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Engendering solid waste management

November 3, 2016

An average Filipino produces at least half a kilo of garbage on a daily basis. For someone who stays in a rural area, at least 0.30 kg of solid wastes are produced per day, while an urban dweller throws away 0.60 kg of daily garbage. In total, the country produces 36,000 tons or 5,000 trucks of solid waste per day (Aguinaldo, 2012). Land- and ocean-based pollution, when unmanaged, greatly contribute to the continuous degradation of the environment. This issue—alongside exponential population growth, rapid urbanization, unsustainable use of natural resources, and rapidly changing global climate, among others—further increases the country’s vulnerability, especially of the poor and the marginalized.

Since the early 2000s, the Philippine government has put in place several legal frameworks and implementing mechanisms to scale up local solid waste management (SWM) initiatives. However, it failed to take into account some significant gender dimensions related to waste disposal. In many countries, gender roles are often overlooked by policymakers in shaping SWM plans and policies.

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Issues and challenges in solid waste management and gender mainstreaming
In 2001, the Philippine government enacted Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. Broadly, RA 9003 targets to strengthen institutions and decentralize SWM at the local level. Among its salient provisions include (a) establishing local SWM committees at the provincial, municipal, and barangay level; (b) adopting local SWM plans and policies; and (c) putting up materials recovery facilities (MRFs) or low-maintenance buildings or spaces where reusable and recyclable wastes can be received, sorted, and processed.

However, recent estimates by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) show that the targets set in RA 9003 have yet to be fully achieved. Out of 1,634 cities and municipalities, only 614 (61 percent) have active SWM committees. At the village level, only 30 percent of the country’s 42,026 barangays have active local committees. In terms of local plans and policies, about one out of five cities/municipalities have adopted SWM plans but only a few have fully implemented it. Lastly, only 18 percent of all barangays in the country have set up their own MRFs (NEDA, 2011). There is still a need to strengthen and expand existing SWM strategies in the country, especially at the barangay and household level. As such, this also provides an opportunity to look into the vital roles gender play and integrate them in addressing key SWM issues.

Several legislations have also been adopted focusing on reducing gender inequality in the country. However, despite recent improvements in Filipinas’ access to education and employment, they continue to face serious threats, such as lower pay than men, discrimination at the workplace, as well as domestic violence and exploitation.

The Philippine Development Plan 2011–2016 also mentioned mainstreaming gender in the social development process as one of its key priorities. NEDA (2011) specifically emphasized the importance of addressing the differentiated needs of men and women, “so they can equally participate in and benefit from the development process.” This would be achieved by promoting strengthened investments, developing job-generating sectors, and involving equal participation in the decision-making process in the national and local levels.

 

Why gender matters in managing wastes
Several empirical studies have highlighted the need to look into SWM issues through a gender lens (Muhammad & Manu, 2013; Poswa, 2004; Woroniuk & Schalkwyk, 1998). These studies emphasized the importance of addressing gender-specific issues in managing solid wastes, which may cover (a) access and control over resources; (b) roles and responsibilities in the household or community; (c) extent of participation and capacity to contribute in civic activities; and (d) prevailing societal constraints and opportunities. These underscore the significant and complementing role of men and women in community development processes.

Poswa (2004) argued that waste is not a “neutral concept” and that men and women may have different perspectives on what constitutes wastes. Woroniuk and Schalkwyk (1998) further emphasized that these differing views between genders affect how wastes are collected and disposed at the household level. In most societies, women, especially mothers, are often more involved in managing household wastes due to their perceived role as primary caretakers, i.e., they are often primarily responsible in domestic chores, such as cleaning and cooking.

At the community level, men are more likely to participate and have a say in shaping plans and policies. The NEDA (2011) estimates that only 18 percent of elected positions in the country are occupied by women. Thus, as Woroniuk and Schalkwyk (1998) pointed out, “community consultation processes often fail to take gender inequalities into consideration and thus neglect women’s preferences.”

Women are also more susceptible to the pangs of unemployment and poverty. In the 2006 paper, Engendering Globalization, Mary Hawkesworth briefly discussed the feminization of poverty or the marked inequalities faced by women due to the patriarchal market and society (Ahmad, 2015). Hawkesworth noted that globalization is a gendered phenomenon as it puts women in a comparative disadvantage with men. In the Philippines, there are less women (13.3 million) than men (21.3 million) currently employed in the labor force. Likewise, majority of unpaid workers (55.8 percent) are Filipinas (NEDA, 2011).

 

What the Philippines could do to close the gender gap while going green
In the Philippines, the biggest challenge is aligning national gender-related strategies and investments to local SWM plans and policies, especially at the provincial, municipal, and barangay levels. Since 1995, gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) has been adopted in the country as a strategy to mainstream gender and protect women’s rights (Edralin, 2011). RA 9710 (2009) mandates all government agencies at the national and local levels to allocate at least five percent of their overall budget as part of the country’s gender and development (GAD) budget.

Broadly, the Philippine government can focus on three major targets including: (a) further raising awareness and knowledge on proper waste disposal at the household level; (b) increasing women’s participation in local decision-making process; and (c) scaling up alternative livelihood initiatives from reusable and recyclable wastes.

National and local communication campaigns on the impact of solid wastes should utilize gender-sensitive messages and channels. Building the capacity of local governments and establishing effective implementing mechanisms is also critically important since these local units are in the frontline in responding to threats brought by unmanaged solid wastes. Local committees have already been established in some existing MRFs. More focus should be given in ensuring that both men and women in the community have equal access and opportunity to be involved in managing MRFs. These committees can also be exposed to various training workshops on GRB, gender sensitivity, etc.

Lastly, alternative sources of income and livelihood could be provided especially to less privileged sectors. Reusable and recyclable wastes collected in the MRFs can be reused as compost and handicraft. Biodegradable wastes, including fruit and vegetable peelings and other food wastes can be re-converted into compost. On the other hand, non-biodegradable wastes, such as glass bottles, papers, plastic bags and drinking straws can be made into handicrafts. These alternative livelihood initiatives should target home-based and/or unemployed mothers, fathers, or young adults.

To date, the Philippine government has laid out a solid foundation in managing solid wastes and reducing gender inequality in the country. However, mainstreaming gender in SWM initiatives has yet to be fully explored. As such, collaboration and synergy among government agencies, research institutions, private sector, academe, and local communities are essential in strengthening policies and programs aimed at promoting gender inclusiveness while protecting the environment and key ecosystem services. Good governance and transparency should also be championed once legal and institutional frameworks have been set.

 

References
Aguinaldo, E. C. (2012). Ecological solid waste management: Legal framework, current situation and programs [Powerpoint presentation]. National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat, Quezon City, Philippines.

Ahmad, M. M. (2015). Community empowerment and development [Powerpoint slides]. Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.

Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, Republic Act No. 9003, 11th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines. (2001). Accessed 6 July 2015, from http://bit.ly/2e4tcWv.

Edralin. D. M. (2011). Gender-responsive budgeting and its impact on the status of women and men in Pasay City. DLSU Business & Economics Review, 21 (1), 29–60. Accessed 6 July 2015, from http://bit.ly/2fe8LGv.

Muhammad, M. N., & Manu, H. I. (2013). Gender roles in informal solid waste management in cities of northern Nigeria: A case study of Kaduna Metropolis. Academic Research International, 4 (5), 142–153. Accessed 6 July 2015, from http://bit.ly/2fk8Y7u.

National Economic and Development Authority. (2011). Philippine Development Plan 2011–2016. Pasig City, Philippines: NEDA. Accessed 6 July 2015, from http://bit.ly/1VOAtGU.

Poswa, T. T. (2004). The importance of gender in waste management planning: A challenge for solid waste managers. Paper presented at the 8th World Congress on Environmental Health, Durban, South Africa. Accessed 6 July 2015, from http://bit.ly/2ff0vDq.

Woroniuk, B., & Schalkwyk, J. (1998). Waste disposal and equality between women and men. Stockholm: SIDA. Accessed 6 July 2015, from http://bit.ly/2egi2ZU.

Putting Filipino farmers first

October 4, 2016

A brief history of the Philippine cooperative movement

The concept of a cooperative is not too foreign for Filipinos. The spirit of bayanihan (loosely ‘a sense of shared community’) is deeply embedded in psyche of early Filipino communities even before the first set of Spanish colonizers arrived in the mid-16th century. Similar to other developing countries in the region, the first Philippine cooperatives were primarily agricultural in nature. This is the reason why the evolution of cooperatives in the Philippines also highlights the plight of small Filipino farmers in the past centuries.

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Cooperatives are formed to reduce cost of production, provide alternative source of capital and credit, and build up knowledge and skills for the mutual benefit of small-scale farmers. At its most basic, cooperatives offer these small farmers the advantage of economies of scale (Thapa, 2014).

As a “business model with a social conscience,” various literatures have already shown how cooperatives were able to reduce poverty, generate jobs, and promote social cohesion in developing countries, including the Philippines (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], 2012). In fact, cooperatives provided employment to about 260,000 Filipinos in 2013 and contributed about 4.9 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. Moreover, the total volume of business for registered cooperatives in the country reached PHP 437.6 billion (around USD 9.75 billion) in 2013 (Terosa, 2014).

The gradual metamorphosis of cooperatives in the country can be broadly divided into three periods. The first period describes the early attempts by Europe-educated Filipino thinkers and the introduction of state-initiated cooperatives by the Americans. The second period covers the country’s involvement in World War II and the resulting post-war rehabilitation efforts until the declaration of Martial Law in the 1970s. Finally, the last (and current) period highlights the emergence of cooperatives as an influential sector in the country’s flourishing civil society.

 

Building rural roots
Dr. Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero, is said to initiate one of the country’s earliest forms of cooperatives. While studying in Europe in the 1880s, Rizal published two novels highly critical of the Spanish regime in the Philippines. Upon his return to the country, he was charged with treason and jailed in the southern Philippines. While in exile, he initiated a cooperative among hemp producers partly inspired by the cooperative movements he witnessed during his stay in Europe. Other Filipino nationalists followed suit, including Emilio Jacinto, who established a commercial marketing cooperative in 1898, and Isabelo de los Reyes, who established the first Philippine labor federation in 1902. While anchored on the ideals of social justice and economic development, these early cooperatives eventually lost momentum due to the onset of the Filipinos’ revolt against the Spanish rule and the subsequent American occupation in the late 1890s (Machima & Prakash, 1987; Sibal, 2001).

In 1906, the Corporation Law was enacted, which provided the first legal basis for cooperatives in the Philippines. A year after, the Rural Cooperative Bill, aimed at developing agricultural cooperatives in the country, was introduced in the Congress. This bill was drafted by Governor Teodoro Sandiko, who came across and learned about the Raiffeisen cooperative movement during his travels to Europe. Although initially disapproved, the bill was finally enacted in 1915 as the Rural Credit Cooperative Association Act, providing small farmers more access to agricultural credit. The country’s first rural credit cooperative and consumer cooperative were both established a year after. About a decade later, the Cooperative Marketing Law was passed in 1927 paving the way for the formation of state-initiated farmers’ marketing cooperatives, which provided farmers collateral-free loans and assisted them in effectively marketing their produce. However, these cooperatives eventually failed due to farmers’ lack of interest and appreciation on the benefits of forming cooperatives (Jarmin, 1996; Machima & Prakash, 1987).

 

Bringing coops together
During World War II, most cooperatives in the country understandably ceased operations, while others focused on the distribution of relief goods. Consumers and producers cooperatives established during the Japanese occupation were dissolved after the country regained independence in 1946. The following decades then saw the resurgence of state-initiated farmers’ cooperatives.

In 1952, the Congress passed Republic Act (RA) 821 establishing the Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Financing Administration (ACCFA) responsible for organizing and supporting Farmer’s Cooperative Marketing Associations (FACOMAs). Significant amount was allocated to support small farmers, including loans to finance facilities for production, storage, processing, and marketing. However, rampant corruption, mismanagement, and increasing number of unpaid loans hampered the further growth of agricultural cooperatives in the country (Jarmin, 1996; Machima & Prakash, 1987).

In 1957, the government began to recognize cooperatives for non-agriculture sectors, including those for electric, housing, and water services. In 1969, the Philippine Agrarian Reform Code was enacted establishing cooperatives as the primary channel for agrarian reform initiatives (Sibal, 2001).

The declaration of Martial Law in the 1970s gave way to the implementation of the intensive land reform program championed by then President Ferdinand Marcos. Small farmers were forced to join village-level farmer’s group called Samahang Nayon (SN) and form full-fledged cooperatives called Kilusang Bayan (KB). These SNs were then encouraged to form area marketing cooperatives (AMCs) to receive loans from cooperative rural banks (CRBs) and have access to farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, machines, etc. These initiatives eventually faltered due to weak links among SNs, KBs, and AMCs, as well as lack of financial support and corruption in CRBs. Furthermore, most of those who benefited were the rural elites and land owners, marginalizing the small-scale farmers who should have been the main beneficiaries of these reform initiatives (Jarmin, 1996; Ricablanca, 1985).

 

Bridging the gap
The 1990s welcomed major milestones in the proliferation of cooperatives in the country, including the ratification of the Cooperative Code of the Philippines and the establishment of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). The Philippine Cooperative Code of 1990 (RA 6938) outlines the national strategy in supporting cooperative development in the country with the CDA as the key government agency mandated to ensure implementation.

The rapid increase in civil society’s role in post-Martial Law years also affected the ensuing growth of Filipino cooperatives. In 1998, the Coop National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) earned a seat in the Congress after receiving significant votes from the national partylist election. Maintaining its Congress seat in the succeeding elections, NATCCO was given a platform to put forward policies and programs strengthening the country’s cooperative sector (Sibal, 2001; Romulo-Puyat, 2012).

In 2008, the Cooperative Code of the Philippines was amended to address recent challenges faced by Philippine cooperatives and scale up its operations to better contribute to the country’s economic growth. In essence, the updated law seeks to create a more conducive environment for the growth and development of cooperatives and encourage stronger partnership with the private sector (Philippine Cooperative Code, 2008).

The Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008 (RA 9520) provides an updated definition for a cooperative describing it as “an autonomous and duly registered association of persons, with a common bond of interest, who have voluntarily joined together to achieve their social, economic, and cultural needs and aspirations by making equitable contributions to the capital required, patronizing their products and services, and accepting a fair share of the risks and benefits of the undertaking in accordance with universally accepted cooperative principles.”

RA 9520 (2008) also identified the various types of cooperatives currently operating in the country. Among the major categories include credit, consumers, producers, marketing, service, and multi-purpose. According to 2011 CDA estimates, more than half of registered cooperatives in the country are multi-purpose cooperatives, distantly followed by credit and service cooperatives. Other types of cooperatives identified in the Philippine Cooperative Code (2008) include advocacy, agrarian reform, cooperative bank, dairy, education, electric, financial service, fishermen, health services, housing, insurance, transport, water service, and workers cooperatives.

 

Bracing for a bright future
At present, the CDA spearheads the implementation of the Philippine Cooperative Medium-term Development Plan (PCMDP) 2011–2016, which complements the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011–2016. Formulated by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the PDP 2011–2016 outlines the government’s national development targets, as well as its priority policies and programs, set to be achieved by 2016. In summary, the PCMDP 2011–2016 targets to build effective legal framework and supervisory oversight for cooperatives, which eventually contributes towards a more resilient and inclusive financial sector (NEDA, 2011).

Despite its dynamic transformation over the last two centuries, Philippine cooperatives continue to face various challenges. Most strikingly, there is a surplus of small and weakly-organized cooperatives in the country, as well as a limited access to formal or informal fund sources. Furthermore, low agricultural productivity and income, which affects most developing countries, result to the small farmers’ inability to repay loans. This may also lead to an increase in farmer’s burgeoning debt (Romulo-Puyat, 2012; Thapa, 2014).

The Philippine experience shows the need to build the capacity and strengthen interaction, especially among small farmer cooperatives. This would usher in more access to support services, such as markets, technologies, as well as training and extension. Effective governance and policy environment are also key to successful cooperatives.

 

References
Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). (2012). CDA Annual Report 2011. Quezon City, Philippines: CDA.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2012). Agricultural cooperatives: Key to feeding the world. Rome: FAO.

Jarmin, M. R. (1996). Philippines. In Asian Productivity Organization (APO), Agricultural cooperatives in Asia and the Pacific (223–233). Tokyo: APO.

Machima, P., and Prakash, D. (1987). Cooperatives for development of the rural poor. Dhaka: Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). (2011). Philippine Development Plan 2011–2016. Pasig City, Philippines: NEDA. Accessed 11 March 2015, from http://bit.ly/2dH2kbo.

Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008, Republic Act No. 9520, 14th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines. (2008). Accessed 11 March 2015, from http://bit.ly/2dPvyoT.

Ricablanca, P. M. (1985). A study on the pilot Samahang Nayon covered by the Regional Cooperatives Development Program for Cagayan Valley in Region 2, Philippines (Unpublished master’s thesis). Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.

Romulo-Puyat, B. (2012). Country statement on Philippine cooperatives. Paper presented at the 9th Asia-Pacific Co-operative Ministers’ Conference, Bangkok, Thailand. Accessed 11 March 2015, from http://bit.ly/2cQ2RL6.

Sibal, J. V. (2001). A century of the Philippine cooperative movement. Wisconsin, USA: University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. Accessed 11 March 2015, from http://bit.ly/2dH2tvv.

Terosa, C. L. (2014). The contribution of cooperatives to the national economy: The case of MASS-SPECC Member-Cooperatives. Paper presented at the 2014 MASS-SPECC Cooperative General Assembly, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. Accessed 11 March 2015, from http://bit.ly/2dqj0Fq.

Thapa, G. B. (2014). The role of cooperatives and farmers’ groups in agricultural development [Powerpoint presentation]. Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.

Faces and Phases of Chiang Mai

June 7, 2016

A laid-back town rich with history and nestled below the dense valleys of northern Thailand. What’s not to love about Chiang Mai? Once the center of the powerful Lanna kingdom, Chiang Mai boasts a number of temples seemingly untouched for centuries and rival other major archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. The surrounding rainforests also adds to the city’s charm.

01Wat Ton Kwen

08Novices of Doi Suthep

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Wat Suandok

22.jpgWat Phra Singh

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Wat Chedi Luang

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Wat Chedi Liam

More photos here.

Faces and Phases of Siem Reap

May 27, 2016

The silhouette of the Angkor Wat outlined by the picturesque sunrise—there’s no other reason why millions visit the city of Siem Reap and the majestic temples of Angkor.

These thousand-year-old structures, which seamlessly blend with the surrounding forests, are popular for a reason. Hundreds of visitors, with their necks craned and cameras in hand, will fight for the best spots. As charming as these temples may be, the scorching sun and the hordes of tourists—half of them awestruck and the rest just plain rowdy—may easily overwhelm even the most experienced travelers.

Once you’ve got your fill of Angkorian temples, rent a bike, try the local Khmer delicacies in the Old Market, or visit small yet equally appealing temples in downtown Siem Reap.

Part of the Thought Catalog entry on “Five Cardinal Rules for the Solo Traveler“.

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Aside from our innate fear of the dark, the prime reason why we love watching the sun rise is because we all yearn for that familiar warmth—that reassuring embrace—reminding us that we’ve still got the time to make things right.

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Vesak in Angkor Wat

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Faces of Bayon

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Towering trees of Ta Prohm.

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Preah Khan Temple.

More photos here.

Faces and Phases of Chiang Rai

January 29, 2016

With the temperature dipping as low as 7°C, going to Chiang Rai during the country’s coldest days in decades was probably not the brightest idea. But the famed Thai winter is often the number one reason why most people visit Thailand’s northernmost province.

The province is among the most ethnically-diverse regions in the country with hill tribes inhabiting the lush Indochina mountains. The mighty Mekong river basin also passes through these fertile valleys marking the shared borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. This area—also called the Golden Triangle—is notoriously known as the center of opium trade in the region over the past decades.

Another must-visit in the city is the obscure yet visually stunning Wat Rong Khun, popularly known as the White Temple, just a few kilometers south of the city center.

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Wat Rong Khun

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Wat Khua Khrae Muang

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Baan Dam

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Wat Phra Singh

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Golden Triangle, the shared borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.

More pictures here.

2015

December 31, 2015

#gradschoolproblems perfectly sums up how my 2015 went by as this was the year I finished my coursework and started working on my ~beloved~ thesis.

Looking back, the only thing that really stuck to me this past year—aside from the glistening limestone islands of Halong Bay and the sea of yellow and green from Lopburi’s sunflower fields—was the obscene amount of coffee I’ve consumed writing papers and reviewing for exams.

Grad school got me pretty much preoccupied this year that most of my posts essentially captured the frustrations, fears, and fulfillment most grad students feel as well as the constant struggle on keeping our sanity intact. Yes, the struggle is real.

As this year comes to an end, here’s a rundown of some of my favorite posts this year. May the new year be as memorable and fruitful. As Nate Ruess puts it: “If you’re lost and alone or you’re sinking like a stone, carry on. May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on.”

Bracing up for an awesome 2016!

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JANUARY
Words to live by in 2015: Underpromise, overdeliver.

FEBRUARY
Sweaty palms and the restless calm.
Secret glances and those missed chances.
Mind games waiting to be played.
Those three damn words no one dare to say.

Commodification of the highest highs and senseless sighs.
Thornless stalks and flowery talks.
Unspoken truths and silent promises.
Deafening whispers and sugar-coated curses.

Drowning myself with bottles of liquid courage.
Just enough to heave one clear message.
Picking the right letters to complete the sentence:
‘Come, be a witness to my existence.’

Heart momentarily skipping.
I’m just but a person feeling feelings.
All the risks I’m willing to take.
So please be my next mistake.

MARCH
You know it’s midterms week when you have obscene amount of caffeine and a tall stack of readings as dinner. ‪#‎onedaymore‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

APRIL
Onism (n.): the awareness of how little of the world you’ll experience.

Arguably one of the best vids in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows web series! Other favorites: nodus tollens, sonder, zenosyne, kenopsia, and socha.

MAY
You know it is the finals week when you start running solely on coffee and deadlines. It all starts perfectly as you begin to write a to-do list planning your every waking minute. You consider doing an outline as a warm up for a week’s worth of hardcore crossfit for the brain. Then, it all goes downhill from there.

You start looking for a new font to use on your outline, research on the proper word usage of ‘towards/toward’ and ‘effectiveness/efficacy/efficiency’, and purposively search for articles on why people procrastinate. Then, you decide to take a ‘power nap’ which involves using Facebook for hours cyberstalking random campus crushes, secretly hating other friends and their summer vacation photos, and getting stressed by posts on Nepal, Veloso, and Pacquiao.

You wake up around 2AM and question whether having coffee at that hour is acceptable. You panic and start writing random stuff like this. You wake up the next day, jog around campus while waiting for your laundry to finish, and then have a full bowl of academic guilt and a cup of scalding and bitter truth as your breakfast.

I was once told that grad school is like Hunger Games. You are told how privileged you are to be there yet you can’t remember why you volunteered as a tribute. ‪#‎gradschoolproblems‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

JUNE
You know you’ve been in Thailand long enough when night markets become your go-to place to grab dinner under THB100.

JULY
Thesis guilt (noun): that nagging uneasiness you feel every time you decide to do ‘less important’ stuff rather than scanning related journal articles or revising your theoretical framework.

It is also that consuming feeling of guilt every time you think of doing even the most mundane non-thesis-related activities, such as catching up on your movies and TV series backlog, doing your laundry, going out for some drinks, taking a shower, or even sleeping. ‪#‎gradschoolproblems‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

AUGUST
Dear Bangkok, I know we have a love-hate relationship but this past year has truly been amazing.

The library may not be the most ideal place to celebrate anniversaries but I need to stay here today because I do not intend to celebrate our second anniv stuck here writing my thesis. I promise I’ll make it up to you this weekend.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

SEPTEMBER
Vicious cycle of literature review: Spending the entire day reading a pile of journal articles and related lit then end up writing just two sentences as summary. ‪#‎gradschoolproblems‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

OCTOBER
Dear 27-year-olds, take it easy. No one has it all figured out. Signed, a 28-year-old.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

NOVEMBER
Life lessons from the field: How to get away from barking dogs and how to politely say no when someone invites you for lambanog.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

DECEMBER
Words to live by in 2016: Live life, love life.

That thumping beat on your left chest? That’s called purpose.

Transforming Tha Luang

September 2, 2015

Sugarcane

This report, the Development Plan for Tha Luang District, describes the current development status of Tha Luang District in Lopburi Province and aims to provide recommendations to local authorities and other relevant organizations for future district development planning.

The report summarizes the current situation, problems, potentials, and needs for the following key sectors: (a) natural resources and environment; (b) agriculture; (c) non-agriculture covering industries, trade and commerce, and tourism; (d) infrastructure; and (e) social sectors including public health, education, and local governance. Additionally, project proposals were developed, which are expected to contribute in the further development of the district.

This report was prepared by students of the Rural-Regional Planning Workshop course from January to May 2015 under the Regional and Rural Development Planning (RRDP) master’s and doctoral programs at the Asian Institute of Technology.

Lopburi is one of Thailand’s oldest provinces and once served as a hub for key kingdoms of the region. The province became an important seat of civilization for influential Southeast Asian empires including the Khmer and Ayutthaya regimes. Formerly known as La-Wo or Lavo, the province is strategically located on the east side of the mighty Chao Phraya River in the central plains of Thailand.

In the late 1600s, King Narai—arguably the most influential king in the province’s history—declared Lopburi as the second capital of the country. He established and fostered a strong trade relationship with France and other Western countries, which led to the rapid development of the province. At present, Lopburi Province is famous for the hundreds of monkeys roaming around its city streets and the sea of yellow and green from the large sunflower fields.

Tha Luang District was initially established on 15 November 1978 when the subdistricts (tambons) of Kaeng Phak Kut, Nong Phak Waen, Sap Champa, and Tha Luang were split off from Chai Badan District. On 26 May 1989, Tha Luang received its full district status. The district is subdivided into six tambons, namely: Hua Lam, Kaeng Phak Kut, Nong Phak Waen, Sap Champa, Tha Luang, and Thale Wang Wat. These subdistricts are further subdivided into 45 villages. At present, there are five Tambon Administrative Organizations (TAOs) in the district.

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