APEC’s Neoliberal Agenda Further Underdevelopment, Worsen Economic Conditions of Cebuanos and the Entire Filipino People

August 23, 2015

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conferences in Cebu have begun. Other parts of the Visayas have also hosted APEC conferences throughout the year. These meetings will culminate in APEC’s Economic Leader’s Meeting in Manila this November.

There has been a media hype on the APEC Summit. Local organizers claim that hosting the APEC Summit 2015 provides opportunities to boost Cebu’s economy. It is said to feature the province’s business environment and thus attract investors.

Such sugar-coating cannot conceal the day-to-day sufferings the Cebuanos and the Filipino people have long endured brought about by economic policies aggressively pushed by imperialist organizations like APEC. Since its establishment in 1989, the APEC has done nothing but ensure the interests of the advanced capitalist economies especially that of the United States. Its key role is to facilitate the implementation of the components of neoliberal globalization namely trade and investment liberalization, deregulation, privatization and denationalization in underdeveloped countries.

The current Aquino Regime is an avid neo-colonial puppet of the United States. The “free market” globalization policies it adopted bodes a deepening and an intensification of the backwardness of the Philippine economy which means worsening poverty, persistent joblessness and landlessness, the exodus of overseas Filipino workers, further commercialization of education and other basic services, and more. It is a sell out of our resources, patrimony and sovereignty.

The brunt of the effects of neoliberal globalization is mostly felt by the broad masses.

In Cebu, the daily minimum wage of P275-P340 is not sufficient to decently provide for an average household size of 5 people. It is a far cry from the needed daily family living wage of P1,086. Contractualization and the two-tiered system worsen working conditions. Furthermore, the prices of basic needs and commodities have unceasingly increased.

The on-going privatization of the Metro Cebu Water District through PNoy’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and the already private-owned Visayan Electric Cooperative have brought about the increase of water and electricity prices in the first half of 2015.

This year, there is a projected increase of 544,000 persons in Cebu province and the cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu. This means additional congestion in the urban poor areas where there are day-to-day threats of demolition. This migration to the cities is caused by landlessness and the lack of decent work opportunities in the rural areas. In North Cebu, especially in towns affected by typhoon Yolanda, poverty has aggravated due to government neglect and the corruption of public funds. The programs intended for rehabilitation and recovery are anti-poor and favor foreign interests and tourism.

More PPPs will be implemented in Cebu like the Bus Rapid Transit wherein 2,614 Public Utility Jeepney drivers will be affected in its Phase 1 implementation. Moreover, the PPP scheme’s supply and pricing of public service is biased to the profits of the private provider and is not driven to serve the need of the majority of the people.

The education sector is not spared from the effects of neoliberal globalization. PNoy’s K-12 program will further the already declining quality of education. Its said objective to adapt to international standards is actually aligning the educational system to the demand of foreign markets. Schools, aside from being diploma mills, will become producers of cheap labor-ready youth.

All these are manifestations of the detriment caused by imperialist agenda particularly of the US. It is a result of a Philippine economy that for decades has been servile to imperialist mechanisms like the APEC.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) – Visayas stresses the need to raise the awareness of the Filipino people on the adverse effects of the APEC to the Philippines contrary to the bogus development touted in mainstream media. We must actively oppose the neoliberal offensives that have been eagerly implemented by the Aquino II Regime. A national democratic revolution through protracted people’s war is necessary to end the current semi-feudal and semi-colonial crisis and attain national liberation and democracy, national industrialization, agrarian reform and genuine socio-economic development.

Pax Enguerra
NDFP Visayas Media Liaison