Laos government officials learn from Philippine experiences
15 December 2013
Seventeen officials from the Lao PDR, including one Filipino (program coordinator) from the GIZ Laos Office, visited the Philippines on 2-11 December 2013 to learn about the country’s local economic development (LED) and poverty reduction practices and policies through the “Second Structured Learning Visit (SLV2) of Lao PDR Government Partners to the Philippines” or SLV2.
The program is part of GIZ Laos’ Integrated Rural Development in Poverty Regions of Laos (NU-IRDP) and in support to Lao PDR’s SamSang policy. GIZ Laos organized and coordinated such program in collaboration with the Center for Local and Regional Governance (CLRG).
With the aim of deepening and broadening of Lao PDR government officials’ understanding of decentralization, as well as improving their capacity in poverty reduction and LED, SLV2 showcased concepts, experiences and practices in select local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines.
A total of eight (8) LGUs have been visited in this learning activity. These LGUs are as follows: Province of Iloilo and three of its municipalities, namely Miagao, Pototan and San Enrique; Province of Aklan and its municipality of Numancia; Province of Laguna; and the City of Mandaluyong in Metro Manila.
SLV2 provided the opportunities to observe Philippine local governments across tiers (province, city and municipality) in addition to going at the community level (indigenous peoples called “Aeta” and the mountainous areas). It has also offered experiences with localities which can be considered as rural (San Enrique, Iloilo; Numancia, Aklan), newly emerging urban (Pototan and Miagao in Iloilo), and urban (City of Mandaluyong and Province of Laguna).
With the various learning sites visited and activities undertaken, SLV2 was a successful avenue for knowledge transfer and sharing between the Philippines and the Lao PDR. The program highlighted the following: 1) LED may come in different forms (such as agriculture, tourism, cultural and heritage development, etc.); 2) LED may be operationalized through different strategies like public-private partnership, interlocal cooperation, and convergence approaches; 3) local government readiness and competitiveness are important indicators of success of LED; and 4) it is important for LED’s effects to trickle down to the poorest of the community and not just to the middle and upper class members of the population towards genuine development.
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