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History of Asi Social Development Department

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The ASI Family Center, now the Social Development Department, first engaged itself in conducting seminars on the Filipino Family and its relationship with society in strategic areas of the Philippines. In these seminars, resource persons from ASI and various universities were recruited. In 1968 to 1974, it involved itself in setting up its 27 responsible parenthood clinics all over the country. Then from 1974 to 1978, it trained 1,075 priests, sisters and lay people in responsible parenthood and family life education, sponsored by United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). In 1979, the Family Center has shifted to organizing fisherfolk striving to prove that the fisherfolk will naturally plan their families after their quality of life will have improved. Starting with CALARIZ (Cavite, Laguna and Rizal) fisherfolk whose basic issue revolved around Laguna Lake – a 90,000 hectare lake which has become private, the ASI Family Center federated fisherfolk organizations (both women and men) all over the country in 48 dioceses from Tawi-Tawi to Batanes. Problems have been identified – pollution, illegal fishing and trawl fishing encroaching in municipal waters. In 1984, the Family Center, CALARIZ and BIGKIS-LAKAS PILIPINAS – have together drafted and then lobbied for a bill known as the Fisheries Code. To date, Fisheries Code is known as the Fisheries Code 8550.

With the organizing experience, a partnership between ASI, FC and CALARIZ was formed and eventually organized the fisheries sector all over the country.  Also contributing to this dream was the mandate given to the Philippine delegation in the first ever conducted International Conference of Fishworkers and their Supporters held in Rome in 1984.

In 1986, ASI-FC-CALARIZ embarked into a networking activity with fisherfolks in Luzon in close coordination with Diocesan Social Action Arms.  After conducting a series of consultations, formation and training with key fisherfolk leaders, BIGKIS-LAKAS (BL) - Luzon was formed towards the end of the year.  The process was emulated in Visayas and Mindanao; thus, in 1988 BL- Pilipinas was created with the objective of contributing to the fishery and aquatic development both at the local and national level.  Since the Rome Conference, BL continued to benefit from the support of International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF); BL leaders used to be invited to international conferences

In 1988, BL and ASI-FC partnership began to recognize the importance of the role of women in fisheries thereby providing more opportunities for women members/fishers to develop their potentials and be able to contribute to the amelioration of fisheries and the fisherfolk organizations.

In 2007, ASI conceptualized and implemented the Co-creating Sustainable Bio-regional Communities (CSBCom) as a development paradigm in helping our community partners to develop themselves. It aims to promote a meaningful life and livelihood that is rooted in spirituality and richness of our culture and nature.  It can be described as a meaning system, a way of life, a worldview and an approach to integral sustainable development.  It sees humans as stewards of creation with a significant role to play in the growth process of the earth and in moving towards a sustainable future for all.  It does not merely implement a project, but endeavors to promote an eco-friendly, sustainable and community oriented way of life and economic activities.  It has an integral and development perspective or reality and views inner ecology, environmental ecology, and human ecology as interrelated.  As an approach to integral development and well-being, it is multi-level and interdisciplinary in orientation.  It tries to establish a close link between rural and urban communities, improve their symbiotic relationship and develop their bio-capacities for a sustainable future. 

As an integrative program of ASI, CSBCom operationalized through the following sub-program areas:

  1. Bio-regional Organizing and Networking;
  2. Education and Training;
  3. Support for Sustainable Community Projects;
  4. Instructional Development;
  5. Research Documentation and Publication;
  6. Promotion and Advocacy; and Program Management.

The bio-region where this is being implemented is the Laguna Lake and its surrounding communities.  ASI SocDev is working directly with the different communities of Angono, Binangonan and Cardona, Rizal and presently is developing and/or fostering a network of partners in Laguna and Rizal provinces.

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