APEC not welcome in the Philippines

September 24, 2015

By PCAIG 2016
Press conference of the People's Campaign against APEC and Imperialist Globalization.

Press conference of the People’s Campaign against APEC and Imperialist Globalization. Image from PCAIG 2015

This coming November, the Filipino people will raise the banner of protest against the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and its pro-imperialist neoliberal economic and political agenda.

On November 18-19 and the weeks leading to the APEC Summit in Manila, the People’s Campaign Against APEC and Imperialist Globalization (PCAIG) shall spearhead massive protests against APEC and its thrust of greater trade and investment liberalization, public private partnerships, deregulation and regional integration that have worsened poverty and inequality, underdevelopment and political repression in the Philippines and other developing countries.

Indeed, what happened to the Philippines since 1996 when the APEC Summit was first held here?

Despite its glowing GDP figures, the Philippines has among the highest unemployment and underemployment rates (6.8% and 18.4% respectively, based on conservative official estimates), the highest poverty incidence (officially at 25.8% but independent estimates are at over 70%), greatest inequality ratios in the region, and with it increased repression of those opposed to the neoliberal agenda.

While the services sector has experienced phenomenal growth rates, the more strategic industrial and agricultural sectors have shrunk, resulting in less jobs and lower incomes for most people. Such a situation has resulted in the exodus of milllions of overseas Filipinio workers (OFWs) who, like refugees, have fled the country in search of a better life for their families.

Meanwhile, political repression against activists and groups critical of the government’s neoliberal economic policies continues, as evidenced by recent incidents involving the killing of lumad communities who are against the entry of large-scale mining and logging corporations in their ancestral lands.

In other words, globalization has worsended rather than uplifted the lives of ordinary Filipinos. Even as jobs and incomes diminish, the plunder of our resources and cheap and docile labor is in full swing. It is this kind of anti-people, pro-imperialist development peddled by APEC that we reject. Worse, the US-brokered Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) seeks to further open up its member economies to its transnational and multinational banks and corporations, exploiting us even further.

In the political and military sphere, APEC and neoliberal globalization is coupled with the US “pivot” to Asia, which aims to substantially redeploy US military troops, vessels and assets in the region in order to protect US interests. This has stoked tensions in the region and threatens to make the Philippines one big American base through the unconstitutional Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). In tandem with the US in heightening regional tensions is China, another APEC member, which has intensified its military build up and is likewise promoting its own neoliberal economic bloc called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

In this light, we call on our people to join us in fighting APEC and pursuing a truly just, equitable and democratic socio-economic system.###

Reference: Liza Maza, PCAIG 2016 Spokesperson