Noe John Joseph Sacramento is an Assistant Professor at the College of Social Sciences, University of the Philippines-Cebu. He is studying a PhD in Public Policy at the School of Public Policy, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, under the CMU Presidential Scholarship. His research focuses on public policy analysis involving informal deliberations, narratives, and emotions. He has published several articles in peer-reviewed and indexed international journals like the Journal of Asian Public Policy, Public Administration and Policy, and Thammasat Review. E-mail: nesacramento@up.edu.ph


Thou Shall Not Touch: Central Philippines’ Mari-it in Posthumanist Discourse and Environmental Protection Policy

Abstract: Central Visayan families in the Philippines would always remind young people to be mindful of their actions, as they may harm the unseen and the mari-it. Little that the young people know, these gentle reminders cut across communities and, at some points, led to more significant impacts in preserving traditions, forging community social action, and protecting the environment. This study draws from the case of the Central Philippines’ Panay-Guimaras region, where communities commonly articulate the concept of mari-it. Peculiar as it may sound, some local governments have established local ordinances and resolutions legitimizing the protection and preservation of some places identified as mari-it. The paper contends that, even within the highly empiricist traditions of technocratic expertise, policymakers always have an open potential to decenter the discourse from evidence-based science to a more posthumanist understanding encompassing beliefs and values. Decentering the debates and understanding of a phenomenon can lead to legitimizing beliefs of the unseen, supporting the idea that humans should co-exist and co-evolve, and putting the protectionist policies in place. These explorations are often unappreciated in the highly empiricist traditions of policy science; however, this work navigates the peculiarities of critical policy studies with the hopes of opening interesting angles for future investigations.
Keywords: critical policy studies, environmental policy, local government, Philippines, posthuman