BAGUIO CITY – More than 1,000 leaders from different national and local organizations participate in the National Sectoral Assembly (NSA) on January 13-15, 2015, to plan their agenda and elect a new set of leaders for the next three years.
“The NSA is a mechanism in place in the National Anti-Poverty Commission,” said anti-poverty chief Sec. Joel Rocamora, “that sets the venue for our real boss, the organized poor, to plan and implement their agenda to break out of poverty.”
It is a significant event because it ensures the active engagement of the basic sectors with government. The sectors use government mechanisms to push policies and programs that address their issues and concerns. The Farmers and Landless Rural Workers Sectoral Council pursued the much-delayed recovery and use of the P71-billion coconut levy fund. The 71-day march from Davao to Malacañan Palace finally got the nod from the President to support their demands. And on December 10, 2014, the Supreme Court passed a partial entry of judgment to release the coco levy fund.
Already in the House and the Senate is the Indirect Initiative Bill that the farmers themselves filed last year. The Bill lays down the creation of a trust fund that will use the coco levy fund for the direct benefit of small coconut farmers.
The Artisanal Fisher folk Sectoral Council, on the other hand, continues to engage government agencies and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in implementing their program for a settlement of fishers through the Post-Yolanda Fisher folk Settlement Program. The pilot settlement sites of the Program are being set up in Palawan, Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Cebu, and Iloilo.
The National Urban Poor Sectoral Council pushed for the signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) on the P50-billion fund for the resettlement of around 106,000 informal settler families in Metro Manila’s danger zones. Through the Council, organized urban poor communities plan, propose, and implement their People’s Plans with assistance from government agencies.
On January 15, the NSA will elect a new set of Council members for each of the 14 basic sectors. The Council members will nominate three names from which the President will appoint the Sectoral Representative for each of the 14 basic sectors.