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A Paradigm Shift in Philippine Development: Marine and Aquatic Dimensions of Development for the Philippine Islands and their Ecological Implications

This paper examines the phenomenon of National Poverty in the Philippines as it relates to unexplored dimension of progress which is rooted in the culture, geography and economic advantages of the country as an archipelagic and island state. The paper begins with a critical comparison of the experiences and development programs undertaken by the Philippines vis-à-vis Spain.The cultural and geographical dimensions were closely evaluated via the ground-based experiences of the municipality of Pateros—the poorest town in Metro Manila—which can be considered as a microcosm of the entire country. Using the economics of ecological anthropology, it was found, among others, that beyond the formal economic sector is a vast ecology-dependent economic system that is ubiquitous throughout the 7,107 islands of this archipelago. The destruction of the natural ecology of Pateros—which cuts across the endogenous culture of the town—was the key adverse effect of industrialization, when the ‘inflection point’ of globalization hit the entire Metropolis starting the 1970s protracting towards the entire last quarter of the previous century. Since a land-based economic system only addresses the needs of the rich expansionist continental countries, there is an urgent need to expose the vast potentials of the aquatic-based development directions, largely unchartered in the country until the present.


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