II. MECHANISMS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS INTO OVERALL ECONOMIC POLICIES
C. Initiatives in economy-environment integration
The 1983-1987 Plan built upon the same concerns of the previous Plan, pursuing the principle that the development of natural resources must recognize the responsibility of maintaining a comfortable level of renewable resources and of minimizing the adverse effects that might arise from their exploitation.
The 1987-1992 Development Plan adopted a community-based approach to resource management. That approach focused on the importance of community participation in the planning and implementation of natural resources projects. Under that approach, local communities were empowered to manage the resources, with the government furnishing the necessary enabling conditions, such as through programmes which provided users with the incentives and expertise to properly manage their resources. The efficacy of the community-based approach to resource management may be seen from the success of a number of initiatives anchored to such an approach. In Palawan, for example, forest destruction and coastal resource degradation have been minimized as a direct result of the Bantay Dagat (dubbed "Baywatch") and Bantay Gubat ("Forest Watch") programmes of the city government of Puerto Princesa. In those programmes, the communities were mobilized to curb illegal logging and fishing. Reforestation through voluntary community action in the annual Pista ng Kagubatan (Feast of the Forest) programme has increased the forest cover in the region in recent years. Similar initiatives are being undertaken in other regions and applied to other environmentally-oriented projects such as solid waste management. Those successes are being echoed nationwide through the Galing Pook award which recognizes innovative local government projects and initiatives. The effectiveness of the community-based approach has yet to be evaluated on a national scale. However, at the local level experience shows that projects with significant community involvement and commitment have a high likelihood of success.
The Development Plan for 1993-1998, and its updated version (1996-1998),
have benefited from the imperatives of the commitments by the Philippines
at the 1992 Earth Summit and the influence of the growing environmental
movement. The Plan seeks to attain sustained growth of output and employment,
the alleviation of poverty and the improved distribution of income, with
sustainable development underpinning all objectives. It highlights the
key policy reforms and strategies required to promote the proper management
of resources, including: the proper pricing of resources, property rights
reform, land conversion, air and water pollution control and community-based
resource management systems. The Plan also emphasizes the adoption of measures
aimed at increased efficiency in the consumption of renewable resources
and the internalization of environmental costs. It also includes the institutionalization
of a resource revenue system involving the imposition of fines, taxes and
user fees to compel resource users to internalize the costs of external
effects of production such as pollution and biodiversity loss. That approach
is, in effect, intended to put an automatic economic restraint on the way
the environment and natural resources are used.