More than a hundred participants from various people’s and civil society organizations attended the one-day forum “The Development Challenge Under P-Noy: Tackling the Hard Questions,” which Focus on the Global South-Philippines organized through its Development Roundtable Series (DRTS) at the convention hall of the Bureau of Soil and Water Management on July 18, a week before
President Noynoy Aquino delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The forum would be one of the culminating activities in 2011 of the seven-year DRTS program, a dialogue-consultation process which had organized national and regional CSOs, basic sector and people’s organizations under several thematic working groups (TWGs) beginning in 2004 to address various issues, and conduct RTDs, research and campaigns aimed at formulating policy alternatives.  On July 18, the TWGs presented to the public several of these issues and policy recommendations they have been working on in the areas of trade liberalization, industrial policies, privatization, water and access to the commons, agrarian reform and similar social justice issues, foreign policy, as well as critical issues the Visayas and Mindanao regions are engaged in.  The thematic working groups are: Trade, Industrial Policy and Privatization; Agrarian Reform and Rural Development;  Water Resources and Services; Peace, Security and Foreign Policy; Development issues in Visayas; Development issues in Mindanao.  Information about the event was tweeted live. (For the presentations, please see the July edition of Focus on Philippines e-newsletter which will be up soon)