Ms. Edith Y. Villanueva, PEF Treasurer (PEF@15 Partnership Forum, 25 November 2016, Sequoia Hotel, Mother Ignacia Ave., Diliman, Quezon City)
To Assistant Secretary Evelyn Cruzada and our other distinguished resource persons; our Chair, Benjamin Abadiano and my fellow members of the Board of Trustees; our cherished partners; and the PEF staff headed by our hardworking Executive Director, Bobby Calingo. Good afternoon.
Our country has taken strides in terms of economic development; and despite the many challenges, we still remain to be a vibrant democracy. Yet, many of our fellow Filipinos remain marginalized and disenfranchised. We still have a long way to go and much work remains to be done.
It has been interesting and inspiring to follow the remarkable and thought-provoking presentations and the open discussion concerning both the experience gained and the future challenges faced by our respective initiatives.
I strongly believe that a sharing of experiences like this is fruitful, because not only is it instructive, but also inspires us to do more.
This meeting has fulfilled its intention — it has given food for thought to the possibility of building a common purpose in light of the key points raised by our speakers.
Let me highlight some of these.
First, collaboration between the government and the NGOs and harmonization of the different priorities being advanced by various stakeholders are needed to effectively ease poverty and make our households more self-sufficient.
As Bob, Rapa and Ben emphasized, poverty is a multi-dimensional problem which requires a holistic approach. Among PEF’s initial steps to align with the existing initiatives of our friends in the development sector is our participation in fulfilling the goals of the Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 program and the Angat Buhay project of the Office the Vice President.
We are also pleased to know, that 6 out of the 15 development agendas of our government mirrored that of PEF, as explained and shared to us by Assistant Secretary Cruzada of the Office of Cabinet Secretary.
We seek to continue the complementation of efforts to reach out to the poorest communities soonest.
Meanwhile, speakers from CIDAMi and DRCICI shared the challenges and opportunities in the cacao and the coconut industries.
In PEF, we recognize that farmers are among the poorest. To help the agricultural sector, PEF will develop strategic partnerships and projects corresponding to the development directions mentioned by CIDAMi, DRCICI and other key industry participants. As guided by our common aspiration to uplift the quality of life of agriculture dependent households, PEF hopes to provide interventions to increase farmers’ productivity levels, enable value addition, and strengthen the market competitiveness of our social enterprises.
Ladies and gentlemen, and friends from the development sector, as I have underscored earlier, many poor communities still have a long way to go in their efforts towards lasting development. I hope that the thoughts we have raised here and shared during this forum will push forward our collective purpose into concrete, synergistic and workable actions that will contribute to our search, and our dream, for long-term and sustainable solutions.
It has been said that, “not only is there unity in diversity but more importantly, in diversity, there is greater strength.” What unites us is the social mission which is at the very core of our vision and mission. Points for convergence are many and these provide us even greater opportunities to build on our present collaborations.
And if I may quote Rapa again, what we are doing here is looking, for building a common agenda for convergence.
This forum was all about connecting, sharing, and learning from each other, our different successes and challenges. I hope we have achieved that this afternoon.
In closing, let me just remind everyone that it is up to us to spread the contagion of social entrepreneurship across the country. There can be no peace without development and there can be no development without peace. And as to the question, development for whom, it is only with equity that we can respond with confidence: development is for all.