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Public Participation in Environmental Governance in the Philippines: The Challenge of Consolidation in Engaging the State

Authors / Editors: Gera, Weena Jade S.


ABSTRACT

This paper provides an overview of the extent of institutionalization of public participation in environmental governance in the Philippines using the three-pillar framework of the Aarhus Convention and Principle 10 Guidelines: access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. It analyzes the shifting demarcations of public engagement and how these are defined by the interplay of institutional-legal structures with the country’s political economy constraints. It argues that while the country appears to have a strong institutional design for public participation, there is a decisively low level of institutionalization of actual participatory processes that could not achieve substantive autonomy from power structures. A critical factor to this is the weakness in public deliberations and interactions among civil society groups in the country that constrain legitimacy of representation, coherence and necessary consolidation in engagements with government institutions. While pluralism is a key tenet of public participation, the situation in the Philippines shows the limitations of its application, particularly amid a patrimonial political context. Such weakness amid complexities in aggregating public interest allows particular interests to predominate in reconfigurations of the boundaries of involvement in environmental matters, displacing otherwise legitimate groups in the margins of collaborative governance.


Published by: Land Use Policy 52 , 2016 | Page Nos: 501-510
Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837714000490
Type of Publication: Journal Article