In time for the opening day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Second Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM), the youth group League of Filipino Students (LFS) led a protest on Monday at the Mendiola Peace Arch. It also served as a kick-off to the month-long commemoration of LFS’s 38th anniversary.
Denouncing the ongoing meeting for the unabashed “sale” of Philippine patrimony to foreign corporations led by the United States, LFS burned an enlarged copy of the APEC logo, together with the portraits of Noynoy Aquino and Barack Obama.
“In today’s structural reform meeting, the Aquino government shall blow its own trumpet and portray a far-fetched image of the Philippines as a country that has benefitted from policies leaned towards the needs of big foreign corporations,” said LFS spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
“The glaring truth is that the Aquino regime’s economic policy has only undermined the country’s potential for sustainable, national development. Instead, it has promoted an economy dependent on foreign investment and on supplying raw materials and cheap, docile labor needed by the powerful countries led by the United States,” she continued.
The student group slammed the Aquino administration’s intense enthusiasm to be at the forefront of APEC member economies in the making so-called structural reform in trade and investment.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) secretary and SRMM chair Arsenio Balisacan earlier admitted that structural reform aims to remove impediments that constrain businesses from expanding their markets.
“The Aquino regime continues to prove its subservience with its commitment to eliminate economic and legal restrictions and usher in an unrestrained entry of foreign control and ownership in the country. In Aquino’s five years in office, this evil scheme of opening the country for wholesale economic plunder through economic charter change is always met by protests,” said Bañez.
The group also refuted Balisacan’s statement, attributing the lack of job opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region to simple legal restrictions and not to the severe need for sustainable, national industries.
“Ingress of foreign investment and other reforms as aimed by APEC are no solution to the widespread joblessness among the people of the Asia-Pacific Region. In the Philippines, the number of unemployed Filipinos reached to 12 million because of the lack of sustainable industries brought by the recurring economic policy attuned to the demands of foreign corporations,” Bañez pointed out.
LFS is set to wage more protests gearing towards the APEC 2015 Summit in November.
“We will not let APEC’s exploitative policies have its way. We will continue our call to junk APEC and fight for genuine development grounded on the needs of the Filipino people,” ended Bañez.###
Charisse Banez, LFS National Spokesperson, 0919 617 8979
Charlotte Velasco, LFS Media Liaison, 0926 594 5243