Good afternoon, let me welcome and thank all of you for joining us in celebrating the 55th anniversary of PRRM.
I served as PRRM’s president for 8.5 years, from 1999 until May 2007. Those years that I have been hands-on in PRRM operations were very insightful and challenging especially for someone like me who spent a substantial period of my working years as a legislator.
In PRRM, we had endless discussions about all aspects if sustainable development. We and our partner people’s organizations experimented on different sustainable technologies like the SRI or System of Rice Intensification and even biofuels. We got involved and participated in advocating about a number of local, national and global issues that are relevant to the promotion of sustainable development – from mining issues in Marinduque and Nueva Vizcaya to climate change.
When PRRM turned 50 and ended its first corporate life in 2002, I was lucky/blessed that I was then the President. I had the opportunity to join committed, passionate and intelligent PRRM workers, partners, allies and friends in charting PRRM’s next 50 years. The result of the strategic planning workshop was a consensus that the key to sustainable development is the effective participation by, and cooperation among, the local people, the local government unit, and the local business sector, in local development. I other words, the “localization” of development efforts.
In addition, there was a consensus that for local development to prosper, it is imperative that there are supportive policies and programs at the national and international levels.
In the past 20 years, PRRM has been doing both direct (field programs) and indirect (policy advocacy) poverty reduction. Our success derives from (a) continuing rooted-ness in the local community and (b) somewhat high-profile development activism.
The Board of Trustees of PRRM comes from different backgrounds (i.e business sector, people’s organizations, academe, NGOs, indigenous peoples) and I would say even generations ( age range is from 24 to 93). This diversity helps sharpen our analysis of issues and provides greater wisdom to our decisions. With Ms. Helen Benitez as our Chairperson, the PRRM Board was kept intact and united, focused on its responsibility as Trustees of a great Movement, and committed to PRRM’s vision mission.
I wouldn’t forget our PRRM staff, most of them seasoned development workers. They work hard yet they take time to have fun. These moments help us strengthen out ties and recharge our energies.
PRRM chartered its next 50 years. Meaning, we foresee that we will still be around for another 50 years. For as long as the problems of poverty, disease, inequality, powerlessness and environmental destruction are around, PRRM will be around.
Now, as I serve as its Chairperson, I hope that I would be able to fill-in, though it would be difficult to do, the shoes of Ms. Helen Benitez, who has shown exemplary leadership of this Movement.
Maraming salamat, mabuhay kayo!
PRRM 55th Anniversary Celebration
July 17, 2007
Club Filipino, San Juan City
March 8, 2014, Cocoon Boutique Hotel
Quezon City, Philippines