A holistic educational paradigm: Managing coastal resources in the Philippines

Paul Watts, Eduardo Macose, Eusebio Angara, Marivic Pajaro

Abstract


The world is facing a depletion of marine resources that threatens entire cultures and endangers the very life of the planet. Reports indicate that over 80 per cent of world fish stocks are heavily exploited or depleted, yet close to 200 million people continue to depend on the fishery for livelihood (FAO 2008). The vast geographical range of many marine fish populations calls for public participation, communication and coordination on a large scale. The need for public participation is particularly acute in those countries where both government services and marine management infrastructure are limited. In the Philippines, public participation has been identified as a priority strategy to promote sustainable development of coastal resources (Republic Act 8435, Akester et al. 2007). Given the lack of empowered stakeholders and a functional government body that can appropriately address the challenges of coastal resource management through public participation, catalyst institutions need to step in. This role is being undertaken by the Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT), located in Aurora Province on the northeast coast of Luzon Island, Philippines. ASCOT has adopted a holistic approach that offers a model for responsive education with a focus on participation and representative leadership. This article outlines ASCOT’s ongoing programs as an example of a ‘catalyst institution’ in action, with a focus on responsive education through the establishment of strategic partnerships and public participation. It also reports on research conducted with the local fisherfolk of Aurora Province and Pamana, a national alliance of fisherfolk Marine Protected Area (MPA) managers.

Key words: fisherfolk empowerment, participative education, catalyst, bioregional planning

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