In commemoration of its 38th anniversary, the League of Filipino Students (LFS) marched today to the United States embassy and denounced the “US-led” Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The protest is held in time for the ongoing APEC finance ministers’ meeting in Cebu.
“Today, we celebrate our League’s 38 years of militant struggle by strengthening our fight against the US’ increasing domination in the country. We call to junk APEC, being a roundtable of big capitalists led by the US in order to suffice its own economic interests at the expense of the people,” said LFS spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
Members of LFS brought a mock logo of the APEC which read “US-led.” They also burned a mock U.S. flag in a symbolic demonstration against the US’ dominance in APEC.
According to a news release by APEC, finance ministers are currently convening “to assess the economic and financial outlook” and launch the Cebu Action Plan which contains initiatives to combat inequality and ensure positive outcomes of greater regional integration.
“These so-called initiatives are policies that will open the economies of underdeveloped countries’ such as the Philippines for the unbridled plunder of global powers such as the US,” said Bañez.
US, capitalist powers hold the reins
LFS said that APEC was created by advanced capitalist powers in coordination with the US-dominated International Monetary Fund-World Bank and World Trade Organization to promote neoliberal policies of trade liberalization, privatization, deregulation and denationalization of economy.
The group added that the US is desperate for APEC as it constitutes a very large part of the global economy with 40% of the world’s population, 50% of international trade, and 60% of global GDP.
“The US is rabidly using APEC to impose its neoliberal policies in the vast Asia-Pacific economy. The banner of regional economic integration is greatly profitable for the US as it implies faster and easier accumulation of cheap raw materials, cheap labor, and captive markets for export goods,” Bañez pointed out.
The student leader also said that the US may most likely use APEC to initiate Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) talks on the sidelines.
LFS also said that the US is determined to direct the course of APEC in order to save itself from severe economic crisis. The US’ debt has recently skyrocketed to 286% of its GDP in 2014 and it’s only a matter of time before its next economic bubble pops. Also, despite still being the most powerful country in the world and dominant in APEC, the US is also increasingly challenged by China.
Globalization breeds worldwide problems
“Globalization policies enforced by the US through chains like APEC have aggravated poverty and inequality on a global scale,” said Bañez.
The youth spokeswoman added that the disparity between the rich and the poor grew even wider. Recently, the top 1% of the world population controls 47.4% of the world’s wealth.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, foreign corporations are enjoying low tariffs, minimum control on foreign investments, and depressed wages.
“With the Aquino government’s subservience to the insidious policies dictated by the US-led APEC, our economy became heavily dependent on foreign investments which cripple local production sectors. This has resulted to the historic job crisis we suffer today,” said Bañez.
According to IBON foundation, unemployment currently stands at 12.2 million while 44 out of 100 workers are non-regular.
LFS condemned Aquino for proving itself as a loyal puppet of the US through upholding neoliberal economic policies and making the Filipino people suffer worsening living conditions.
“Although APEC itself is a non-binding and consensus-based association, the implementation of neoliberal policies continued unabated under the Aquino regime. By being a headstrong puppet of the US government, Aquino allows foreign capitalists to pillage the country’s wealth at the expense of the Filipino people,” said Bañez.
LFS ended by vowing to mount protests gearing for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Summit in November.###
Charisse Banez, LFS National Spokesperson, 0919 617 8979
Charlotte Velasco, LFS Media Liaison, 0926 594 5243