DAVAO CITY – Activists are gearing up for protests at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Manila this November.
Liza Maza, spokesperson of the People’s Campaign Against APEC and Imperialist Globalization (PCAIG), said they will mount “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” on the weeks leading to the two-day Summit on November 18-19.
Maza said APEC has not provided “equitable and democratic socio-economic system” in the country.
“Despite its glowing GDP figures, the Philippines has among the highest unemployment and underemployment rates (6.8 percent and 18.4 percent respectively, based on conservative official estimates), the highest poverty incidence (officially at 25.8 percent but independent estimates are at over 70 percent), greatest inequality ratios in the region, and with it increased repression of those opposed to the neoliberal agenda,” Maza said in a statement.
She said “strategic industrial and agricultural sectors have shrunk, resulting in less jobs and lower incomes for most people” citing the situation of millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) “who, like refugees, have fled the country in search of a better life for their families.”
The group also condemns political repression against activists and groups critical of the government’s “neo-liberal economic policies”.
Maza said the recent incidents involving the killing of Lumad communities who are against the entry of large-scale mining and logging corporations in their ancestral lands is an evidence of such attacks.
“In other words, globalization has worsened rather than uplifted the lives of ordinary Filipinos,” she said.
“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,” said Maza. (davaotoday.com)