Signs of Hope

By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:06:00 04/03/2008

The search is on again for innovative ideas to address development and poverty challenges as well as local governance. Up to P1 million each in grants is up for grabs for organizations with proposals on this year’s theme, “Building Partnerships for Effective Local Governance.”

I have been a frequent goer to the yearly Panibagong Paraan, or New Way, “marketplace.” It’s a great source not only of innovative ideas but also of stories to write about what people think up in order to be of help to their fellow Filipinos. Here you can feel the quiet heroism and daring of those who are working on the ground among real people with real needs.

If you want to take a break from soul-polluting politics, go to the mall for this event. It will surely take away some of your cynicism, bitterness, hopelessness and fatigue. Eat healthy afterwards.

Ninety-nine finalists from over 500 entries from all over the country will showcase their ideas at the Megatrade Halls 2 and 3 at SM Megamall on April 9 and 10. This will be a great time to exchange ideas, visions and strategies, and, most of all, share hope.

This year’s “development marketplace” will be a venue for sharing not only among the finalists but with the public as well. Knowledge, skills, best practices on multi-sectoral partnerships in governance will be shared through roundtable discussions, workshops and presentations by past Panibagong Paraan winners.

Since this year’s theme revolves around local governance, local officials even at the “barangay” [village or neighborhood district] level should go and be amazed by how much can be done at the local level. In fact, many say, ignore the national, the endless bickering, politicking and grandstanding. There is hope at the local level.

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There is time for criticism and there is time for finding solutions. Activities and events such as this should be encouraged and promoted and done regularly.

Is there a website for the said event?