RDG Conference Report of Mae Claire G. Jabines

Write up about the Conference

The Conference is organized by the Asian Studies Association of Hong Kong (ASAHK) from March 8-9, 2013. This is the 8th year of the conference, which started in 2006. This year’s theme was on “Transformations, Development and Culture in Asia: Multidisciplinary Perspectives”; and with sub-themes on (1) Business and social entrepreneurship; (2) Creativity, media and culture; (3) Digital Culture; (4) Education social change and culture; (5) Environment and sustainable development; (6) History of Hong Kong, China and Asia; (7) Literature and culture; (8) Managing urbanization in Asia; (9) Public policies and governance; and (10) Sustainability and education.

The Conference was well-attended by scholars from different countries – Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, India, Russia, USA, Thailand, Macau, Vietnam, Indonesia, Burma, Malaysia and the Philippines. There were 9 concurrent/parallel sessions with a minimum of 6 sessions per parallel session. There were over 230 paper that were presented, most of them were presented in English and some papers were presented in Mandarin Chinese for Chinese speaking parallel sessions. My paper “From Poverty to Prosperity Fair: The Case of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)-Local Government Unit (LGU) Collaboration in the Province of Bohol, Philippines towards Sustainable Development” was presented in the 1st day of the Conference in Session 3C:Managing Urbanization in Asia with Dr. Krishna K. Tummala of Kansas State University as the session’s moderator.

Feedback on paper presented

The paper presented gained positive reactions. The questions raised were on the context of NGO funding sources and co-management with LGUs; and the sustainability of the programs of NGO-LGU collaboration. There was comment comparing the participation of NGOs in India and to my case study. The audience were curious how the LGUs managed the collaboration of NGOs in the poverty reduction action programs, where I presented a case on the Poverty Database Monitoring Systems (PDMS) developed by an NGO and is now widely used by the municipalities of the Province of Bohol and adopted in other provinces of Iloilo, San Fernado, Quezon and La Union and other developing countries like Timor Leste, Solomon Islands, India, Bhutan and Bangladesh. They were amazed in the initiative presented on Poverty Fair and how NGOs assist LGUs in the development of project proposals presented in the FAIR attended by funding agencies and other organizations.

Future directions of research presented

There is a need to reevaluate the sustainability of the programs of the LGU-NGO collaboration particularly referring to the change of political administration after elections for most of the local leaders are third termers as well as the phasing out of some NGOs in municipalities. Will the changes in politics affects the outputs/programs of collaboration?

For future research, I am planning to concentrate on the impact of the Poverty Database Monitoring System (PDMS) Software to LGUs and how LGUs facilitate ans use the data they gathered from PDMS towards establishing programs with the assistance of other line agencies of the government. This topic will also be useful in the field of IT research-how ans IT program can be a tool towards sustainable development.

Potential foreign collaborators

Dr. Ke Wen-Li of the National Immigration Agency of Taiwan presented a study on Migration and Development-making Taiwan’s Highly Skilled Migration Policies. She was interested on how NGOs comparison between the Philippines and Taiwan. She conducted studies in the Philippines specifically in Batanes studying the IPs and the water system.

Dr. Ernest F. Martin of Virginia Commonwealth University, who presented a study on “Reputation Counts: Development and Measurement Properties of an Automated Media Reputation Measurement”. Although his study was on the media reputation of the casinos in Macau, but the tool (reputation measurement) can be useful in the field of political science particularly on election, political personality evaluation and program or policy perception. Dr. Martin was kind enough to share the link of the software he was using as measurement in the evaluation. He was also willing to help in the conceptualization of future projects using the software.

Other important contacts and insights

Reviewing my notes from the different sessions that I attended. I came to realize how a certain topic have varied perceptions. I presented a paper on the LGU-NGO collaboration which reflects the harmonious relationship of the two institutions in Bohol. However, in the presentation of Dr. Meng-kwen Chen of National Taipei University, he indicated that NGOs are more efficient than the government. The NGOs in his case were more responsive to the needs of his countrymen. However, in the presentation of Dr. Krishna Tummala, he indicated the damaging effect of NGOs in India. He further stated the participation of NGOs in corruption in his place. In the end, I realized that the environment and political culture plays a big part in the interaction of the LGUs and NGOs.

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

As a junior faculty of UP, I find the conference enriching and inspiring. It made me realized that there are varied avenues for research. I was able to meet and interact with international scholars from different disciplines converged together on similar themes.

My paper LGU-NGO initiatives, which was presented in the 1st day of the conference, provided a unique case for the Philippines on participatory governance. I was able to share that collaboration is possible in our country despite the flaks and features on corruption our country was highlighted in other research presented. I am positive that my paper will in a way will change the perception of our country as corrupt and undeveloped to having participatory governance towards sustainable development. It might be of one province now but I am hoping that such endeavor will be replicated with the other provinces in the country.