12 July 2006

Building strengths, tapping networks

THIS MORNING, I discussed with the Naga CPDO staff an accelerated timeline for the ongoing updating of local development and land use plans. I figure we will be able to save up to two months using this new timetable. Arch. Juan Villegas, Jr., CPDO chief, gave the green light for its implementation.

The revised sked in no way sacrifices quality as it builds on Naga's fundamental strength: its strong participatory tradition. A key strategy we have adopted is to work with existing local councils and special bodies in crafting local plans with a 9-year time horizon that will align with the Millennium Development Goals. Their inputs, as we have seen in two planning sessions held thus far, should improve the quality of our work many times over. The overall approach is described here.

More and more, I am finding out some fuzzy logic underpinning my return to the Naga CPDO. It is a logical extension of the coursework I did in Cambridge. The internal GIS capabilities of the city are being multiplied—boosted by the input of individuals who have a stake in Naga. Also, my recent LSJ 13 stint has linked me to Ford Foundation international fellows who have the expertise on the subject.

One of them is Qiuxia Ye from Danzhou City in China's Hainan Province, who is taking her graduate studies at UP and Dortmund University in Germany. Affectionately known as Susi, she is the third lady from left in our group picture in the previous post. It is, by the way, an offshoot of a joint Sino-Filipino-Tibetan cultural presentation we did, forged 15 minutes before the program began. Filipino sociologist Manny de Guzman (in white barong next to me) called it "a post-modern dragon dance"; it was to me a "police academy" presentation all over again.