2016 Policy Research Month focuses on risk reducion and building resilience

Investing in risk reduction and building a resilient economy is the focus of this year’s celebration of the Development Policy Research Month (DPRM). Celebrated every September in accordance with Presidential Proclamation No. 247, DPRM is a nationwide information and advocacy event being led by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) since 2003. It aims at raising public awareness on the importance of policy research in nation-building and at promoting broad-based literacy of development issues confronting the country.


This year’s theme, "Angkop na Kahandaan: Matatag na Ekonomiya at Lipunan” (Investing in Risk Reduction for a Resilient Philippines)”, highlights the need for in-depth reflections and analyses of resilience building, risk reduction, and structural transformation, and the role of appropriate policy interventions in building the country's resilience to various economic, environmental, political, and social risks and stresses.


According to PIDS President Gilberto Llanto, there is a need to look beyond natural hazards and acknowledge that the sources of risks are many and that those risks are interconnected.


The Philippines has been battered by a host of shocks, including the 2008–2009 global financial crisis and strong natural hazards. Recently, more sources of risk have emerged such as the slowdown of growth in big Asian economies and the sharp drop in the price of oil directly impacting oil-producing countries that host many overseas Filipino workers. Likewise, rising food prices, infrastructure and transportation problems, energy security concerns, and increasingly destructive climate-related events further agitate an already vulnerable economy.


Thus, Llanto stressed the importance of building communities with absorptive, adaptive, and transformative capacities. “We need communities that can withstand various kinds of shocks and stresses and are more resilient to change than their previous state,” Llanto said.


To formally launch the DPRM, a press conferenceis scheduled on September 5, Monday, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Philippine Information Agency’s (PIA’s) office in Quezon City. Invited resource persons are National Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Ricardo Jalad, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, Project NOAH Executive Director Mahar Lagmay, and  Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr.  Topics to be covered during the press conference include the country's national risk reduction and management framework, health preparedness and response plan for infectious diseases and pandemics, the role of science and technology in risk reduction, and reducing financial risks through proper macroeconomic policies and prudent oversight.


This will be followed by a series of press conferences in Legazpi City, Tacloban City, and Zamboanga City.  Organized in partnership with the PIA central and provincial offices, these events enable PIDS to further increase its reach at the local level and draw awareness in the provinces on the importance of policy research and the DPRM theme.


Likewise, PIDS personnel and invited resource speakers will further share and expound on the topic of investing in risk reduction and building resilience by guesting on radio and television public affairs shows throughout September.


A series of fora anchored on the theme is also being organized by PIDS and partner-agencies.


On September 1, the 2nd Mindanao Policy Forum will be held in Butuan City. Jointly organized by PIDS, Mindanao Development Authority, and Father Saturnino Urios University, this event will convene local policymakers, government staff, business sector, and civil society members in the Caraga region to discuss issues in the agriculture and environment sectors and how it may be possible to reduce their vulnerabilities, based on the results and policy recommendations from studies conducted by the organizers.


Another highlight of the DPRM celebration is a joint workshop by PIDS and the World Bank that focuses on small and medium enterprises (SME) in the Philippines. The workshop will focus on the five key constraints to SME development: business environment, innovation and skills, access to finance, access to markets, and development of ICT/digital entrepreneurship.  It aims to inform the government’s new “MSME Development Strategy 2016-2020” by diagnosing the constraints, offering solutions based on good international practice, and recommending optimal modalities of policy implementation.


As the DPRM’s main event, the Second Annual Public Policy Conference on “Risks, Shocks, Building Resilience” will be held on September 22 at the Marco Polo Ortigas in Pasig City with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas as co-sponsor. Building on the success of the inaugural conference in 2015, this year’s conference program has a wider assortment of presentations that are distributed in five sessions, each tackling a particular kind of risk (e.g., macroeconomic/financial, environmental, agricultural, health).  Resource speakers include researchers and practitioners based in the Philippines and overseas. Around 150 participants are expected to attend this conference, which will have Secretary for Socioeconomic Planning and NEDA Director-General Ernesto Pernia as keynote speaker.


Capping the month-long celebration is a joint forum by PIDS and the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City on September 29. This forum on social protection and risk management will feature PIDS’s impact evaluation studies on the Community Mortgage Program (CMP), a government financing scheme that enables organized residents of slums to borrow funds for land purchase and housing development, and the agricultural insurance programs of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.  To coincide with this seminar, a new PIDS Corner will be inaugurated at the USC Library. A PIDS Corner is a small section stacked with PIDS publications in selected provincial and university libraries outside of Metro Manila. Through this facility, the Institute makes its studies more accessible to students, faculty members, researchers, and policymakers located outside of Metro Manila.


For more information on the DPRM activities, visit the Events page of the DPRM website.