As the Aquino administration comes to an end, it is essential for the Commission on Population to assess the milestone and weaknesses of the Philippine Population Management Program Directional Plan (PPMP DP) for 2011-2016. With this, the Regional Population Office-CAR conducted the first PPMP DP Assessment workshop on January 21, 2016 at the Pines View Hotel, Baguio City.

The assessment aimed to fill the gap between the PPMP’s transition from addressing the Millennium Development goals of 2015 to achieving the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals to 2030. The activity was to be the first step into involving local partners as early as possible in this endeavor.

Opting for a different approach in conducting the assessment, the RPO created an open and interactive activity for the 104 participants coming from Local Government Units, National Line Agencies and Civil Society Organization partners.

The activity opened with a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Erlinda Palaganas of the University of the Philippines Baguio. Panelists came from the different partner agencies and sectors of the PPMP with Dr. Juliet Pontino of DepEd, Ms. Cecille Basawil of DSWD, Dr. Rowena Galpo of the Baguio City Health Office and Ms. Cecille Agpawa of RTI Luzon Health. Deviating from the usual report presentations, panelists discussed accomplishments and gaps through a talk show format. The panel discussion with the theme “Taking stock on the Gains and Lessons Learned from the PPMP Implementation in the Cordillera Administrative Region” aimed to put a “face” of the usual quantitative data that are usually reported to assess successes and failures.

Within the discussion, panelists emphasized factors like resource sharing, collaboration and integration, data management, engendering the population agenda and involving partners in the ground. They have also stressed on issues of national policies and their non-responsiveness to local situations and needs. The panelists also recommended strategies to move forward in the implementation of the PPMP. Strategies like supporting new local leadership while maintaining the current direction of the program, depoliticizing the program while the election period is ongoing and lobbying for greater legislative, technical and financial support for programs and services.  Overall the inputs of all the discussions became a starting point for the next activity in the Open Space workshop.

To solicit issues and recommendations from the participants, the workshop proceeded to use an Open Space strategy after the panel discussions. The floor was opened to the PPMP partners to present main issues and concerns for them in implementing the program forward through 2016. Working on the question “How does the Philippine Population Management Program move beyond 2015: from the Millennium Development Goals to the 2030 Population and Sustainable Goals”, participants freely identified issues and opportunities to discuss with other partners through the Open Space workshop. Participants were also free to choose which issues and opportunities to join and devise recommendations for. In the end, 17 outputs were presented and will be up for further discussion and planning with the RPO and other partners in the next few weeks.

The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by member countries of the United Nations on September 25, 2015 as the means to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all” from 2016-20130. Each of the 17 goals has different sub-targets that countries need to achieve in the next 15 years.