Supporting Development Programmes for Over Forty Years in the Philippines: A Spotlight on Dr. Augusto Rodriguez
Rakkshet Singhaal, Programme Associate, Community Systems Foundation
Seth Davis, Programme Advisor, Community Systems Foundation
During the 1970s, the agriculture sector accounted for more than 30% of the Philippines GDP. Growing up in the Philippines, Dr. Augusto Rodriguez (Tito) observed the difficulties of families relying on agriculture which was afflicted by a scarcity and unequal distribution of resources. This inspired him to pursue a career where he could build a better, healthier society for citizens in the Philippines and promote income and social conditions that would benefit everyone.
Tito began his journey with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of the Philippines Los Banos. He then got his Master’s degree in Economics and a Doctoral degree in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines Diliman. His early work engagements exposed him to development work in the remotest rural areas in the Philippines by working with rice and corn farmers toward improving their production and income.
In addition, his passion for the field of development led him to join the various government and non-government organizations, serving in multiple capacities enabling him to support in project planning and management, teaching, research, management information systems development and monitoring and evaluation. He worked with the government in one of its integrated area development projects as head of project benefit monitoring and evaluation.
As Tito progressed through his career in government, he began to see a shift from paper-based monitoring and evaluation solutions to computer-based systems that supported the analysis of programme activity.
After almost two decades contributing to development work in government, Tito joined UNICEF Philippines Country Office in the role of Information Resource Management Officer, where he took responsibility for monitoring and communicating human development indicators related to child rights and Mid-Decade Development Goals, the precursor to the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals.
During his time with UNICEF, Tito accumulated vast experience in implementing, analyzing, and reporting on UNICEF projects and programmes across the Philippines. With this experience, he was able to identify areas for improvement and strategies for successful implementation of projects and programmes.
As his time with UNICEF progressed, Tito became responsible for supporting the realization of UNICEF's Strategic Plan for Social Inclusion, which focused on children, social protection, and governance issues. This allowed him to directly work with the government and civil society groups on research, policy analysis, and advocacy projects to address multidimensional poverty, individual and systemic deprivations, and child discrimination.
In 2008, Tito became the UNICEF Philippines focal point for The Global DevInfo Initiative, led by UNICEF on behalf of the UN system that aimed to monitor a wide range of human development indicators concerning the Millennium Development Goals. Through his work on DevInfo, he met Community Systems Foundation and became a central figure in the Philippines' adoption of DevInfo. Tito led efforts to demonstrate the value and power of data systems in evidence-based decisions.
After 19 years of service, Tito retired from UNICEF in 2017. With a continued passion for supporting development, Tito has continued a second career in teaching and as an independent consultant. This provided Tito with an opportunity to once again join forces with the CSF team on several projects in the Philippines, specifically to support the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council in the development and implementation of the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Policy Framework.
With Tito's technical assistance and coordination amongst national partners, CSF supported the development of a collaborative and inclusive ECCD Policy Framework.
As the project enters the second phase, Tito's role has evolved to facilitate the deployment and use of OpenEMIS Monitoring. This platform will support the ECCD Council in compiling data required to monitor and report on progress towards the achievements in the ECCD Policy Framework. As the project coordinator, Tito is leading work in national capacity assessment, cost M&E planning and the development of the platform.
In a career in the development sector that has spanned over five decades, Tito has seen substantial progress in the Philippines. He has also seen many persisting challenges which encourage him to continue working to achieve key priorities within the Philippines and beyond. His journey has been and will continue to be synonymous with the improvement of the lives of women and children across the Philippines. And it is CSF’s privilege to have him join us in our efforts to strengthen a culture of data towards better decision making and impact across the development sector.
 World Bank, World Bank Open Data available at: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NV.AGR.TOTL.ZS?locations=PH