Information and Communication in the 2004-2010 MTPDP

Manila Bulletin, November 13, 2004 | Go to article overview
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Information and Communication in the 2004-2010 MTPDP


THE MTPDP is the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan for 2004-2010. As the bible of Philippine development, it is expected to provide the guidelines for legislative, program and budgetary priorities for the next five years. In the past, the usual practice is that of holding what is described as bottomup planning which is the conduct of regular municipal and provincial planning exercise. The views from those who participated were documented and analyzed. All the views gathered were then clustered into development priorities by a technical committee which prepares the final output. I did participate in documenting a Municipal Development Planning activity in Tuguegarao, Cagayan sometime in 1978 when I was with the Development Academy of the Philippines.

I was then a recipient from Unesco of a small grant intended for a case study of local development planning, focusing on how communication can be a resource in orchestrating the planning process. I chose Tuguegarao because my husband was then a CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) cooperatives specialist in the Cagayan Valley. The output was the plan and the study emphasis was on how local media (broadcast, print, interpersonal communication) such as "pulong-pulongs," and other indigenous media facilitated the planning process. This and subsequent community-based research projects convinced me that indeed, communication is the most important resource in planning. As someone noted, information is the nerve of government. In fact most of us in the communication profession often equate planning with communication as it is in planning where most of our communication concepts are applied participation, dialogue, sharing, exchange, collective decision-making. Even today, when we talk of effective governance, we equate it with transparency and openness which are communication attributes.

I will not reinforce criticisms from some sectors (primarily from former NEDA Secretary Solita Monsod) who had said the following about the present MTPDP: One is a "disconnection between plans and actions and inconsistencies in strategies and programs. The other comments include the lack of available resources to fund development programs and projects enumerated; misues of MTPDP as advocacy tool (for promoting charter change); lack of prioritization of government programs; lack of definite government population policy; plan is strong in numbers or targets but lacks bold strategic strokes and coherence; and that it is too ambitious.

Although the previous plans contained more reference to function of communication in relation to education and culture, the present MTPDP gives considerable emphasis on the digital infrastructure. In fact, five pages (pp. 86-90) in the chapter on infrastructure deals with goals and action plans in developing the physical and human resources for e-commerce and e-learning.

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