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Community Capacity and Governance – New Approaches to Development and Evaluation

by Banyai, Cindy Lyn, PhD


Page 231


People often leave for economic reasons

Ability to Set
and Achieve
Objectives







Formal leaders assess community and achieve objectives

Speed of progress varies,

Mayor is facing political opposition

Individuals feel free to voice opinions and demand results

Actual results vary depending on political will

Little faith in change

Ability to
Recognize and
Access
Resources






Some use of natural resources

Tourist promotion

Minimal diversification in the recognition of local resources

Many human resources untapped

Obtaining resources locally is not easy

4.3.2. Agents

Source: Author, FPQ, IDIs

The community agents of Pagudpud include individuals, organizations, and networks, both
formal and informal. Individual community agents include elected officials such as Mayor M.
Sales, Barangay Captains, such as Lorenzo Domingo, Sanguinian Bayan (Council Members),
such as Efren Cimatu, and other local administrators (FPQ, 2008). Other individual agents
include formal leaders of organizations such as Mrs. Emelin Sales and Mrs. Linda Viola, as well
as local business owners (particularly those with strong family and political ties) such as the
brother of Mayor Sales, and the Garvida and Benemerito families13.

There are many organizations at work as community agents in Pagudpud and there is a large
and active membership to many of them. A full list would be difficult to compile, but the most
frequently noted and discussed organizations in Pagudpud are the Boy and Girl Scouts (operated
through the schools), the Tourism Committee, the Seniors' Group, the farmers’ organization
(SANJERA), the tricycle drivers' union (PATODA), Barangay Health Workers (BHW), religious
organizations, the youth organization (SK), shell craft makers’ organizations, the Barangay
Police, parent-teacher organization (FPTCA, particularly important in addressing needs within
the barangay (Calventas, 2008)), Pagudpud Volunteers for Progress (PVP, organization endorsed
by the mayor to drum up support for his initiatives (Ubasa, 2008)), tour-guides’ organization,

13
1

The Benemeritos are the former political ruling family and the Garvidas are a powerful business family. Mrs.
Emelin Sales is a Garvida.

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and the Women’s League. From this brief list of organizations is can be seen that there is a large
variety of organizations in place, from social to community-based, to issue-based, and that the
organizations cover a wide breadth of the community including women, youth, the elderly, and
the devout. However, as noted earlier, most of the organizations that people in Pagudpud are
involved in are localized national organizations, with little activity in endogenous organizations.
The notable exception is the PVP, which is a truly local, issue-based organization with much
activity, but limited membership.

Networks in general are difficult to see and enumerate particularly interpersonal and informal
networks. However, some examples of networks in Pagudpud that can be seen include the
national and international organizational networks (such as the Boy/Girl Scouts and Kiwanis),
local political and business networks (Sales/Garvida/Cimatu/Benemerito families), provincial
political networks (Pagudpud has strong connections with Governor Marcos-Keon of Ilocos
Norte), OFWs, repatriated Filipino migrants (seeking business opportunities in Balaoi's tourist
area), national and international tourists, police officers (FPQ, 2008), networks with and within
the LGU, and local organizational networks (such as the BHW). Table 41 identifies the
community agents of Pagudpud.

Table – Agents of Pagudpud

Agents Indicator Description

Individuals




Elected officials – Barangay Captains, Council Members, Local administrators
(Mayor Sales, Captain Lorenzo Domingo, Councilor Efren Cimatu ),

Formal leaders – Mrs. Emelin Sales (head of Tourism Committee), Mrs. Linda Viola
(head of seniors' group)

Business leaders

Organizations Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts










Tourism Committee

Seniors' group

SANJERA

PATODA

BHW

Religious organizations

SK

Shellcraft makers’ organization

FPTCA

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Boatmen’s organization

PVP

Tourguides’ organization

Barangay police

Women’s League

Networks










Local political and business networks (Sales/Garvida/Cimatu/Benemerito families)

LGU networks

Provincial political networks,

OFWs

Repatriated migrants

Tourists

Police officers

Local organizational networks (BHW),

Nation and international organizational networks (Boy/Girl Scouts, Kiwanis)

4.3.3. Actions

Source: Author, FPQ, IDIs

Governance, planning, and decision-making actions are the category of actions that
demonstrate the energy of the polity and the involvement of the community in politics. In
Pagudpud, the construction of the municipal market, refurbishment of Municipal Hall, road
construction (including farm to market roads), the economic stimulus plan (tourism and local
goods promotion), irrigation assistance, coordination and assistance with trainings and seminars
(mat weaving/dying, adventure tourism), the organization and execution of the town fiesta,
purchase of the garbage compactor and introduction of waste disposal plan, purchase of a new
police cruiser, and the introduction and use of participatory planning methods (including
household livelihood assessments) by the mayor are examples of governance actions. These
actions seem to be improving, especially with the introduction of participatory methods. People
feel that the local government is largely stable, accountable (Farriano, 2008; Lagundino, 2008;
Manigdig, 2008), organized and reliable (Calventas, 2008; Ubasa, 2008).

Only a moderate amount of goods and services can be seen and procured in Pagudpud.
Outside of primary goods, most residents of Pagudpud travel to Laoag for secondary commercial
products (M. Sales, 2008b; Ubasa, 2008), entertainment, and even schooling. Community
members of Pagudpud even have to travel outside of the municipality for banking services.

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Otherwise, goods and services that can be found in Pagudpud include local handicrafts (mat
weaving, shellcrafts), traditional noodle soup (miki), tourist sites (Maria-Ira, Bat Cave), a
construction company, homestays, hotels, and resorts, subsistence and small-scale agriculture
production for the local market, fish and marine products for the local market, motorcycle and
auto repair, basic goods market, internet shops, coconuts and coconut products, and rice for the
local and external domestic market. Many of the services described by IDI respondents are
directly related to the tourism industry, not necessarily to serve the local people (see Ubasa,
2008).

The modes of communication in Pagudpud are also basic. The spread of information largely
relies on word of mouth and face to face contact, as well as cell phone (text message)
communication (Calventas, 2008; Farriano, 2008; Manigdig, 2008; Ravelo, 2008). Pagudpud is
Internet accessible, but it is rarely used en masse and is out of reach for some financially
(Manigdig, 2008) or because of their location (Calventas, 2008). Most public announcements
are posted in municipal complex area and some rely on direct communication with the LGU for
their information (Calventas, 2008; Manigdig, 2008; Ravelo, 2008). Furthermore, most people
rely on television (from the national station and international stations), radio, and newspapers
(provincial and national newspapers) to get information about the happenings outside of
Pagudpud (Calventas, 2008; FPQ, 2008; Ubasa, 2008).

There does not seem to be much in the way of organization and advocacy at this point in
time. There is basic organization in civil society organizations, generally stable memberships
(Calventas, 2008; Manigdig, 2008; Ravelo, 2008; M. Sales, 2008b; Ubasa, 2008), and evidence
of some issue-specific organizations such as the PVP (Farriano, 2008; M. Sales, 2008b; Ubasa,
2008) and other organizations that are involved with community issues such as the furniture
makers’ cooperative (Ravelo, 2008) and Kabigan Multipurpose Cooperative (M. Sales, 2008b).
However, the depth, sophistication, and effectiveness of these organizations are not entirely
evident. There is little in the way of outcomes for many organizations, despite the large amount
of members and activities. This is consistent with Mulder’s (2003) assertion that civic activity in
the Philippines is lacking (p. 78). Organizations for social purposes are particularly active, as
well as activities in the Sitios, sub-communities within the barangays, and within the schools.
Organizational activity spans all ages and demographics within the community (FPQ, 2008).
Table 42 provides a summary of the activities in Pagudpud.

Table - Actions of Pagudpud

Actions

Governance;
Planning and
Decision-Making






Indicator Description

Construction of municipal market

Road construction

Economic stimulus plan

Participatory planning methods

Irrigation assistance

Town fiesta

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Renovation of Municipal Hall

Coordinate attendance to trainings and seminars

Garbage compactor purchase and introduction of waste disposal plan


Purchase of new police cruiser

Production of
Goods and
Services











Local handicrafts

Traditional noodle soup

Establishment of tourist sites

Homestays

Hotels and resorts

Subsistence and small-scale agriculture production for local market

Fish and marine products for local market

Motorcycle and auto repair

Basic goods market

Internet shops

Coconuts and coconut products for local market


Rice for local and external domestic markets

Communication









Word of mouth

Face to face

Cell phone (text message) communication

Internet accessible

Public announcements

Television (national and international)

Radio

Provincial and national newspapers

Organization and Basic organization in civil society organizations

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Advocacy



Few issue-specific organizations

Organizational activity on a social level

Organizations span ages and occupations

4.3.4. Contextual Influences

Source: Author, FPQ, IDIs

The contextual influences on Pagudpud play a large role in the community capacity of the
area, as well as in the ability for the area to alleviate poverty. First of all, the location of
Pagudpud is not conducive to economic development. The municipality is relatively isolated at
the very tip of Ilocos Norte, more than an hour’s drive to the nearest city with an airport, Laoag.
Although Pagudpud has access to both land and sea transportation, it is still far away from major
transportation and production hubs, such as Manila. Furthermore, transportation in Pasaleng and
Pancian is more easily accessible to Bangui, which further separates these barangays from the
hub of Pagudpud town center (Calventas, 2008). The physical location of Pagudpud can
confound market development, networking, as well as the ability for the community to obtain
external resources. Although some IDI respondents noted that it is possible to transport goods to
market and places of production through hiring transport (Manigdig, 2008; Ubasa, 2008).

People in Pagudpud generally feel safe and secure. There are not many instances of petty
crime, which in turn, helps to foster trust among community members (Calventas, 2008; Ravelo,
2008; Sales, 2008). There are natural disasters such as typhoons and droughts, which may affect
the overall stability of the community. This contextual influence does not have many negative
effects on the community and may even contribute to an increase in the trust and social capital of
Pagudpud.

The distribution of resources is somewhat unbalanced in Pagudpud. Although most of the
people in the community find themselves in similar economic circumstances (Manigdig, 2008),
some well-connected people live markedly better lives in comparison (Calventas, 2008;
Manigdig, 2008; Ravelo, 2008; Ubasa, 2008). The majority of the community lives a basic life
with the majority of needs being met, but there are a few families in the community that maintain
a lot more physical, financial, political, and social resources than most of the other community
members. It can be inferred that the distribution of resources has a moderate affect on the
community capacity in Pagudpud.

The structure of opportunity has a moderate affect on the functions of the community
capacity cycle in Pagudpud. Most community members have similar circumstances and
opportunities; however having a relationship with those that have resources is the key to success,
both economic and political in Pagudpud (Calventas, 2008). This supports the findings from
Mulder (2003) described earlier in this chapter (pp. 73, 79). Nepotism is prevalent in politics
and business and relationships are of vital importance to obtain and sustain anything in the
municipality. A common saying in the area is “it’s the ‘know-who’ that matters more than the
‘know-how’ (E. Sales, 2008).”

There is some flux in the residency in Pagudpud. Most people in the community have lived
there, or in the vicinity, for generations and it seems as though they will continue to do so. There

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are many instances of young people leaving to work or attend school in other larger cities. Also,
there are some circumstances of people leaving to work as OFWs. Some areas are experiencing
people moving in, either re-settled OFWs or new residents trying to capitalize on the tourist
market in Pagudpud. This contextual influence plays a role in the development of sense of
community, as well as trust and commitment. With many people going outside of the
community for work, there are lessened opportunities for the development of trust and identity
among community members. Furthermore, with the transient nature of the OFWs, it is difficult
for new residents to truly see themselves as part of the community and as stakeholders.

This biggest issue with history in Pagudpud is the political turmoil of the recent past between
the Sales family and the Benemeritos (governing family in the 1980s and early 1990s)
(Calventas, 2008). The difficulties between these families play a role in politics, business, and
sometimes even social events. Additionally, there are ongoing political issues between the
mayor and the vice-mayor that affect the effectiveness of the LGU and any plan or project in all
of Pagudpud (Calventas, 2008). A point of interest for the municipality of Pagudpud’s history is
the political affiliation that the governing polity has with Governor Marcos-Keon (nephew of
former President Marcos) and the lingering positive sentiment in the area towards the Marcos
family. Furthermore, there seems to be a cultural reverence and acceptance of seemingly minor
abuses of power and position by politicians, wealthy families, and other people with authority.
It can be noted that this sentiment is not particular to Pagudpud, but rather, common all over the
Philippines (Mulder, 2003, p. 79). The historical and cultural impediment to community
capacity in Pagudpud can be considered significant.

The overall economic conditions of the community are poor (Calventas, 2008; Ubasa, 2008),
an estimated nearly 70% of the population is in poverty by national standards (M. Sales, 2008b)
and the area, in the past, has been the recipient of national and international assistance. This
means that the basic economic conditions will guide the hearts and minds of the people, as well
as the direction of the local government. For these reasons, it can be noted that the economic
conditions have a large affect on the community capacity.

The immature civil society in Pagudpud significantly reduces the capacity of the community.
Large civil society groups, such as the Boy Scouts and those that are localized from the central
government, are well developed and serve many functions within the community. However,
indigenous civil society organizations are not as sophisticated and often lack internal and
external networks, as well as basic functional organization, funding sources, and successful
outcomes. Local civil society groups will need to become better developed in order to promote
Pagudpud’s community capacity.

Political stability, accountability, and participation have a significant effect on the
community capacity cycle in Pagudpud. Also, there is a sense of apprehension regarding
politicians (M. Sales, 2008b) and their activities stemming from the volatile political history of
Pagudpud concerning the Benemerito administration (Calventas, 2008; Ubasa, 2008). This is
also consistent with Mulder’s (2003) description of a lack of trust in public officials in the
Philippines (p. 73). However, there is still some reverence for political leaders and some have
faith remaining in other administrators such as the barangay captains and the Sanunguin Bayan,
Municipal Council (FPQ, 2008). This may be related to the amount of poverty in the
municipality and the lack of virtue associated with it (Mulder, 2003, p. 80). Some current
political tensions are having a large impact on the administrative actions in the municipality.
The current political instability can be seen in the infighting of the Sales family (divided between
Mayor Sales and his brother/sister-in-law) that impedes the implementation of planned municipal

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actions. However, it should be noted that the local administration is reported to be largely
accountable and compassionate towards its constituency (Calventas, 2008; Manigdig, 2008;
Ravelo, 2008; Ubasa, 2008).

Institutional development has only a moderate impact on community capacity in Pagudpud.
The local institutions are in need of further sophistication to have a broader, more positive effect
on community capacity. Public institutions, such as schools and hospitals, function perfunctory
and basic (Manigdig, 2008; Ravelo, 2008). However, it can be noted that there are minimal
instances of private institutes. Table 43 offers a glimpse at all of the contextual influences at
play in Pagudpud.

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Contextual
Influence

Physical Location

Safety and Security

Distribution of
Resources

Stability of
Residency

History and Culture

Structure of
Opportunity


















Table - Contextual influences of Pagudpud

Relatively isolated
Far from hubs

Safe and secure
Low instance of petty crime
Not many natural disasters

Basic life needs being met

Indicator Description

Few families maintain a lot more resources

Little influx in residency
Young people leaving to work in cities or as OFWs
Older OFWs returning
Some new residents in Pancian, Pasaleng, and Saud

Well known political problems within the Sales family and with
Benemeritos
Cultural acceptance of power discrepancies
Political affiliation with Marcoses

Similar circumstances and opportunities
Relationships with those that have resources important
Nepotism prevalent in politics and business

Economics Overall economic conditions poor

Maturity of Civil
Society

Political Stability,
Accountability, and
Participation

Institutional
Development








Large civil society groups well developed
Local civil society organizations not sophisticated, but have large, stable
memberships

Current political instability
Polity seems largely accountable
Participation of community in political activities high, especially at the
barangay level

Public institutions function perfunctory and basically
Minimal instance of private institutes

Source: Author, FPQ, IDIs

Overall, Pagudpud seems to be at a very basic level of the community capacity cycle
resulting in basic community functions. The community in Pagudpud has a minimal to adequate
amount of the community capacity attributes through which they will need to further execute the
A-A-A cycle. Pagudpud has an array of community agents through which the capacity attributes
can function to produce a variety of community actions. The sophistication of community
actions can be considered to be basic with a high point being the level of governance activities
that take place, particularly those participatory in nature. These governing activities will help to

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continue the cycle of community capacity and fortify the community and improve their capacity
in the long run. Although some contextual influences have little to no effect in Pagudpud (safety
and security and stability of residence) some contextual influences (location, economics, history
and culture, and political stability, accountability, and participation) play large and often
detrimental roles in the effectiveness of the A-A-A cycle in Pagudpud. The community agents
(including individual leaders and organizations) will have to continue to devise interventions and
strategies to further promote community capacity and community actions in Pagudpud to further
push the community capacity cycle to ever increasingly more sophisticated levels.

Major issues that become apparent through the A-A-A assessment are a the small amounts of
cooperative and advocacy activity, a lack of dialogue on the true issues that are important to
community members, young and talented community members leaving to work outside of the
community, the lack of commitment to the community by all stakeholders, a lack of internal and
external markets, and the lasting effects of the political rows within the LGU.

4.4. Potential Use of Assessment Results

The conceptual framework of the A-A-A cycle of community capacity is designed to be
understood and used by its relevant stakeholders. It is not the intention of this author that the
framework be used for external evaluation because that would run counter to the paradigm under
which it was created – to view assessment and evaluation as an information sharing and capacity
building process in and of itself (Miyoshi & Stenning, 2008, pp. 43-44). An evaluation of the A-
A-A can accompany a typical evaluation as a part of the management process and thus assist
local stakeholders in identifying assets and challenges within their community and formulate
effective policies, practices, and interventions.

That being said, it would be ill advised of this author to offer outside advice in response to
the results of this narrative. However, if the position of one of the community stakeholders was
taken theoretically, appropriate interventions could be formulated according to the findings of
the assessment. For instance, the mayor of Pagudpud, after executing, reviewing, and publishing
the results of this assessment, could consider the following policy responses:

1. Leadership development strategies14 could be introduced to foster the growth of
community and individual capacity, small and medium sized business development, and
to mitigate the reliance on family networks and nepotism for success. This would be in
response to the overall low level of community capacity, the small amount of business
activities, and the contextual influences of distribution of resources and structure of
opportunity found in Pagudpud.

2. Organizational development could be implemented to improve the effectiveness of the
local civil society. The organizational development should focus on fortifying the efforts
of local indigenous organizations and allowing space and providing support for the
acitivies of the local organizations already in existence. This can also be accomplished
through inter-organizational cooperation at the local level.

3. Community organizing can be further developed through an expansion of the 10-K
Initiative. This will help to bring about a better sense of community as well as make
necessary improvements to the standard of living in Pagudpud.

14
1

Leadership development strategies focus on skills, commitment, engagement, and effectiveness of individuals
(Chaskin et al., 2001, p. 25)

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