Apec security measures ‘overkill,’ symbolic of failed policies–ex-solon
The security measures being implemented by the Philippine government for the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Manila are overkill, according to a former lawmaker.
Teddy Casiño, spokesperson of anti-Apec group #PHFightApec and former Bayan Muna representative, told INQUIRER.net on Wednesday that the Apec security measures that had inconvenienced Filipinos in the past days were reflective of the economic forum’s failed policies.
“The security measures and preparations that have inconvenienced so many thousands of Filipinos is symbolic of the Apec policies that have also caused a lot of hardships, a lot of problems for ordinary people,” Casiño said in an interview during militant groups’ vigil protest at Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila.
“And I think it is really an overkill … The hassle that Apec has created is really symbolic of the problems that supposedly development has caused to people all over the world,” he said.
Road closures particularly in Roxas Boulevard and areas near the summit venue have forced the commuting public to walk to get to their destinations.
“We are against Apec because the kind of economy that Apec is pushing for has led to the misery of millions of our farmers, workers, our indigenous peoples, our fisherfolk, and ordinary people and this kind of development really benefits the big multinational corporations, big governments, but has caused suffering to our people,” Casiño added.
Casiño maintained that the Apec policies, particularly trade liberalization and corporate agriculture, had done more harm than good in the past 30 years, noting poor farmers and small entrepreneurs had become more impoverished than they already are.
“Apec is basically pushing for three general policies—trade investment liberalization, economic deregulation and privatization. So measures that reverse that, measures that go against that will be beneficial for people who do not benefit from these policies. For example, privatization,” Casiño said.
“Rather than privatizing public assets and public utilities, government should in fact play a bigger role in delivering services to our people, because removing the private corporate motive from these public utilities is important to keep prices low. On trade and investment and liberalization, instead of promoting imported products and foreign capital, the government should do well in protecting in nurturing local producers, local farmers, local entrepreneurs instead of opening up the market to foreign competition which has caused the closure of thousands of small Philippine companies,” he added.
Casiño said the government should devise alternative ways and strategies to harness economic growth “without having to be tied down to the propaganda that Apec has been pushing for its own neo-liberal policies.”
“I think Filipino people should realize that there are other ways of doing things—that we are not tied to the kind of exclusive economic policies that Apec has been pushing. We experienced those policies for the past 30 years, and look where it has brought the Philippines. There is growth but there are no jobs, there is so-called development but the poor are getting bigger,” he stressed.
Echoing Casiño, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chair Rafael Mariano told INQUIRER.net that the Apec was being used as a tool by the United States and other “imperialist” countries to dictate the global economy for the benefit of rich nations and big corporations.
“Wala sa agenda ng Apec kung paano talaga mapapabuti, kung paano magkakaroon ng malabuluhang pagbabago sa mga kasaping bansa,” Mariano said in an interview.
“Kahit na nonbinding ang kasunduan diyan, ‘yan ang ginagamit ng US na pangkastigo n’ya para sumunod ‘yung mga bansang kaanib na ipatupad ‘yung kasunduan doon,” he added.
Members of militant peasant, youth, and women’s groups trooped to Liwasang Bonifacio on Wednesday afternoon for a vigil protest against the ongoing Apec summit, but some of their colleagues from Southern Luzon were barred by police in the nearby Sta. Cruz bridge.
Casiño said police efforts to stop protesters from gathering in a freedom park were yet another form of lie that the government has perpetrated.
“The government said that they are allowing protests in freedom parks. Liwasang Bonifacio is one of few freedom parks recognized by everyone, and yet the police have prevented farmers coming from as far as Laguna and Quezon to reach Liwasang Bonifacio to hold their program here. So government has lied again to the people in saying that protests will be allowed. In fact, protests were prohibited, prevented by the police,” Casiño said.
“We condemn this curtailment of the right to assemble and to express our grievances,” he added.
Aside from KMP, other groups holding vigil at the park in front of the Post Office building include Anakpawis, Anakbayan, Kabataan, Bayan, People Surge, and Amihan, among others. The protesters will march to the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Thursday morning. RC
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