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Guidelines for Membership and Chapter Development

(Issued on 13 March 2004, amended on 16 March 2007)

INTRODUCTION

The Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) is not just a non-governmental (development) organization or NGO. It is also a membership organization — one of the few NGOs that have a membership base. Its membership consists of people who share the philosophy and principles of rural reconstruction — i.e., people-centered and -managed sustainable development — and are willing and ready to contribute their time, talents and energies to the promotion and propagation of these philosophy and principles.

These people comprise the corporate membership of PRRM – people from various professions and occupations who subscribe to the vision, mission and goals (VMG) of the Movement and are committed to perform specific roles and undertake specific activities in support of these. These members are organized into provincial and city PRRM Chapters throughout the country. [1]

In PRRM’s strategic plan for the next 50 years (2002-2052), the PRRM Chapters play a crucial role in realizing the plan’s goal of “building rural capacities for sustainability”. They are expected to lead in the organization of the Provincial Rural Reconstruction Movements (ProRRM) that will be the main vehicle for achieving this goal.

(These ProRRMs, which will comprise PRRM’s partner sectoral organizations –farmers, farm workers, fishers, women, youth, and the professionals who are members of the PRRM Chapter — as well as other like-minded NGOs and people’s organizations in a province, will be the vanguard of civil society participation in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of sustainable development programs in each province where they exist. They will take over and continue, even expand, programs and projects that PRRM used to implement, and/or initiate programs and projects of their own. From being a direct program or project implementor, PRRM will transform itself into a resource center for these ProRRMs, providing them training, technical assistance, and financial intermediation services, as needed, so that they can effectively perform this role.)

The following Guidelines provide the rules and procedures that govern membership in PRRM and the organization and operation of PRRM Chapters to which each and every PRRM Regular Member belongs.

1. MEMBERSHIP

1. Qualifications for Membership – the PRRM By-Laws provide only one qualification for membership, i.e., “Any person who believes in and actively pursues the aims and purposes of the PRRM shall be eligible for membership.” (Article II, Section 1). However, they also provide that “the (PRRM) Board of Trustees …. may add other requirements and qualifications for membership, and shall promulgate such other rules as it may deem wise and necessary for the admission, suspension or expulsion, and define the duties and responsibilities, rights and privileges, of members.” These Guidelines provide these additional requirements and rules.

2. Types of Members – there are three types of members:

  1. Regular Members – present members and those who may subsequently be admitted in accordance with these Guidelines. They may vote and be voted upon; provided that each member shall have only one (1) vote.
  2. Honorary Members – are those who do not go through the application process; rather, they are invited by the Board of Trustees to join PRRM in recognition of their valuable contribution to rural development. They do not have the right to vote in the election of the Board of Trustees but they may be voted upon.
  3. Associate Members – those individuals who wish to be members and possess the basic qualifications as provided by the PRRM By-Laws, but are unable to join an existing PRRM Chapter for reason of distance (i.e., his residence or place of work is very far from the nearest PRRM Chapter, making regular attendance in chapter meetings very difficult, if not impossible). Also, new members of existing PRRM Chapters who join in-between the affirmation of the chapter’s accreditation (which means that his/her name was not included in the list that was submitted to the Membership and Chapter Development Committee [MCDC] for confirmation in the last affirmation of the chapter’s accreditation). Associate Members do not have the right to vote or be voted upon in any deliberation, whether at the level of the National Council or of the PRRM Chapter to which they belong. They will acquire these rights only upon their acceptance as Regular Members, as described in the procedure below (section 4-a-6).

3. Duties and Responsibilities of Members – whether Regular, Honorary or Associate, every PRRM Member has the following basic duties and responsibilities:

  1. Adhere to, and promote, the philosophy and principles of Rural Reconstruction, and the vision, mission, and goals (VMG) of the PRRM in their daily life and work.
  2. Contribute time, talent and energy on a voluntary basis to the promotion of Rural Reconstruction through the programs, projects and activities of PRRM and its partner organizations of farmers, farm workers, fishers, women and youth, as well as those of the PRRM Chapter to which s/he belongs.
  3. Participate as actively as possible in meetings, elections, forums, workshops and other activities of the chapter to which s/he belongs.
  4. Pay a one-time membership fee of P200.00 and an annual due of P100.00 (in addition to whatever fees and dues will be assessed by the chapter to which s/he belongs). (Not applicable to Honorary Members.)

4. Procedure for Acquiring Membership – an individual who wishes to become a PRRM Member can do so in any of the following ways:

  1. Where a PRRM Chapter exists in or near his/her residence or place of work:

1) Apply with the PRRM Chapter (by filling up and submitting to the chapter secretary or membership committee the standard application form/information sheet)

2) If s/he passes preliminary screening (on the basis of the personal information given in the application form), undergo an orientation on Rural Reconstruction and PRRM to be conducted by the chapter or by MCDC

3) Fulfill other requirements of the chapter (each chapter may have its unique membership requirements that are not contrary to these Guidelines)

4) If accepted, pay the membership fee of P200.00 (this amount will be remitted to the PRRM National Office; the chapter may impose an additional fee of its own)

5) S/he will then be listed in the rolls of the chapter as an “Associate Member”, and his/her name will be included in the list of new chapter members when the chapter applies for affirmation of its accreditation. His/her information sheet will also be submitted by the chapter to the MCDC together with the application for affirmation.

6) The MCDC will review his/her information sheet, and if it satisfied that the person is qualified to be a Regular Member, it will favorably endorse to the Board of Trustees his/her acceptance as a Regular Member together with the chapter’s application for affirmation. Once the Board approves the application, all Associate Members in the chapter’s list of members will automatically be conferred regular membership, unless the Board decides otherwise for justifiable reason.

  1. Where no PRRM Chapter exists in or near his/her residence or place of work:

1) Apply directly with the MCDC by requesting, filling up, and submitting the standard application form/information sheet.

2) If s/he passes the preliminary screening by MCDC (on the basis of information given in the application form), s/he will be given an orientation by MCDC, either in person (if his residence or place of work is near enough for him/her to visit the PRRM National Office, or if a MCDC member or any PRRM officer is visiting his/her area within a month of the submission of the application), or by sending him/her orientation materials (either by courier or e-mail). If the orientation is done by sending materials, s/he will be asked to confirm in writing that s/he has read, understood, and accepted the philosophy and principles of Rural Reconstruction, and the VMG of PRRM.

3) Once the MCDC is satisfied that the applicant has understood and accepted the philosophy and principles of Rural Reconstruction and the VMG of PRRM, s/he will be accepted as an Associate Member, and will be asked to pay the membership fee of P200.00. S/he will then be included in the mailing list for PRRM Associate Members and will receive a copy of all publications that are sent to those in this mailing list.

4) Once the Associate Member joins an existing chapter or, together with at least 14 other Associate and/or Regular Members, organize a new chapter, s/he will automatically be a candidate for regular membership. Once the PRRM Board of Trustees approves the accreditation of the new chapter (as provided in these Guidelines), all of its Associate Members will automatically be conferred regular membership unless the Board of Trustees decides otherwise for justifiable reason.

5. Membership Cards. All regular members of the Movement shall be issued a membership card that is signed by both the PRRM Chairperson and President upon approval of their regular membership by the PRRM Board of Trustees. Unless otherwise specified, this membership card shall have the same validity as the Certificate of Accreditation that is issued by the PRRM Board of Trustees to the Chapter to which the regular members belong (which is one year from date of issue).

6. Suspension and Termination of Membership (Regular or Associate)

a. Grounds for suspension or termination of membership

1) Serious misconduct of the member that is inimical to others, whether connected with PRRM or not (including alcoholism and use of prohibited drugs)

2) Gross or habitual neglect of duties and responsibilities (including excessive tardiness or absence from meetings)

3) Fraud or willful breach of trust

4) Conviction for a crime that carries a prison term

5) Any other act that tarnishes the name and reputation of PRRM or the chapter to which the member belongs

  1. Due process – to ensure the right of members to due process, the following procedure shall be adopted in the investigation and adjudication of cases of member’s misconduct:

1) Any member may file a formal, written complaint against another member with his/her Chapter Board. This complaint shall state the nature and circumstances of the member’s misconduct. (For Associate Members who are not yet chapter members, the complaint will be filed with the MCDC.)

2) The Chapter Board (or MCDC) shall assess the complaint, and if convinced that there is a prima facie evidence against the member complained about, shall notify the subject member of the same, furnishing him/her a copy of the written complaint, and asking him/her to respond in writing within a reasonable period of time (not more than 15 days). Failure to respond within this period would be taken as a waiver of the member’s right to defend himself against the complaint.

3) Once the subject member has submitted his/her reply to the complaint (or has waived his/her right to respond), the Chapter Board will rule on the case on the basis of the information available to it. However, if it feels it needs more information, it may call the parties (and others who may be able to provide the needed information) to a hearing, at which it will try to obtain all sides of the case and all information that it needs to be able to decide fairly on the matter.

4) Once the Chapter Board arrives at a decision, it shall inform the parties concerned accordingly, and provide a copy of its decision (together with the complaint and the reply, if any) to the MCDC. If it does not find the complaint meritorious, it may simply dismiss it. However, if it finds the complaint meritorious, it may take any of the following actions:

i. Warn the offending member not to repeat the matter complained about (if the offense is not so serious); or

  1. Mete the offending member a suspension of membership, the length of which will depend on the severity of the offense; or
  2. If the offense is very serious, terminate the membership outright.

5) Any member who is found guilty of any infraction by the Chapter Board can appeal his/her case to the MCDC, who has the authority to sustain or reverse the decision of the Chapter Board. If the parties concerned (including the Chapter Board) are not satisfied with the decision of the MCDC, they can appeal to the Board of Trustees, whose decision on the matter shall be final.

6) Once the membership of anybody is terminated with finality, that person shall be dropped from the rolls of PRRM Members and shall not be re-admitted except under exceptionally meritorious circumstances and this will require a decision of the PRRM Board of Trustees.

B. CHAPTERS

  1. Nature of PRRM Chapters – PRRM Chapters are organizations of PRRM Members who reside or work within the same province or city. They are the basic unit and outreach arm of the Movement. It is through them that PRRM envisions sustaining its mission of “enhancing the capacity of rural communities in the planning, advocacy and implementation of sustainable development” in every province or city that it is able to reach through its programs.
  2. PRRM Chapters are part of PRRM’s corporate structure. Therefore, they are extensions of PRRM’s juridical personality and are covered by PRRM’s registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As such, they are governed by the SEC-approved Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws of the Movement. However, each Chapter shall have its own governing body in the Chapter Board of Directors (Chapter Board), and may adopt its own organizational policies, rules and procedures, as well as plan and implement its own programs and projects, provided all these are consistent with PRRM’s constitution and by-laws, its organizational policies, rules and procedures, and its vision, mission, goals and strategies.
  3. Formation of PRRM Chapters – once there are at least fifteen (15) persons in a province or city (where there is still no PRRM Chapter) who wish to be PRRM Members and organize themselves into a PRRM Chapter, they will be encouraged and assisted by the MCDC or the PRRM Branch Office (if any) to organize themselves into a PRRM Chapter. The MCDC/Branch Office will conduct an orientation for these Members on PRRM – its history, philosophy and principles, values, vision, mission, strategies and goals, and on the role, functions, rights and obligations of PRRM Members and PRRM Chapters. Once this orientation is completed, the MCDC/Branch Office shall supervise the conduct of the first election of the Chapter’s board members and officers. The MCDC/Branch Office can also assist in formulating the Chapter’s internal policies, rules and procedures, and in planning its first year activities.
  4. Distribution of Chapter Members – ideally, the members of a provincial chapter should come from at least the majority of the towns of the province. However, this is not a requirement. The initial members of a chapter may all come from just one or two towns of the province. However, the chapters are encouraged to continually expand its membership until it has members from as many towns of the province as possible.
  5. Organization of Sub-Chapters – where the members of a Chapter are scattered over a wide area of a province or city, it may organize sub-chapters to which members who live or work within the same area (town or district) can belong. This is to facilitate the conduct of meetings and other types of assemblies. Instead of all the members meeting regularly in one general assembly, they can meet regularly as sub-chapters and meet as a general assembly perhaps no more than once or twice a year. However, to ensure that all sub-chapter members are kept informed of developments at the chapter level, or in the other sub-chapters, it is suggested that the Chapter Board provide seats for sub-chapter representatives.
  6. Accreditation of PRRM Chapters – once a Chapter has completed its orientation, has elected its first set of board members and officers, has prepared its internal policies, rules and procedures, and has formulated the plan for its first year activities, it can apply for accreditation to the PRRM Board of Trustees, through the MCDC. To do this, it will have to send a letter to the Board of Trustees, through the MCDC, expressing its request to be accredited as a PRRM Chapter. Together with the letter, it will have to submit the following:

a. Its list of board members, officers and members, together with their bio-data (unless these have been submitted previously to the MCDC when the individual members applied for membership in PRRM)

b. A certification from the PRRM Branch Office that the Chapter’s Members have received the necessary orientation on PRRM and on the role, functions, rights and obligations of Members and Chapters (if the orientation was conduced by the MCDC itself, there is no need for a certification)

c. Its internal policies, rules and procedures

d. The plan of its first year activities

e. The membership fee (P200.00) of any Member who has not yet paid this fee (Non-payment or non-remittance of the membership fee of any applicant for regular membership may delay approval of a chapter’s accreditation.)

The MCDC will review the application for accreditation, and once it is satisfied that the applicant satisfies all the requirements to become a PRRM Chapter, it will recommend approval of the application to the PRRM Board of Trustees (BOT). If a meeting of the BOT is scheduled within a month of the receipt of the application, the application will be included in the agenda of this meeting. Otherwise, the action of the BOT members will be secured by the MCDC through a referendum.

Once the BOT approves an application for accreditation, the MCDC will notify the applicant and issue it a Certificate of Accreditation that will be valid for one (1) year from the date of its issuance.

Accreditation entitles the Chapter to full rights and privileges, including membership in the National Council and the right to vote in all its deliberations (including the right to be voted upon in the election of the Board of Trustees), and eligibility for technical and financial assistance from PRRM.

  1. Affirmation of Accreditation – to maintain its accreditation, the Chapter should apply for affirmation of accreditation at least one (1) month before the expiration of the validity of its Certificate of Accreditation. The application for affirmation shall be contained in a letter addressed to the PRRM Board of Trustees, through the MCDC, and shall be accompanied by the following:

a. An updated list of board members, officers and members, including the bio-data of any new member who joined the Chapter (as an Associate Member) since the last accreditation/affirmation of the Chapter

b. A report on the Chapter’s activities and accomplishments for the year just ended

c. The Chapter’s plan of activities for the ensuing year

d. The membership fees of new members (P200.00 each)

e. The annual dues of old members (P100.00 each)

(Non-payment or non-remittance of any new member’s membership fee or any old member’s annual due may delay the affirmation or re-affirmation of a chapter’s accreditation.)

  1. Dis-accreditation – a chapter will automatically lose its accreditation if it fails to apply for affirmation/re-affirmation before the validity of its Certificate of Accreditation expires. It may also lose its accreditation if the PRRM Board of Trustees decides to withdraw it due to any action of the Chapter that is inimical or contrary to the interest of PRRM or to its philosophy, vision, mission and goals, or to any of its partner organizations.

Once a Chapter loses its accreditation, it will no longer be authorized to use the name “PRRM province/city) Chapter”, nor will it be invited to the National Council meetings, nor will it be entitled to any technical or financial assistance from PRRM. However, if it lost its accreditation due to a failure to apply for affirmation/re-affirmation before the expiration of its Certificate of Accreditation as a result of organizational problems, it may request PRRM to assist in solving its organizational problems so that it can regain its organizational strength and be able to re-apply for accreditation.

In the event that the PRRM Board of Trustees decides to withdraw a chapter’s accreditation due to its action(s) that is/are inimical or contrary to the interest of PRRM or to any of its partner organizations, or to its philosophy, vision, mission and goals, it may issue a public announcement to this effect, should it find such announcement necessary in order to protect the name and integrity of the Movement.

  1. Membership in the National Council – once a Chapter is accredited (or its accreditation affirmed in subsequent years), it shall automatically become a member of the PRRM National Council. This is the highest policy-making body of the Movement, on whom rests the power to amend the PRRM By-Laws and elect the PRRM Board of Trustees.

Each Chapter is entitled to have two (2) representatives to the National Council, a principal representative and a secondary representative, who shall be selected by the Chapter Board from among the Chapter’s Members. This selection shall be documented through a Resolution that should be sent to the PRRM Board Secretary at least a month before each National Council meeting so that the PRRM Board Secretary will know who to invite to the National Council meeting. The representatives of the Chapter to the National Council may serve as such for as long as the Chapter wants to keep them as its representatives. However, the Chapter needs to renew their designation each time they attend a National Council meeting, also through a Resolution that should be sent to the PRRM Board Secretary at least a month before each meeting.

As provided in the PRRM By-Laws, each Chapter shall have only one (1) vote in any deliberation of the National Council, including the election of the Board of Trustees, and this vote shall be exercised by the Chapter’s principal representative.

  1. Role and Functions of Chapters – aside from their role and functions as Members of the National Council, the Chapters have the following roles and functions:

a. Membership Recruitment and Development – the Chapters are expected to continuously recruit members in order to increase the pool of people who can contribute to the pursuit of the Mission of PRRM. The Chapters should be able to recruit Members who have the time and talent and/or financial resources, to contribute to the planning, advocacy and/or implementation of sustainable development programs and projects in their own province or city. The Chapters should also be able to continuously develop or enhance the commitment and capability of their members so that they can be more effective contributors to sustainable development.

b. Advocacy of Sustainable Development – the Chapters are expected to lead the advocacy of sustainable development in their respective provinces and cities. This means influencing the local government units (LGUs), the national government agencies (NGAs) operating in the province/city, the local business sector, the academe, other civil society organizations, and the public at large, through various advocacy instruments and methods (such as forums, use of mass media, even mass actions, if appropriate), to adopt, practice, implement sustainable development policies, programs, projects, activities, and methods, such as sustainable agriculture, community-based coastal resource management, community-managed eco-development tourism, community-based health care, clean air mechanisms, ecological waste management, and the like.

The Chapters may also initiate or participate in other advocacies that it believes are consistent with the philosophy, principles and values of rural reconstruction, in general, and of PRRM, in particular.

In addition, the Chapters are expected to support the advocacy of sustainable development at the regional and national levels, particularly those that are led or joined by PRRM.

c. Provision of Technical Assistance and/or Moral and/or Financial Support to other PRRM Partner Organizations – many Chapter members have technical expertise that can help PRRM’s partner organizations of farmers, fishers, women and youth in the management of their respective organizations and in the implementation of their programs or projects; some may be also be able to provide material or financial assistance to the projects of these partner organizations; still some may simply provide moral guidance as, for instance, in the case of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Youth Association (PRRYA), which the Chapter may “adopt” as its youth arm or its “training ground” for future chapter members.

d. Leadership in the Organization and Operation of the Provincial Rural Reconstruction Movements (ProRRMs) – since the Chapters count among their members many leaders – whether of civil society organizations (CSOs), the academe, business, or government – they are expected to take the lead in the organization and operation of the ProRRMs in their respective provinces. They are expected to initiate the organization of the ProRRMs by convening an organizing committee or interim council of leaders composed of representatives of the various PRRM partner organizations in the province and other CSOs that share the philosophy and principles of rural reconstruction or people-centered and -managed sustainable development. This organizing committee or interim council of leaders will then draft the articles of incorporation and by-laws of the ProRRM; convene a representative general assembly consisting of the officers of all the prospective member organizations for the purpose of ratifying the ProRRM’s articles of incorporation and by-laws and electing its first set of officers; then register the ProRRM with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an autonomous federation of CSOs of the province.

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[1] As of 13 March 2004, there are 17 accredited PRRM Chapters in 14 provinces and 3 cities of Metro Manila. See List of Accredited PRRM Chapters attached to this document.

List of Chapters

Publications

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THIS ISSUE OF PRRM’S COMMUNITY & HABITAT JOURNAL IS focused on the intertwined issues of climate change, energy and food.

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