26.11.11

Philippines and EU – Transcending Borders towards Cooperative Development



 (One of the 6 National Finalists of the EU Feature Writing Contest 2011)
In an increasingly borderless world of today, countries have witnessed the value of cooperation and how it evolves developmental potentials into tangible perspectives. We’ve seen how interests transcend beyond geographic disparities and cooperation as the operational model for development strategies. Regional blocks and external tie-ups consistently soar high with the benefit of mutual aid and concessions. 

The European Union, grounded with its founding principles of economic cooperation and diplomacy, has set a trademark of an effective organization that functions for the regional rise of Europe. It was able to set the framework of developmental plan which extends to risk pooling whenever a certain member-state is lagged behind with its internal conditions. With its plans of action, EU has been looked up throughout the decades.
The external constructive engagement of EU far way advances interests of tie-ups coming from a lot of countries. And Philippines has laid the foundation of its core will to share its developmental agenda with the European Union. This is the reason why EU and Philippines have established firm partnership from economic growth to social development. The Plan and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) which will be signed this 2011 will lay out the plan of action for the next years of cooperation. This is also in line with the approval of the EC-Philippine Strategy Paper and Multi-Annual Indicative Program, which identifies broad priorities for the future tie-ups. 

If we look at the context of investment pooling and the agenda of developmental cooperation, the most important precondition before any agreement is met is the alignment of developmental plans. EU, with its fulfilling perspectives, share three strategic aims with the Philippine Developmental Plan.  These are attaining a high and sustained rate of economic growth, second, equalizing access to development opportunities for all Filipinos and third, implementing effective and responsive social safety nets. It also aims to enable Filipinos to participate in the economic growth process.

Target interventions made in the past by the EU-Philippines tie-ups have achieved great mileage. The financial assistance that European Union gives has effective allocations to different sectors that are all important for holistic development. Conflict management, most especially in Mindanao, has even been a primary consideration with the relief efforts that the organization undertakes. This has been validated with the indicative allotments in the Mindanao Trust Fund for Reconciliation efforts. 

When it comes to green endeavors, the European Union has also played a role in standing forth alongside environmental policies. From forest preservations, coastal resource management down to climate change mitigations, EU has apparently shown its ways in driving perspectives towards slowly changing Philippines and its way of dealing with its internal concerns. 

Human development, social cohesion, trade and regional integration have received wide importance factoring coming from the European Commission. The Smart Cebu Project which provides SMEs for accountability, responsibility and transparency shows how the outcomes of cooperative projects bear holistic results on the ground. The Zero Carbon Resorts, a project that received primary funding from the EC, built energy autonomous resorts to contribute to appropriate technology solutions. And this shared a perspective of precedence in terms of how technological solutions have to be integrated with the advancement of modern constructions. 

In defense of life, EU has undergone important ways to bring institutional reforms forward.  Mainstreaming of indigenous peoples, institutionalization of social contracts, electoral participation and strengthening of civil societies that fight for equity are just some of the efforts that EU has taken to forward its own agenda of interest. 

Most importantly, the bureaucratic nature of EU is well-defined to uphold check and balance that ultimately assures that the projects taken have paved their ways into reality. EU has an effective counter-checking system that goes down filtering the financial uncertainties with its tie-ups. With the aspect of tying up with the private sphere as well as the government, EU can well assure that the programs it implements will be effective.
Another thing that concretizes the potentials of EU and its cooperation with the Philippines is its learning perspective from the history of its interventions. Whenever it deems that constraints block the effectiveness of a certain project, it upholds monitoring and facilitations to smoothen the ground of project implementations. 

European Union, and the success that it gears with its internal achievements, can do a lot for the Philippines not just for now but for the future generations. With its selfless sharing of values and ideals to Philippines, soon the country will soar high with its rise of competitiveness in Asia. The bilateral agreements really touch on holistic approach of development. The strategy shows how development should be faced on the ground and should never be looked at temporally. EU has a lot more to showcase in its role of shaping our developmental atmosphere. In return, Philippines will never fail in its promise of following the ideals of the union. 

We can achieve the change we’re hoping. We need to take it slowly, one step at a time.

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