiring global standard.

Both HINOMARU and KIMIGAYO already existed long before the World War II started. If the Japanese still think that they are so sinful and therefore scarlet with shame, there must be a strong movement to change the National Flag and the National Anthem in Japan. However, we have not found such movement in Japan until now. I think all Japanese accept HINOMARU and KIMIGAYO positively or negatively. If one says this proposition is not right, I suppose that he would not face up to the history of Japan or he would like to get the absolution for the sins of the World War II by disguising to hate them.

Based on the above narration, the meanings for me as a Japanese of the honor to share the Japanese National Flag and National Anthem with Filipinos are the following three points: First, HINOMARU and KIMIGAYO continue to warn us against militarism. It can be said that for most of us Japanese to accept HINOMARU or KIMIGAYO gives us some pains to some degree or another. In general, Japanese have a feeling that to positively accept HINOMARU or KIMIGAYO means to have an abnormal thought, though to negatively accept them is not. I am confident, however, that we need some more positive deed, that is to say, to accept the whole of our history by squarely or directly confronting our stigma. HINOMARU and KIMIGAYO show our history itself. They always continue to remind us they are symbols of our long history and yet warn us of our historical events and warn us against futile and destructive military adventures.

The second point concerns a global standard of social custom. According to my understanding, there are no countries where many people have a negative image on their own National Flag and their own National Anthem, except Japan. I believe that we should pay due respect to the social custom based on historical traditions. HINOMARU and KIMIGAYO have a long history as repeatedly mentioned. Therefore, if I do not pay due respect to HINOMARU and KIMIGAYO, I must have not a global standard but a double standard. I am confident, finally, that the Japanese should pay due respect to HINOMARU as our National Flag and KIMIGAYO as our National Anthem.

Finally, all the program board members willingly consented to our, sort of test, for jointly honoring both our countries by this gesture through the initiative of Dr. Max. I know the relatives of many of you have grievous experiences similar to those described in Without Seeing the Dawn. On this point, the word “absolve” in a Catholic sense to which Dr. Max referred is very impressive to me. Here I confirm to be determined that Japan would never repeat the mistake in the World War II. Though our trial balloon today is very small step, I feel confident that it will give us a further push to fostering deeper friendship between the Philippines and Japan. Thank you very much for your kind attention.

(Professor, The University of Tokyo)