Year-end stocktaking (1) | Inquirer Opinion
Kris-Crossing Mindanao

Year-end stocktaking (1)

/ 05:02 AM December 27, 2022

We are in the last few days of 2022, and as a believer of the Socratic dictum that “an unexamined life is not worth living,” I think it is an appropriate time to take stock of what we have gone through this year. But this is unlike the business type of stocktaking, where owners do inventories of their stocks and evaluate what they need to replenish and what to discard—for items that have not moved for the past year in their enterprises.

As a citizen and a taxpayer, I am a stock owner of the government if it were a commercial enterprise. As such, like all other working Filipinos in this country, who have their incomes deducted from the regulatory taxes by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, I am entitled to know where my contributions to the country’s wealth have gone, especially in terms of what government has done to address its pressing needs and challenges.


My main interests in doing this year-end stocktaking are the following: the current state of our governance “stocks,” to refer to the management of our country’s natural assets, our national patrimony, and of safeguarding our foremost political right as an independent country, otherwise known as our sovereignty. Both assets are our reason for being a republic, a nation-state. I also want to examine how it has dealt with problems relating to strengthening the rule of law in this country through mechanisms that will ensure that impunity will no longer be the usual reason for justifying abuses of both military and police authority. In addition, I also want to review how both our national and the new Bangsamoro regional government are dealing with climate change-related threats and the intersections with other equally critical consequences of social exclusion and gender injustice.

Several government agencies and offices have been entrusted with the development of our natural resources, and of communities where these precious sources of our national patrimony are located. Foremost among them is the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and related agencies like the Department of Agriculture, which hosts crucial agencies like the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, among others. Then we have several agencies that are supposed to take charge of one of our foremost capitals—land— and how it is being used.


These offices and agencies are our frontline guardians to ensure that our precious natural and God-given assets and resources are being used and managed to achieve the primordial reason for government, that is, to safeguard the welfare of the greater number of our people, millions of whom live in dire poverty levels.

Just recently, the 27th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27 of the UNFCCC) was held in Egypt. As a sovereign country and as one of the 198 countries in the world that ratified the convention, the Philippines was entitled to participate in it. The country sent a 29-member delegation, and it was no less than DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga who led the country’s delegation.

The UNFCCC entered into force among the 198 countries that ratified it starting on March 21, 1994. But later, Philippine participation in it has largely been marked by high political maneuvering, starting with people who were made part of the country’s official delegation. During the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte, the leader of the Philippine delegation was former finance secretary Carlos Dominguez, who was then designated the chair of the country’s Climate Change Commission (CCC) then. Majority of the delegates came from the finance sector of government.

Yet, the Climate Change Act of 2009, the law that created the CCC, specifically provides in its Section 7 that commissioners must have at least 10 years of experience in dealing with climate change management or action, as well as having a standing record of proven honesty and integrity in public service. Dominguez must have fulfilled the latter set of qualifications, but definitely not for the first—that of being involved in climate change action for at least 10 years.

(To be concluded)


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TAGS: Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Climate Change Commission, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
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