It has always been of interest in academia and practice how certain environmental policies gain salience in the political arena and get formulated and enacted. Many scholars continue to explore the social, cultural, economic, political and biophysical factors that affect the fate of proposed and created environmental policies. During my doctoral studies, I engaged in several studies to explore the politics of environmental policy in the Philippines. I drew from pertinent theories on the policy process, in particular Ostrom et al.’s Institutional Analysis and Development, Hajer’s Discourse Coalitions, Sabatier et al.’s Advocacy Coalition Frameworks, and Schneider and Ingram’s Social Construction of Target Populations. My methodology included key informant in-depth interviews and content analysis of government texts (e.g. bills and acts, legislative transcripts and journals, speeches, administrative orders, implementing rules and regulations) and newspaper articles.
I endeavored to examine discourse coalitions involved in the formulation, enactment and implementation of the Philippine Biofuels Act. This project revealed how discourse coalitions associated with biodiversity conservation have been weak in influencing the biofuels policy in the Philippines. The results underscore the need to bolster biodiversity conservation discourses vis-à-vis the burgeoning interest in biofuels development in ecologically sensitive regions in the country.
I also examined the the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in the Philippines using the lens of Advocacy Coalition Framework. While the primary motivation of the research project was to test the applicability of the Advocacy Coalition Framework in the Philippine setting and to advance the theory, I also endeavored to identify social and political factors that affect the current implementation of the IPRA. Understanding these factors may allow us to challenge (and hopefully curtail) obstacles that stifle the effectiveness of IPRA.
Montefrio, M.J.F., & Sonnenfeld, D.A. (2011). Forest, fuel, or food? Competing coalitions and biofuels policymaking in the Philippines. Journal of Environment and Development, 20(1), 27-49. (Link)
Montefrio, M.J.F. (2014). State Versus Indigenous Peoples’ Rights: Comparative Analysis of Stable System Parameters, Policy Constraints, and the Process of Delegitimation. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 16(4), 335-355. (Link)