Thursday, December 31, 2009

Human Capital and Economics: A Challenge for Marikina City

Marikina News
University of the Philippines
National College of Public Administration and Governance Public Administration 331 (Seminar on the Administration of Economic Development), First Semester SY 2009-2010 Prof. R. F. Miral, J r.

Human Capital and Economics: A Challenge for Marikina City
By Prof. Sofronio “Toti” Dulay, DPA student


Introduction

Development of human capital thru education and early child care and development (ECCD) is linked with economics: labor being one of the factors of production. “For Rosenstein – Rodan, the “skilling” of labour was the first task of industrial is at ion, but one that has to be undertaken by the state, because it does not pay firms to train potential mobile workers. By contrast, T.S. Schultz raised the question of individuals’ and families’ own investments in what he called human capital – a stock of skills that could be used, be deployed to earn future income. This question led forward to a host of studies of the economics of investment in education and health in poor countries, and the effects of health and education status on participation in the labour market.” In Marikina City, there are signs of parallel progress in economics and human capital, especially n the area of education and ECCD. Theoretically, is it possible that a city as progressive as Marikina can be so dominant in economics development but lagged behind in the area of education or ECCD? What is progress and prosperity for? The progress can be driven by visible infra but ECCD remains a challenge? “All instances of successful development are ultimately the collective results of individual decisions by entrepreneurs to invest in risky new ventures and try out news things. The good news here is that we have found homo economicus to be alive and well in the tropics and other poor lands. The idea of elasticity pessimism – the notion that the private sector in the developing countries would fail to respond quickly to favorable price and other incentives – has been put to rest by the accumulating evidence. We find time and again that the investment decisions, agricultural production or exports turn out to be quite sensitive to price incentives, as long as these perceived to have some predictability.” This observation could be true in Marikina: the economic progress is basically drven by private entrepreneurs grounded on their trust on the government. But again , where is human capital – education and ECCD – coming into the picture. When labour is plenty – entrepreneurs has the luxury of choice. And when they do have the luxury of choice, the development of human capital thru ECCD and skilling may not be their priority.
Child welfare is within the context of social development. Vague and confused as a concept, social development can be defined as “the enhancement of well being and the progressive enrichment of the quality of people’s lives” Social development is a component of overall development concept. In the Philippine experience, social development has been a major concern – often times handled by the Office of the President or made into a full – blown department with names changing from administration to administration.
Social development or even child welfare has to contend with the other concerns of the state, like defense for instance. “Social policy making must be seen as a political process. It has already been stressed that social policy cannot be analyzed on its own, without referring to other activities of the state.” Also, it must be realized that social development is always a work in progress because it “involves a process of change which is fostered through a deliberate human action.” Social development is dynamic – which partially explain for instance why in the Philippines, the Council for the Welfare of Children has been passed on through times like ping pong balls from the Office of the President to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Vague as it is – couple with dynamism – social development must be defined using different perspectives. The United Nations Center for Regional Development defined social development as a “sectoral development and the provision of social services involving the improvement of the quality of life of the people through education, employment, health, housing, social welfare, agrarian reform, community development or disaster welfare.” Take note that this 1983 definition from UN does not carry children’s welfare in it. In the same UN article however, a slightly different perspective of social development is defined as “supportive of and providing services for those in special needs and involving the development of, and provision of services to women, children and disadvantaged group” This definition seems to put children’s welfare as an after thought concern – not in the mainstream.
There are also perspectives that say social development is nothing but providing welfare dole outs to the constituencies, which seems to be the prevailing thinking of most LGUs in the Philippines.
It is in these multi perspective concepts that this paper seeks to approach the early child care and development (ECCD) experiences in Marikina. The best way to handle a concept is to have a benchmark. In this case, the best benchmark for ECCD is the globally prevailing document – the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).In the unofficial summary of the main provisions of the CRC, its “preamble recalls the basic principles of the United Nations and specific provisions of certain relevant human rights treaties and proclamations. It reaffirms the fact that children, because of their vulnerability, need special care and protection, and it places special emphasis on the primary caring and protective responsibility of the family. It also reaffirms the need for legal and other protection of the child before and after birth, the importance of respect for the cultural values of the child’s community, and the vital role of international cooperation in securing children’s right”
The CRC defined a child as a person under 18, unless the national laws recognize a country – specific age of majority. It encourages positive actions for non – discrimination on children and the government should always pursue the best interest of the child. It said that the state must implement the rights of the child. It must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents to provide guidance for the child. The child has the right to life, name and nationality; and identity. The child has the right to live with his or her parents. Parents and children have the right for reunification. The state shall safeguard the children’s right to have their own opinion, freedom of though, conscience, religion and association. The privacy of children must be provided and the state shall ensure the accessibility of children to information. It is the responsibility of parents to raise the child but the state shall provide assistance to the parents. The child must be protected from abuse and neglect and the states should protect children without families. The convention recognizes adoption. Special care should be given to refugee children, children of minorities and disabled children. The child has the right to the highest standard of health, medical care attendance and social security. They have the right to adequate standard of living and education. The child has the right to be protected from child labor, drug abuse, sexual exploitation, sale, trafficking, abduction and other forms of exploitation. The child has the right to be protected from torture and deprivation of liberty. The state shall take measures that children below 15 years of age has no direct part in hostilities. Rehabilitation and proper handling of victimized children as well as those in conflict with the law should be ensured. The state is obligated to inform the public of the CRC and they have to submit reports, which must also be available to the public.
With this backdrop and taking into account that the Philippines is a signatory to the CRC, it is now clear that children’s welfare is a big responsibility for the LGUs.
Another important document that articulated for the welfare of children is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “The Millennium Development Goals are the world’s time –bound and quantitative targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions – income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion – while promoting gender equality, equality, education, and environmental sustainability.” There are basically eight MDGs, namely, eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability; and, develop global partnership for development. The MDGs have 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators. I had the opportunity to report this topic in a doctoral class and we counted how many of these goals, targets and indicators pertains to children. The conclusion of the class is that out of 8 MDGs, only 1, the goal number seven (ensure environmental sustainability) has no direct provision about children’s welfare. But then, it is commonsensical that a good environment is beneficial to children – making the MDGs as another pro child welfare international document.


The Philippines Approach to Child Welfare

After passing through some basic social development concepts and international statures, it is now time to look into Philippine national documents and see what they have to offer for children’s welfare.
The CRC and MDGs, the international statures that articulate for children’s welfare, have a great influence on Philippine national programs and legislatures that concerns children. “The Philippines now stands in a critical point in time, faced with the challenged of realizing its commitments to the CRC, the MDGs, and the WFFC goals and the vision of Child 21.The current development and context in the country present complex and difficult issues.”
The report submitted by the Philippine government, third and fourth periodic reports of States parties due in 2007, to be exact, talked about the country’s continuing review and enactment of legislations in compliance with CRC. The report identified the following legislative gaps: minimum age of criminal responsibility, minimum age of sexual consent, prohibition of torture, lack of comprehensive juvenile system, discrimination against children born out of wedlock, use of children in pornography, and corporal punishment. To work on these gaps, the country enacted the following laws: RA 9344: Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act – raised the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 9 to 15; RA 9208:Anti – Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 – instituted policies to eliminate trafficking, specially women and children; RA 9231: Elimination of the Worst Form of Child Labour Act of 2003; RA 9255 : An Act Allowing Illegitimate Children to Use the Surnames of their Father; RA 9262 : Anti – Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004; and, RA 9288 : New Born Screening Act of 2004.
The report said that despite all these laws, the current efforts are still inadequate. It plans to work on the remaining gaps such as: minimum age of sexual consent, child pornography, corporal punishment and other form of violence, discrimination against children born out of wedlock.
The report also said that in 2000, we formulated the Philippine National Strategic Framework for Plan Development for Children for the period 2000-2025, or Child 21, to build sensitive and child friendly society in the 21st century.
It also mentioned the role of the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), the main institutional mechanism in coordinating the implementation and monitoring of NPAC/Child 21 as well as in coordinating formulation of all policies for children and monitoring CRC implementation. Take note CWC, later on this paper will figure prominently on the ECCD concerns in Marikina City.
The committee report also noted that the mandate and resources of Philippine Commission on Human Rights (PCHR) in the promotion and monitoring of children’s right is limited, and it recommends strengthening them.
As regards to the budgetary allocation for children, the report mentioned that 30% of national budget goes to debt service – interest payment with insufficient allocation for social development and children’s program. To address this, the Philippines proposed in 2005: “Debt – to –MDG Financing”, a debt reduction scheme in exchange of MDG Financing.
The country also pursued international cooperation in its quest to provide wider service to children by working with GOP-UNICEF, ILO, JICA, USAID, BEAM, QTVET, ADB, WB, Save the Children-US, Save the Children-Sweden, WVF, Consuelo Foundation, CCF, ATD Fourth World, and IJM.
The report also said that the government also pursues Cooperation with civil society in pursuing children’s welfare thru the CWC sectoral committees, inter-agency bodies on child protection other than CWC, NGO Coalition for CRC Monitoring and Philippine Inter – Faith Network for Children.
The government initiated the CRC principles/provisions of advocacy thru the CWC and UNICEF IEC campaigns, Child Info – based Knowledge Network Centers in 24 LGUs, Bright Child Campaign of CWC, CWC and Task Force on the Popularization of the CRC in 24 municipalities in central Philippines.
We also disseminated the contents of the 2nd periodic report and concluding observations when the CWC printed the report itself for dissemination, convened committee and networks to brief them of the report, and thru TV and radio interviews as well as meetings and conferences.
Finally, as part of our compliance with CRC, the country initiated the preparations for the 3rd and 4th periodic report by CWC sending letters to agencies and NGO’s to submit their inputs; convened 3 consultations; and the Technical Management Committee of CWC Board reviewing the consultation’s write up, writing comments and integrating them with the second report. The report was submitted to CWC Board for Review, preparation of the final draft and submission.

Development of Human Capital: The Child Welfare Program of Marikina City

Having shown some basic concepts in social development, the international conventions related to child welfare and the Philippine national programs on children, it is now time to go to an specific LGUs like Marikina, hoping that what we will see in this city as regards to program on children’s welfare could give us insight on what is happening in other LGUs in the country.
For the interest of brevity, we will dispense with the discussion o the basic demographic data about Marikina because they are readily available by googling them in the internet.
How do you run a city like Marikina – clean, organized, international acclaimed, prosperous, peaceful and world class, with its former Mayor one of the leading presidential contenders of the country in the 2010 elections and its present Mayor one of the Top 7 finalists in the World Mayor Award? “Our City Hall is run like a private corporation. We treat our clients as our customers whom we want not only to satisfy but to delight.” – Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando.
The Marikina local government is divided into seven clusters, namely, administrative support, public order and safety, finance management and project development, infrastructure development and transportation, citizens’ affairs, economic development; and, health and environmental management.
The children’s welfare is found under the cluster of citizen’s affair, specifically, in the Social Welfare and Development Office. Aside from this office, the following are also found in the citizens’ affair cluster: Department of Education – Marikina, Public Information Office, Community Relations Office, Marikina Settlements Office, City Women Council, MCF Manpower House, Teens Health Quarter, Local Civil Registry, MCF Privilege Card and the Office of Senior Citizens Affair.
The city Social Welfare and Development Office is one - story structure called Social Action Center, detached from the main building where the Office of the Mayor is housed. In that Social Action Center, several officers are also found like: Volunteers Office, SOCO, PNP and Traffic Management.
The city Social Welfare Development Office has been devolved from DSWD to the city government of Marikina. The office was run by an OIC who is a licensed social worker. Together with the OIC, there was a Consultant directly reporting to the Mayor. The consultant is a TV producer of a child show and was a neighbor of the Mayor in her ancestral house in Pasig. The OIC eventually left the post for personal reasons and joined an entry level job at the Marikina Fiscal’s Office, the Consultant took over as the OIC then hired a 24 – year – old licensed social worker as his assistant.
The city Social Welfare Development Office is picture of a workplace that is changing often, desks are changing depending on the circumstances of the office politics, full of clients daily and perhaps, in an attempt to manage the flow of clients, a sign is posted in the door reminding the customers to whom to report regarding their needs. The post says “services offered”: referral; social case study report; medical, financial and funeral assistance; certificate of indigency, PWD, PYAP/TN; and solo parent. Then, names of concerned staff handling these services are listed .Take note that in the list, there is no specific concern for children’s welfare. The OIC and her assistant have their separate rooms, the rest of the 13 staff are together. On the adjacent room is the Children in Conflict with the Law Shelter with around 25 inmates. Based however on Marikina Citizens’ Factbook, the office has the following services: assistance in crisis situations, referrals, seminars and counseling and child – friendly intervention which handling of juvenile cases. Take note again the lack of mention of child welfare concerns and day care centers despite the fact that the city also manages around six day care centers all over the city of 16 barangays. Barangay councils for the protection of children are not active.

Development of Human Capital in Marikina City thru Education
In my report in the class of Prof. R. F. Miral, Jr., using an article about an inside story of the World Bank’s historical development on their education policy, I was able to uncover that education is a part of their lending conditionality before they consider a loan (they uses the term covenant, to be politically correct). But the education component, more than others, is intended to help the project, primarily. In short, it was not done out of the goodness of the heart. The World Bank has an array of in house technical people for every project. But, later it turned out that there are needs for local consultants and technical staff, so, they need to educate and train local guys- hence, the education component of every project was necessary.
When the World Bank is emphasizing loans on industries and factories, they encouraged technical and vocational education on barrowing countries – again not out of the goodness of their heart – but to provide necessary skills to the workforce of their borrowing industries, for them to be able to operate better, and ergo, pay the bank better.
Marikina’s approach to education is not only to produce sub literate but skilled factory workers. Their approach is holistic. ”DSWD has been devolved to address the specific needs of the communities, initiating such programs as family enrichment and education thru networking with foundations and non-government organizations. The Center for Excellence (CENTEX) headed by Julie Borje conducts training seminars with personnel of the city and barangay halls.”
In Barangay San Roque for instance, they piloted a non – formal education and several skills training projects, including free call center training and job placement assistance.
As a matter of policy, the Marikina government encourages continues education. In fact, just recently, old undergraduate employees of the city hall were given scholarships to finish a degree in public administration at the local Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina.
The City Hall also promotes productivity through the livelihood projects. “Marikina has invested in its children not only through DSWD and the Health Office’s family planning, parents training and nutrition program but also through upgrading of the basic education.”
The public schools in Marikina are well maintained and well landscaped. Students are plenty and happy because the city provides the workbooks and school supplies… with set of computers for every school. Residents of Marikina are given priorities for enrolment. The number of students per classroom is maintained to the ideal number of 45 with more classrooms being constructed from the CDF of the 2 congressmen and regular hiring of teachers to maintain the ratio. The city government is working for the preschool, elementary and high school for every barangay. Two identified campuses are offering technical – vocational education for skills development. The City also offers affordable tertiary education thru the City University (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina).

The Business Climate n Marikina City

According to Prof. Gonzalo M. Jurado in his article entitled Growth Models, Development Planning and Implementation in the Philippines , “to be more successful in plan implementation, the government at both staff and line levels must articulate the plans more carefully, and carry at infrastructural and other supportive programs with greater determination. These efforts must help invigorate the market.”
Marikina City complied with the required planning requirements. They have strategic and tactical plans in the area of business, education and ECCD mostly crafted by the department heads concerned.
Some small businesses in Marikina claimed that the business taxes in the city are high and lots of them moved their small business in nearby towns like San Mateo, Antipolo and Cainta were taxes are more lenient and negotiable. Some of those who do not want to move out simply close shop for several months only to reopen with a new name and therefore avail of incentives for new businesses. In the book The Will to Change edited by Ateneo de Manila University School of Government Dennis Gonzales, it quoted Larry Schroeder saying that these “exits” happening n Marikina is one of the ways by which a constituents can hold a local government accountable. The book has this interesting queston, “Could it be that Marikina is a great place to live in but not to set up a small business?”
Marikina uses a similar gross taxation scheme of China. The seemingly bone of contention among some businessmen is the fact that business taxes in Marikina are based on presumptive income levels, a system wherein the local government are extrapolating a store’s minimum income and from there derive the appropriate tax. This seems to be grounded on the belief that most small businessmen are refusing to pay the right amount of tax.
Historically, Marikina is the home of small businessmen as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines. Recently, it has been recognized internationally as one of the most competitive and the most business - friendly cities in the country. Marikina’s public market is recognized as the healthiest public market in the Philippines today. All of these accolades seem to erased the complaints of small businessmen on gross taxation.
Marikina today is the home of diverse industries. It offers simple business rules, quality infrastructure, industrial peace, efficient services and skillful workforce which make the city big investors – friendly.
There are 14, 541 business establishments in the city and this figure is forecasted to increase. The primary products of the city are shoes, cigarettes, food, candies, bags, porcelain, guns and ammunitions, cosmetics and beauty products. Underground economy exists also: jueteng, where the gambling lord of a Luzon – wide operation is a native Marikeno.
Several factors added to the growth of the local economy such as superior infrastructure, communication and transportation, proximity to Manila and Quezon City and the existence of service providers for banking, telephone, telegraph and internet. Roadways are free of traffic- no color coding system in fact. Public transport is available round the clock.

Findings and Recommendations

1. With the frequent changes in the Marikina City SWDO, the organizational capacity to respond to a new task like ECCD Accreditation is still weak. The OIC is new and her assistant is also new. Recommendation: team building sessions and thorough job orientation.
2. It was noted that out of 13 staff, some of them are not college graduates and joined the service as a political accommodations rather than based on qualifications. Only one of them is a license social worker, the assistant of the OIC. Recommendation: professionalize the staff, assign the less qualified somewhere else and hire more social workers into the unit.
3. Staff is overloaded; there are staff members who have to work after 5 pm and during weekends. Recommendation: realignment of duties and work loads.
4. In education, the proliferation of so many high schools with only 2 tertiary schools makes it harder for Marikenos to go to college. Recommendation: expand the present Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina and Marikina Polytechnic College.
5. The strength of Marikina educational system is in the infrastructure but weak on networking. Recommendation: provide access to qualified Marikenos to take examinations at the PMA, PMMA, UP, and the National Police Academy.
6. In business, the fact is that a lot of small businessmen are exiting into nearby towns. Recommendation: provide special incentive package for small businessmen.
7. Some small businessmen are closing shops only to open several months later with new name to avail of incentive programs for new business. Recommendations: extend incentive programs to small businessmen.




Acknowledgement:

I wish to acknowledge social worker and assistant to the OIC Carolyn Sta. Maria for granting two interviews about the operations of the Marikina City SWD Office; OIC and fellow Consultant Nadeia Sarte for giving me access to her office and providing crucial data on ECCD; the City Mayor Marides Fernando for giving me a complimentary copy of the book, the Will to Change, and finally to Professor R F Miral, Jr. for his patience in teaching us important lessons which and I personally showed my appreciation on his efforts by never been absent in his class not even once, even when I was sick.


Bibliography:

1. Dennis Gonzales, Editor, “The Will to Change, Marikina and its Innovations”, 2009

2. John Toye, “60 Years of Development in Economics”

3. Dani Rodrick, “Institutions for High – Quality Growth: What They Are and how to Acquire Them”, Harvard Unversity, 1999

4. “Trends and Patterns in Social Development Efforts of the Philippine Government”, A Reader in Philippine Social Development by Bautista (ed), Q.C.: UPCPA,

5. Understanding Social Policy. NY: Basil Blackwell Inc., Chapter 1- “What is Social Policy”

6. Social Development: the Development Perspectives in Social Welfare. London: Sage Publishing.

7. “Different Perspective on Social Development. ”Local Social Development Planning, vol.1.Japan: UNCRD,

8. The Convention on the Rights of the Child. As adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 November 1989

9. The UN Millennium Development Goals. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/index.html

10. Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child Consideration of Reports Submitted by the State Parties under Article 44 of the Convention. September 19, 2007.

11. Marikina Citizens’ Factbook, A Guide to Key Government Services, Second Edition, 2007

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